Go Inside The Factory Where $10,000 Hermès Purses Are Crafted By Hand

hermes hearts and crafts documentary

Photo: Hermes

Whether it’s Kim Kardashian buying a $100,000 purse or a photographer burning one for the sake of artHermès’ coveted bags create a stir whenever they are mentioned.The 2011 documentary “Hearts and Crafts,” directed by documentary filmmaker Frederic Laffont, depicts daily life inside a Hermès factory in France where bags, glass goods, drawings, and leather saddles for horseback riding are crafted.

In a month, the Hermès staff can produce 15 hand-crafted bags of different styles and textures. The bags range from $10,000 to $150,000 depending on the size and material used. Last year, the company said it was hiring 400 people to keep up with demand.

Because they took so long to produce, there was at one time a wait list for the popular Birkin bag.

The bags come with a hefty price tag, but growth in the second quarter of 2012 was up 21.9 per cent. The label has come a long way since its start in a Paris workshop in 1837.

So how, exactly, are Hermès’ bags made? Watch the full documentary here, or click through to see.

Welcome to the Hermès factory. The company is owned by The Hermès and Dundas families.

The entire bag-making process starts with the leather cutter. Here, he inspects the crocodile leather to determine which pieces are ideal for a bag.

A worker inspects for imperfections in the leather.

Many of the leathers, like this blue crocodile skin, are dyed.

Hermès bags come in multiple colours and fabrics.

This is only one page of an entire book of colour swatches.

The factory can only produce 15 a month because much of the entire process is done by hand.

Those double magnifying glasses helped enhance the tiny stitches for the craftsmen.

The chains for the handles of the bag are all hand welded.

The metal is made malleable in this bubbling bath.

And heated to extreme temperatures. In order to be employed as a craftsman at the factory, workers have to pass a few exams.

These two women are making the handle of the bag. They use a mallet to flatten it out and ensure the handle is smooth.

The tiniest of details are given great attention at the factory.

The blade used for cutting leather looks like something you'd see in a professional kitchen.

This worker is smoothing the leather.

And then another worker assembles the bag.

This woman had been training for about a week. It was her job to work in the leather.

She says the factory makes only a few bags a month, and loves that no two bags are the same.

It takes a lot of work to stretch the leather.

Yes, that's a hammer being taken to the Hermès bag.

In other parts of the factory, saddles are made. This man carefully cuts the leather.

More hand threading goes into the saddles, too.

Check out the heavy duty press that creates a horse head figurine.

Everyone in the factory takes great pride in working with their hands.

In another section of the factory, Hermès produces drawings. This woman said she spent 1,500 to 2,000 hours on a drawing.

The detail is really incredible. And they do this by hand.

The drawers mostly sketch and outline in black and white. colour is added later. This man is airbrushing a drawing.

Then, the drawing is laid out on this table.

Next, it's laid to dry. This man inspects the project, while the fan helps speed the drying process.

Then, they are dried again above the factory on this complicated clothes line.

Take a look at one of the finished products.

The horse with wings is one of Hermès' symbols. There's a huge one in a rotunda in the factory.

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