Study Guide

Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag

by Michael Tonello

Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag Summary

Synopsis

Bringing Home the Birkin (2008) is Michael Tonello's hilarious account of his adventures as a top-rated eBay seller of the coveted Hermès Birkin bag. A New England resident, Tonello moves to Barcelona where he has been promised a spectacular new job that never comes to fruition. He searches in vain for a job to make ends meet until he stumbles upon an unlikely and unexpected career.

Tonello begins to sell his possessions on eBay, often fetching four times the object's value. One day, he receives a private message from one of his buyers inquiring whether he has any Birkins for sale. Once he learns what exactly a Birkin is, Tonello marches into the local Hermès store and asks to purchase one. He is nearly laughed out of the store but not before it is suggested that his name could be placed on the waiting list. Not deterred by the year-long wait promised to those on the list, Tonello is convinced that there has to be a way for him to walk into a store and walk out with a bag. Tonello eventually discovers the secret to cracking the Hermès code: he shops for several different items (mainly scarves) that he agrees to purchase prior to inquiring about the store's stock of Birkins. Lo and behold, when Tonello's prospective purchase adds up to a certain amount, it is as though he has uttered the secret password. Suddenly, Tonello has enough Hermès items to sell on eBay to make a living. In fact, in one year, he acquires and sells over one million dollars' worth of Hermès goods, enabling him to pay off maxed-out credit cards that he uses to purchase the $30,000 handbags and then sell them at a substantial profit.

Tonello's adventures allow him to cross paths with socialites, fashionistas, and actresses the world over. In the midst of his nontraditional lifestyle, Tonello finds love and happiness in Europe, all the while capitalizing on other people's desire to possess the "it" item Birkin. Reading about Tonello's brilliant plan may make the reader wonder why she or he did not think of it first!

Ed. Scott Locklear