Thierry Hermès was the founder of the company. Born in 1801 in Krefeld, Germany, his Protestant family fled the country and settled in Paris in around 1828. He died in 1878. Thierry travelled a lot throughout his life, but eventually returned to the French capital where, in 1837, he opened his first shop. It was a saddlery workshop that made and sold harnesses and equipment for horses.
Intensive use of horses was booming in Paris, giving rise to great competition among the best coachbuilders, saddlers and harness makers. They had to excel at their trade to satisfy demanding clients.
A harness-shaped moving instrument preserved at the first Hermès workshop bears witness to Thierry Hermès' labours to adjust the harness exactly to fit a horse's neck. At the 1867 Universal Exhibition, the hard-working craftsman was awarded the 1st class medal.