Hermès was established in 1837 by Thierry Hermès who began the company by producing horse harnesses for European noblemen. Hermès won prizes for quality and workmanship in the Expositions Universelles in Paris in 1867. His son Charles took over the management and in 1880, moved the workshop to 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris center, where the shop still stands today.
In 1900 the firm offered a carry bag for riders to carry their saddles called Haut à Courroies . This H.A.C bag was the forerunner to the modern Kelly and Birkin Bags.
Later in 1914 Charles two sons took over Hermès and secured exclusive rights in France to the “zipper”. They used the device for fastening many of their leather products . Called the “Hermès fastener”, it was first used to fasten a leather golf jacket for the Prince of Wales.
In 1922 the company then began production of women’s handbags. In 1935 the leather Sac à dépêches was introduced (later renamed the “Kelly bag” after Grace Kelly), and in 1937 Hermès began production of their now legendary silk carrés (scarves) . Each scarf is individually screen-printed : designers are able to choose from tens of thousands of colors for their designs. Once a Hermes scarf design is complete, artisans in the Hermes workshops near Lyon begin their work. It takes about 18 months to produce a scarf from that point—the engravers alone take some six months to determine each scarf’s distinct colors (on average about 27) and it takes about 750 hours to engrave the screens for printing (one screen for each color). Each Scarf is then finished by hand rolling the edge and sewing it closed with one single long piece of thread.
Hermes International SCA said 2012 profitability reached a record level as sales rose 23 percent, driven by demand for its $10,000 Birkin bags in markets across the globe.