My family loves Jamaica. The beautiful turquoise water, the huge smiles of the Jamaicans and the exciting (if not also annoying) shopping excursions are all part of the fun. One year, well before I was involved with resale, my then teenage daughter and I decided to go on a shopping spree. Between the shouts of “let me braid your hair pretty lady” and “come in, come in and see all de beautiful tings,” we chose one bright and cheery store. There, in the middle of the shop, was a rack of “genuine Coach” handbags. Although we knew the “deal” seemed too good to be true, she and I purchased the knockoffs. From the identification codes on the inside to the dust covers protecting them, they were excellent counterfeits. Regretfully, I now realize true authenticity would have been hard.
In 2016, the counterfeit industry was said to be worth over $461 billion globally. The brands with the most knockoffs were Rolex, Nike, Ray Ban and Louis Vuitton. The item most consistently counterfeited was footwear. Bloomberg reports that apparel makers will spend a whopping $6.15 billion on anti-counterfeit technologies in 2017. Fashion labels use holographic tags, micro-printing and even radio beacons to help identify their merchandise. There are sites dedicated to helping buyers identify a fake. Legos in my Louis deals specifically with Louis Vuitton. With the growth of luxury resale, authentication is more important than ever. So what can you do to ensure true authenticity when reselling?
Many online consignment shops advertise their items as “authenticated.” The RealReal, Lollipuff and Tradesy guarantee authenticity. In fact, even if you didn’t buy an item from Lollipuff, they offer a designer verification service. Some authenticators insist that handbags can only be authenticated by feel, smell and physical comparison. Others believe true authenticity can be determined with photographs. Without an in-house expert appraiser, consignment shops are usually unwilling to offer a certificate of authenticity. Can you blame them? Here are 3 options that offer true authenticity when reselling luxury merchandise.
Entrupy claims anywhere from a 96.4 to 98% accuracy rate. It offers a device that uses your smartphone and a microscopic camera to obtain real-time authentication. Using complex detection algorithms, the Entrupy device “takes microscopic photographs of different areas of an item and runs them through a computer.” Their promotional video states they can authenticate an item in mere seconds.
In the end, if your item is authenticated, you are given a certificate to display on social media or print out and hand to the buyer. Currently, Entrupy authenticates 11 high-end brands.
Another authentication service that uses photos, Authenticate First offers a 2-day turnaround. Available for both buyers and sellers, you can pay for an email opinion or a certificate. Plus, pay for extras such as estimated value and identification. The list of brands that Authenticate First covers is quite extensive. In addition to handbags and wallets, they evaluate footwear, jewelry and even clothing. The process is fairly simple, but relies on top quality photos of the merchandise that you provide.
Coming later this year, eBay Authenticate will offer both the buyer and seller the opportunity to determine true authenticity on certain items. At this point, eBay is only focusing on handbags. They aren’t listing their authentication fee yet but say it will be competitive. Available to everyone, it will allow eBay sellers to market that their items will be reviewed by a professional authenticator. Originally announced in January of this year, it will hopefully begin soon.
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