City Pulse

By Dina Fierro



In a world of it bags, the elusive Hermes Birkin has been and remains the most coveted handbag of all, thanks to the off-putting price – leather editions start at $9,000 and the difficulty in securing one – thanks to a interminable wait list. Yet, at the peak of his Ebay selling career, Huffington Post columnist Michael Tonello spent over $1,000,000 at Hermes over the course of a single year, primarily on Birkin bags – all for the sole purpose of making a profit in the busy resale market.

Tonello recaps his madcap career as an Hermes reseller in his new memoir, Bringing Home the Birkin. He stumbled into the gig after a spontaneous move to Barcelona but quickly becomes an Hermes expert, first learning which items were most coveted from his buyers and later becoming a regular at stores across Europe.

So, bag-loving minds want to know…what WAS Tonello’s secret to securing a Birkin? The author breaks it down by classifying Hermes sales staff into laugh worthy profiles, including the ‘Incurable Romantic’ (a gay man in his thirties who enjoys flirtatious repartee) and ‘the Nazi’ (a cutthroat, driven type that abides by the formula) with notes on how to best approach each. And of course, don’t forget to buy – Tonello bought silk scarves by the dozens to prove himself as a credible Hermes shopper before asking to see Birkins.

Tonello is a first time author and while his memoir isn’t likely to win any lierary awards, it’s a chatty, enjoyable tome, flush with sassy and clever insight. To learn more about the author or to read a preview, visit To snag your own copy, visit Barnes & Noble online.

Originally published April 2008

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