Established in 1837 as an award winning Parisian harness workshop in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris, dedicated to serving European noblemen. Hermès’s son, Charles-Émile, took over management from his father in 1880 and moved the shop to 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where it remains. With the help of his sons Hermes introduced saddlery and leather goods, and started selling his products retail. Subsequently, Émile-Maurice was granted the exclusive rights to use the zipper for leather goods and clothing, becoming the first to introduce the device in France.
Throughout the 1920s the firm added accessories and clothing collections. In 1922, the first leather handbags were introduced after Émile-Maurice’s wife complained of not being able to find one to her liking. In 1924, Hermès established a presence in the United States and opened two shops outside of Paris.During the 1930s, Hermès introduced some of its most recognized original goods such as the leather “Sac à dépêches” in 1935 (later renamed the “Kelly bag” after Grace Kelly) and the Hermès carrés (square scarves) in 1937.
Hermès’s goods are almost entirely made in France by hand in middle-sized workshops known as Les Ateliers Hermès that emphase high-quality manufacturing. Indeed, Hermès claims most items are fabricated from beginning to end by only one person, which is supposed to guarantee the quality and uniqueness of its products.