France-based luxury fashion brand Hermès International has inaugurated a new manufacturing facility in Louviers, Normandy, to meet rising demand for its Kelly and Constance handbags.

The new Hermès factory was originally announced in 2019. Construction was expected to be complete by 2021 but was delayed by two years due to Covid-19.

The facility will employ 140 skilled leather artisans, with plans to double that workforce within four years. It is producing the 25cm Kelly bags and will shortly add the Constance Mini bag to its production output. The company also has plans to eventually produce other bags, saddles and small goods at the site.

Hermès operates 21 leather manufacturing plants across France and has a stated aim of opening one new facility a year as part of its corporate growth plans.

In 2021, the company opened an apprentice training centre, which awards a state diploma in leather work, to help supply the craftspeople required for its handmade products.

At the end of December 2022, the company employed 19,700 people. Of those employees, 12,400 are in France, among whom 7,000 are craftspeople. The brand also operates more than 300 stores across 45 different countries.