Paying $840 for an original Hermes item seems like a great deal, but in this particular case we’re talking about a paperweight consisting of a rock and a calf leather strap. How do you even sell something like that?
Well, the French luxury brand found a way – they are marketing the “galet pebbles” (rocks) as unique, which means no one else in the world has the exact same item. But I’m pretty sure you can say the same thing about any river stone. The odds of finding another with the exact same shape and pattern are probably astronomical, and you don’t have to pay anything for that. Sure, it doesn’t come with a fancy calf leather strap, but still…
“Each stone is unique, making your paperweight a one of a kind piece exclusive to you!” the Hermes web store claims. How exciting, right?
The Galet Paperweight is part of Hermes’ “petit h” line, which aims to use leftover materials from the brand’s bags, accessories, shoes and silks to create small trinkets that can be paired with its main products. In this case, the leftover would be the leather strap. I like the idea of recycling scraps that would otherwise be thrown away, but charging over $800 for something that should technically be free? That’s just insane.
I understand that price is an important factor in maintaining the exclusivity of a brand, but there are limits, and I’m pretty sure that charging close to $1,000 for a rock and a leather strap is way beyond them.
As Amanda Mull, of Purse Blog, points out, “once a company has gained its clients’ trust as a reliable provider of both fine leather goods and the frisson of pleasure that comes from silently letting other people know you’re rich, it can basically draw its prices out a hat and a sector of its clientele will still line up, credit cards in hand.”
Remember when Nordstrom started selling leather-wrapped stones for $85 apiece? People were outraged, but Hermes was just like “hold my beer”. And here I though people were crazy for paying $20 for a pet rock. How wrong I was…