It is my duty to tell you about a book I am in love with (I know I am always saying I love things), but fashionistas, this book is a must read. The book is now a national best seller in Indonesia and the last time I went to Gramedia to get additional copies they were out (can you imagine?).
Well, if you want to get an idea of Jakarta’s love for all things luxurious and fashionable (not to mention expensive), you need to read Hermes Temptation. A book by two socialites who created a business around reselling Hermes bags in Jakarta.
Are you tempted by Hermes?
I first heard about this book last year while in New York. I could not wait to get back to Jakarta and get my hands on a copy of the book. I vowed to my Husband, “I must get a copy!”. (Laugh). Anyways, the next day, after my return, I went down to Gramedia to get the book. Fashionistas, I started reading the book from the moment the cashier placed it in my hand after scanning the bar code. I got so into the book, I could not put it down.
Alexandra Dewi and her business partner Fitria Yusuf wrote the book in an interesting way. Each chapter is written by either Dewi or Fitria. They talk about how they got into the business of reselling Hermes bags, the lengths they go to to get the bags authenticated, and the many trips they make to the Hermes store in Paris.
Who knew that selling Hermes bags was exhausting. I know that business generally is hectic, but I would expect that purchasers of high-end goods would be less hassle. Customers would nitpick, refusing to realise that they were buying often used bags, so minor wear and tear is normal. People are never satisfied, not even with a deal!
I kid you not, I could feel the exhaustion and frustration they endured, it was like their feelings reached out (like a hand) of the pages of the book and choked me (ha!). Just the same, I laughed out when they wrote about their obsession with their blackberries, where the Hermes bags were sold on BlackBerry Messenger.
The book is interesting because it also highlighted the process of buying a bag from Hermes. Did you know that it is not easy buying a bag from Hermes? Bags like the Kelly Bag and the Birkin have waiting lists. In fact, to get an exotic skin bag, you have to be a returning customer. Some persons “buy their way up” to such bags. For example, you might consider starting small, purchasing a belt, a wallet, tableware etc. before moving up to an exotic skin bag. It is all in the book, so you Hermes lovers can find out the insider tricks.
Really, this book is great. the writing style is good, it is written like two girlfriends talking to girlfriends (the readers).
For me, a vital element of the book was how it highlighted luxury profiling in Jakarta. Hermes bags are a status symbol and people go to great lengths to have one. Including stealing one from the ladies; and unscrupulous man ordered one knowing he could not pay. Everyday I walk around the city and see people with Hermes bags, and the bags never seem to be able to be closed. The Hermes label on the inside is always visible on the Birkin, just in case you were wondering what brand the bag was.
Then again I guess it’s the same obsession as Samantha in the Sex & the City Movie when she yelled, “you broke my Birkin!”. Noticed, she did not say “my bag”. Maybe, after all, the Birkin is not just a bag, it’s on a higher level. (Hmmmm).