In the fashion industry over the years, a couple of brand names have become ever existent. These brands have proven to stand the test in terms of style, value, quality, and relevance. An unmistakable name would be Hermes, whose name itself sounds like class.
The brand, which is well known for its intricately designed masterpieces, has remained on the top list of the fashion industry and elites, nobles, and royalties over the years. In this article, we will be diving into the renowned luxury goods manufacturer, who has continued to stay put over the years.
We will be discussing its history, how it came into operation and has been in the market since 1837. With this, we will get an insight into how it has continued to grow over the years. We will also learn how management has changed hands over the years, experienced downtime during the ’80s, and developed within seven years under new management.
How they have managed to stay relevant won’t be left out as we want to know how they have maintained their high profile over the 184 years of their existence. We’ll also dive into their strategies for creating masterpieces and achieving perfection in all their products ever since their invention.
Finally, we will be meeting the Dumas Family. We’ll find out who they are and, most importantly, the role they play in the Hermes brand. The family has become a name unanimous with the brand. They are indeed part and parcel of it. Hence, we cannot leave them out of the discussion when we are talking about Hermes.
- History of Hermes
- Who owns Hermes
- How Hermes has continued to Stay Relevant
- Meets the Dumas Family
History of Hermes
Who Owns Hermes – How it Started
The renowned luxury manufacturer known as Hermes was founded in 1837 by an orphan named Thierry Hermes. He was so skilled with leather that he started the brand making only leather products. When he established his first harness workshop in Paris, at the Grands Boulevards quarter, he produced harnesses and bridles for carriage trade.
At the point of this establishment, he made products for nobles and royalties only. He was so skilled that his products were sought after by nobles. In 1880, his son Charles-Emile took over the family business and moved it to shop 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. When Charles-Emile took over the company, he introduced saddlery into the already existing products. His two sons, Adolphe and Emile-Maurice, were also introduced into the business.
The Journey After
When the two brothers Emile-Maurice and Adolphe came into management, they changed the company’s name to Hermes Freres, another significant change in Hermes history. At this point, there was an increase in saddle production and an in-house increase also as they hired more artisans.
It was under the Chairmanship of Emile-Maurice that the company got the exclusive right to use Zippers. This was a significant achievement in the history of Hermes which led to other achievements. In 1918, they introduced their first golf leather jacket. While in the 1920s, he introduced accessories and clothing collections.
In the 1930s, Emile-Maurice introduced some well-known products such as the Kelly bag and the square scarves. At this point in the history of Hermes, the Dumas came into the scene. It all happened when he trained his three sons-in-law Robert Dumas, Jean-Rene Guerrand, and Francis Puech.
It was Robert Dumas who introduced other accessories like scarves and belts to the brand. After succeeding Emile-Maurice as Heir, he was the first non-blood-related head of operations as he was related by marriage. It was in 1951 that the Hermes company entered the fragrance business.
The history of Hermes is not complete without the signature Birkin bag, which they began producing in the 1980s. The bag’s design began after the former Chairman, Jean-Louis, had an encounter with the actress, Jane Birkin.
The Birkin bag stayed in the spotlight for a long time and still does. He went on to grow the company’s worth massively before he finally retired in 2005. He handed over leadership to his son Pierre-Alexis Dumas who, however, remained an artistic director.
His cousin, Axel Dumas, became the CEO in 2014 and has managed the company’s affairs ever since.
Who Owns Hermes
The company, over time, didn’t remain an only family-owned business as it went public and sold some of its shares. So we would be finding out who has the majority of shares in the company. And if it has caused any significant change to occur in the ownership of the company.
In all the 184 years of existence, the ownership of the Hermes company passes down through various generations. However, the question as to who owns Hermes would need a little walk down memory lane.
After its establishment in 1837, the owner of Hermes international was its founder, Thierry Hermes. He continued as Chief executive officer until he handed over to his son Charles-Emile in 1880. While he was in the business, he introduced his two sons Emile-Maurice and Adolphe, who supported handling the business.
Following his achievements, Emile-Maurice became the sole head of the firm. This was when he got the exclusive right to use the zipper for leather goods and clothing. In the 1920s, while he was the firm’s head, he groomed Robert Dumas, Jean-Rene Guerrand, and Francis Puech to be business partners, who were all sons-in-law.
In 1978, Jean-Lois Dumas, who was the son of Robert Dumas, became the Chairman. Under his chairmanship, the company went public in 1993, allowing non-family members to own shares in the company.
However, the ownership of Hermes still lies within the Hermes family, now the Dumas family, as they own up to 75% of its shares. Axel Dumas, the current CEO and Chairman of the Hermes company, is a nephew of Jean-Louis. Alongside him is Pierre-Alexis Dumas, son of Jean-Lois Dumas. With other heirs from the Thierry Hermes family tree, they all own controlling shares in the Hermes company.
How Hermes have Continued to Stay Relevant
When you see a successful brand that has been in the industry for years, there is always curiosity on what made the brand stay relevant all that time. Despite its scarcity and time taken in production, Hermes’s guaranteed quality still stands. Some of the things that have helped Hermes stay relevant all through the years are:
Exclusivity and Class
Its exclusivity has continued to be one of its major selling points. People want to be associated with class and style. They want to be associated with a brand that is well known for products that are only available to a select few, and that alone has proven to help Hermes stay relevant.
Strategic Developmental Moves
Conscious strategic developmental moves are also techniques the company has perfected. One of these moves would be its continuous purchase of franchised stores and turning them into company-operated stores. This strategy has helped them acquire their 311 stores as of 2014.
Quality and Intricacy
An undeniable factor would be the quality and intricacy of the Hermes products. They take pride in their leather products which take days to produce. Before any craftsman can work on any of their pieces, the craftsman must undergo a compulsory two-years training, which prepares them for the task ahead.
Relevance and Premium Placed on Their Products
Another source of its relevance would be how they have continued to remain neutral on purchasing their products. In the Hermes industry, there is no release of products based on location or particular country. Their century-old pattern of production based on request has not changed. This way, you can’t just walk into a Hermes outlet to buy a bag. It would take months after booking for it to be ready.
Meet the Dumas Family
The Dumas family name came into the picture when Robert Dumas married Jacqueline Hermes. The Dumas family has six children; Phillipe, Oliver, Catherine, Jean Louis, Fredric, and Thierry Dumas. The couple had several grandchildren, of which Axel and Pierre Alexis were apart.
The Dumas name became a household name when he was trained alongside his two other brothers-in-law who married into the Hermes family. Emile-Maurice Hermes, his father-in-law, taught them all to be partners in the business.
Jean-Louis Dumas, the son of Robert Dumas, was the next Dumas family member who played an essential role in the Hermes family business. He was said to have single-handedly increased the company’s revenue during his time as Chief Executive Director.
The next generation of Dumas Family members who took the leadership mantle was Axel and Pierre Alexis Dumas, who became CEO and executive director, respectively.
The Dumas family, through their businesses, have acquired so much wealth that they can now be rated as one of the world’s wealthiest families.
The Hermes brand is a well-renowned luxury fashion brand all over the world. Its products over the years have remained in high demand due to their quality, exclusivity, and durability. The family-owned business has remained at the top in the fashion industry, and it looks like it’s going to stay there for a long time.
Even after going public, the family-owned business still has most of its shares owned by the family members. However, the family name has slowly but significantly changed from the traditional Hermes to the now renowned Dumas.
On meeting the Dumas, you would see that although the change occurred due to marriage. However, the Dumas men have continued to prove their relevance in the family business.
Since then, the company has continued to grow, and it has become evident that it only gets better.