The elusive Birkin bag made by is so sought after as a status symbol by women worldwide that the French fashion house has a two year waiting list for potential owners.The elusiveness of the Birkin has ensured it has remained one of the world's most coveted bags since Hermes named it after British actress in 1984, with prices starting at about $9,000 and rising to about $34,000 for a bag.
Birkins are regularly spotted on the wrists of glamorous celebrities, such as , and .
As one would expect in situations where there's a large demand and short supply, someone will devise a way to meet, and profit, from this demand.
Michael Tonello, a beautician turned fashion buyer, says he devised a system to bypass the much-talked about list and spent five years traveling between different Hermes stores to snap up to meet -- and profit from -- this pent-up demand.
"I would go into a store with a list in my Hermes Ulysse notebook and pile up scarves, shawls, bracelets, worth about $2,000. This made me seem a regular Hermes client," Tonello told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"Once I had that pile ready to buy at the last moment I'd ask for a Birkin and they would usually produce one of the back room. In 2005 I bought 130 Birkins in a three-month period -- and you tell me there is a waiting list?"