Hermès, pigeon bags and martinis at The Ritz: meet the Birkin Boyfriends
We speak to the divisive TikTok couple about their Birkin obsession, hanging out with the Jonas Brothers, and their love for luxury fashion
words Sophie Lou Wilson
They say money can’t buy love, but it can buy a Birkin. And for the Birkin Boyfriends, that’s more or less the same thing. The TikTok couple bonded over their love of luxury fashion and Hermès Birkin bags after they kept bumping into each other at The Ritz hotel bar. If all this sounds very glam and unrelatable, that’s because it is.
The Birkin Boyfriends, aka Liam and James, have garnered more than 100K TikTok followers through sharing their extravagant day in the life videos where they float around Bond Street with ubiquitous Birkin bags dangling from their arms. People either love them or hate them and their content is truly giving us a peek into how the other half live. Considering the popularity of quiet luxury and shows like Succession, it’s no wonder they’re blowing up right now: It’s camp. It’s luxury. But is it also a bit? Is it real? Are they parodying themselves?
They insist that they’re not parodying themselves. Apparently, Liam and James really do spend all their time sitting in fancy cafés talking about what their next Hermès purchase will be. “We just love to welcome people into our world,” Liam tells woo. “A lot of YouTube videos about Birkins are a lot more serious. We’re trying to have fun with it.” Now, they're getting invited to host Birkin Boyfriend-themed stag dos and hang out with the Jonas Brothers. When they're not waltzing around luxury stores, they can be found relaxing in Kensington Gardens or feeding spaghetti to their JW Anderson frog bag in expensive Italian restaurants.
woo sat down with the Birkin Boyfriends to find out more about their weird and wonderful luxury lives. They tell us about how they met, their designer bag obsession, and the elusive process of purchasing a Birkin bag.
Hey! So, where did you meet and how long have you been together?
James: Hi! We've been together for eight and a half years. We met at The Ritz in London.
Liam: I always adored The Ritz because it's really glamorous. I would often go there on a Friday. I noticed that James would always be sitting at the same seat at the bar so there were a few occasions where we would see each other in the hotel, but because we're both quite shy, we didn't ever go up to each other.
James: I sent Liam a drink.
Liam: It was a vodka martini, but with three olives which actually became my favourite drink after that moment. I said, “Oh, who sent that?” and the waiter said, “They want to remain anonymous.” I turned around and obviously James was there laughing, so then I laughed and that’s how we initially met.
Did you bond over your love of Birkins?
Liam: That was definitely one of our talking points. If you ever overhear us at a coffee shop having a coffee, that’s what we’re talking about. Yesterday we were having a coffee and talking about Birkin bags and one of our followers walked past and was like, "Is that what you two are really talking about?" We literally talk about it all the time.
James: Yeah. We both love fashion. Liam was really the catalyst for the Birkins and that hooked me into it.
Liam: I used to work at Hermès and that's where James' love for the brand started. Hermès is very exclusive. Unless you have an amazing relationship with the sales assistant within the boutique, you never really get to see any of the items. Everything's behind the cabinet, especially the handbags. I used to come home from the boutique and say to James, "Wow, we had this amazing black crocodile Birkin with diamonds today."
pre-loved designer bags
How many Birkins do you own?
Liam: We never really say because we used to watch YouTube channels where people got their houses robbed, you do have to be a bit cautious. Initially, when we started our page, we didn't show any of our own Birkins at all because we were so cautious. We used to interview other people about their Birkin bags and ask them how they got them.
James: We’d ask them to tell the story of how they got their bag and how long they waited for it because there are quite a lot of rumours out there. We thought that it was interesting for people to know about the real customer experience.
Liam: You have all these online rumours. The Hermès game is referenced quite a lot within the luxury fashion industry.
Are there any myths about buying a Birkin that you'd like to dispel?
Liam: Yeah. A lot of people talk about spending power. People often say you need to spend £20,000-30,000 in order to get offered a bag. Part of that is true, but it isn't always super exclusive. Also there have definitely been times when I worked in the boutique when a client would walk in and say they were looking for a bag that day and they had not shopped with us before and they got a bag. Obviously, the clients know that they're playing the Hermès game so they're always super polite. One thing I would say is if you walk into the boutique, take 20 minutes to look around and see if you can spot the boutique manager. They're always more easily identifiable because they're always wearing their own clothes. That's your best bet because the boutique manager has authority over every bag leaving the boutique. They are the gatekeeper to getting a yes or no.
How did you buy your first Birkins?
Liam: I just went in and asked a question. I wanted to inquire about the different leathers, the different hardware, the different bags you can get. So we had a few hours where we sat with our sales assistant and had a really detailed conversation about what our dream Birkin bag would be. Mine was a Birkin 25 in pink with gold hardware.
James: Mine was a Gold Togo Birkin 30. When you go to Hermès there aren't loads and loads of bags on display. We visited the consignment stores beforehand to see what was available and get an idea of what we could choose.
Liam: Do your research before you go and show your sales assistant that you're willing to learn or you have the knowledge about what bags are available. Ultimately, what Hermès is trying to do is prevent any resellers. Show your knowledge about different types of bags that might not be a Birkin or Kelly. The SA is aware that a person who might not have loads of disposable income today might have it in the future.
Young people are moving back in with their parents or going into debt just to buy Birkins. Why do you think people go to such extreme lengths and do you ever think you could be influencing people to go into financial ruin to buy one?
Liam: Ultimately, they are such an investment bag. You could buy one for maybe £8,000 directly from the shop and on the resale market, depending on the edition and colour, they can go for a lot more. So, people might be saving up for one or get themselves in financial difficulty in the hope that it’s an investment and they can sell it for profit.
James: We met a girl who said that she had been to Hermès and she bought a mini Kelly which is one of the most desirable, popular bags at the moment. She paid £6,500 and she went to a consignment store and got £28,000 for it cash in hand. So she made £21,500 pounds that same day in cash.
Liam: It's such an amazing investment and you'll see that if you read about them online. The investment is probably the main driver of people really wanting one or saving up for one, or even using some inheritance to buy one. In many cases you can argue it's better to put your money in a Birkin bag than the stock market. Some people put a lot of money into Birkin bags and one day they might use that for their retirement. You can sell a Birkin tomorrow. You can probably sell it yesterday because they sell so crazy on the secondary market and people are willing to pay a premium price because you can't just get one.
Birkins aren't the only luxury bags you have. You also have the JW Anderson pigeon bag which appeared in And Just Like That. What is your favourite non-Birkin bag?
James: The pigeon is just iconic. It’s very English. When I saw it on the runway I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It’s so ergonomic. When I hold it in my hand, it feels great. It fits really well in the palm of my hand. It's one of my favourite bags.
Liam: I just love it. It's so different from the Birkin bag which is traditional, quite elegant, quite timeless. It's fun to have bags in your collection which are just a bit of fun. JW Anderson did a frog bag as well. As soon as it came out, I got it. The frog is definitely my favourite bag. I was having a coffee and someone came up to me and said, “What is that?” and I was like, “it's just a bag” and they were just giggling so much. These kinds of bags bring people joy. Its mouth opens too. I took it to dinner the other night. We went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant and I was pretending to feed the frog.
You recently made a TikTok with the Jonas Brothers. How did that come about?
Liam: We were lying in bed one night and I was on my phone and I was like, Joe Jonas just followed our page. The next day we got an email from their record label saying they were playing in London and asking if we wanted to come to their concert.
James: We had the best time with them. We went to the concert, we had drinks. Obviously, the concert was great and then afterwards, we got together with them and made some TikToks. It was a really, really fun day.
Liam: It was really funny because the record manager came up to us and he told us that Joe Jonas's wife really loves us, his wife is Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones. She told Joe to meet up with us when he's in London. She follows us on a secret account.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Liam: We take each day as it comes. Whatever we feel inspired by or whatever we're doing that day we capture on camera. It's like second nature now.
James: We just want to keep inspiring people and having them really enjoy watching the videos and having fun with it. I love reading all the comments. Sometimes people take our videos and they stitch them or they'll make something with it and it's really amazing to create something and then have someone else create something with it. We see our content shared on Twitter and Instagram. It's amazing to see that being built. Somebody sent us an email the other week about getting married and they asked us to make a video for them because they were having a Birkin Boyfriends themed stag party. It's just really nice that you can bring a bit of joy into people's lives.
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