If you love all-things-Hermes – the luxury goods purveyor based in Paris – you are no doubt familiar with its inimitable goods – everything from the iconic Birkin Bag to its horse-themed silk scarves. But in a new push for this year, the luxury brand unveiled its first-ever foray into the world of cosmetics. Rouge Hermes is the name of the new line, and it will feature red, rose and coral lipsticks available in satin and matte finishes. The lipsticks will sell for $67 each, with refills available for $47.
As a luxury expert, I see this is as a smart marketing move, offering even more kinds of products – and lower price points – to an entire new world status-seeking shoppers.
When this new lipstick line debuted back in January, COVID-19 was not yet on the horizon. But now that it is, we should all make note of the “lipstick index.”
The lipstick index is a term that was coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder, used to describe increased sales of cosmetics during the early 2000s recession . Mr. Lauder made the claim that lipstick sales could be an economic indicator, in that purchases of cosmetics – lipstick in particular – tend to be inversely correlated to economic health. The speculation was that women substitute lipstick for more expensive purchases like dresses and shoes in times of economic distress. If Mr. Lauder is right, given this current pandemic with millions of people unemployed – it seems that Hermes lipsticks are poised to fly off the shelves.
Hermes, when unveiling its new lipstick line, probably did not realize the jackpot they were heading for in lipstick sales right now. It will be interesting to see, as time – and the quarantine – progresses.
In a related story, Women’s Wear Daily reported that the flagship Hermes store in China attained $2.7 Million in sales when it re-opened on the weekend of April 12th. The store, a 5,500-sq.-ft. property that was formerly occupied by Prada, is located in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, which is the most affluent region in China. One woman came in and reportedly bought clothes, shoes, and a black crocodile Birkin handbag, which costs thousands and thousands of dollars. This single-day tally is said to be the greatest ever for a boutique in China,
But remember, you can now buy something original Hermes for just $67 – if you consider a Hermes lipstick.
And if you covet the bag, I suggest you read Michael Tonello’s book Bringing Home The Birkin, about his worldwide quest to attain the designer handbags. It’s a hilarious romp.