Hermes opens Silk Bar, launches an app, and teaches us about production
PHOTOS: VIA LEANDRO JUSTEN/BFA NYC.
This month, it’s great to be doing business at the Time Warner Centre in Manhattan – or at least attending a quick meeting or two there. Situated in the lobby is the Hermes Silk Bar diner where the company’s silk scarves, ties, and enamel bracelets are temporarily being sold.
We were surprised in April when we stumbled across the Silk Bar in Taipei – and were thrilled to see it would be ‘popping-up’ in Manhattan. The high-traffic building is expected to attract a new customer for the brand, and bring a bit of fun and colour to the crowd in dark suits. And for those who need a quick break, the Bar also hosts a games room with golf, hula hoops and a photobooth. Les Jeux d’Hermes is the icing on an already whimsical cake.
THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT
And to ensure customers enjoy their purchase beyond the initial beauty of the art on each scarf, Hermes has also launched a Silk Knots app with videos, and step by step instructions on how to tie your scarf. Tops, braided headbands, necklaces and dresses, in addition to beautiful around the neck drapes are all included.
Nike has always been great at serving a higher mandate for their customers, for example offering training video apps, and prepping-for-your-first-marathon programs – but it’s nice to see a fashion company offering the same level of service. A lifetime of fun with silk scarves is what Hermes is offering their customer.
Hermes is a company of artists and craftspeople first and foremost. The designers of each of the silk scarves are purposely kept away from the production process so they will not consider the hours it takes to see their vision through. Thankfully, this is exactly what the Hermes customer loves about their product – the quality, the uniqueness of each piece, the artistry.
It often takes up to six-months for an engraver at Hermes to determine each scarf’s distinct colours. Often a 750 to 2000 hour process, engraving (or preparing the artwork for print) takes up to a year.
Craftspeople, as with many chefs and producers, care primarily for their final product and also the materials and ‘waste’ which are not used in their production. Hermes is a company which uses only the highest quality of materials, the availability of which limits their production capacity. The Hermes craftspeople often joke about the ‘mean men who inspect each finished piece’ – the toughest quality control group in the industry. With these standards, it is within every artist to want to put to use everything – rejected and damaged finished goods, scrap material, etc.
Petit h is a workshop designed and run by Madame Pascale Mussard. The creative space brings Hermes skills and materials together under one roof and offers artists the chance to use them in new works. The scraps and discarded materials from the production workshops are reborn into unexpected objects. Traditionally these items have been sold through travelling exchibitions in Hermes boutiques, but have now found a more permanent home. Hermes is opening a new Petit h shop in the rue de Sevres store in Paris.
Hermes’ business continues to experience strong growth year over year, and is one of the few companies which stands firmly behind, and executes according to its values. Perhaps strong growth is associated with strong values?