It all started with a horse and carriage. Thierry Hermès, German by descent,was fashioning bridles and harnesses for the well to do of Europe. As the lineage expanded, his son took things to a new level and started to lay the foundation for the Hermès we know today. I have been lucky enough to visit the flagship store in Paris and it was, hands down, the most interactive and welcoming shopping experience I have ever had. The building that proudly stands at 24 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honorè, has a presence of it’s own. Now partially a museum, history emits from the walls, if only they could talk I’m sure they would have a thousand stories to tell and, they would all be in a wonderful French accent. My connection to Hermès began with one of their carrès a few years ago. I started rocking it daily and was inspired by the way I could use it to dress up or dress down most outfits. After procuring a number of those, I turned my attention to the leather goods. By then I had a love affair with the company and a huge respect for the process they go through before giving products their stamp of approval. When I walked into the Paris store, I knew what I was after.
“Bonjour Monsieur!” Where the first words I heard as I entered. From there, a lovely attendant kindly asked me my name and assured me that if I needed anything at all, to simply ask. As I walked through the store, I took in the whole experience. I bought a deck of cards for my Mom and, the salesperson had them transported downstairs as I continued my browsing. I could smell the leather wafting in the air and I followed my nose to the counter that beheld a selection of notebooks, agendas and, journals. Then I saw it! Staring me down, an olive green notebook cover with a simple yet elegant round snap on it’s far right hand side. The emblematic symbol would one day protect my thoughts and ideas from prying eyes. At first, my Ulysses notebook sat in it’s box, safe from fingerprints and potential scuffs. Then, one day, I wrote in it and, the paper convinced me that all my creative processing would be respected and encouraged. It has become my repository for everything. Even the outline for this site is safely harboured there. Arrows pointing to future ideas and linking past thoughts make the cotton linen paper look like the rantings of a madman. So far so good.
The rest of my shopping experience was just as satisfying as I scooped up one more scarf and a losange, which is not a cough drop, but instead a very dramatic rhomboid shaped cut of cloth that could be worn while one relaxes on the French Riviera in a cabana, sipping on a glass of wine and eating fine food. Or you could just rock it like I do and wear it with a collared shirt and a fedora, a nice pair of shorts and some slip ons. It does take a bit of confidence to pull it off and, I had to work up to wearing it on more casual occasions but it was worth the journey. After I had amalgamated my wares, I walked back down the staircase where I was reacquainted with the lovely attendant. She had all my goods wrapped and ready to go. It was flawless. I signed up for my visitors tax credit and carried that little green piece of paper with me as a reminder that when I returned, I would have a few extra Euro to put towards my next purchase.
Hermès doesn’t cut corners. They don’t compromise. Everything they do is detail oriented and it shows. Not only in the quality but also in the delivery and, because of that, they will have my loyalty for the duration of my tenure. As my mountain of signature orange boxes continues to grow, so do I and, my belief in standing behind your product is personified through the company that started in a little workshop in France but has reached out and touched the world.