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Real Authentication provides top tier Authentication, Identification and Valuation services for over 100 Designer Luxury Brands: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Prada, Gucci, Fendi and more. Contact us today to shop and sell with the confidence and protection you deserve!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Q&A: Founders of Real Authentication by Italist

Q: Tell us a bit about your backgrounds. What prompted you to launch Real Authentication?

A: Real Authentication was founded in 2016 in the USA by Anastacia Bouzeneris and Jenna Padilla, who met while working together as lead authenticators at a reputable designer resale company. Realizing there was a need in the industry for a quick, easy, and reliable way to authenticate luxury goods, Bouzeneris and Padilla came together to offer global verification services for anyone that questions the authenticity of their luxury merchandise.

We are completely enamoured with luxury and designer fashion. We have a deep appreciation of the craftsmanship and heritage behind the brands we service which motivates us to uphold the mantra Real is Better.

Our team is determined to find justice for our clients and offer a reliable, non-biased source of regulation to the secondary market.

Q: What services does Real Authentication offer?

A: Real Authentication offers virtual expert designer authentication services. We service all designer categories including: handbags, watches, eyewear, clothing, jewelry, shoes, scarves, hats, and homegoods (pillows, glassware, and blankets).

We also offer documentation including Certificates of Authenticity and official Written Statements that serve as the expert opinion needed to regain funds from selling platforms, PayPal, and credit card companies if a counterfeit item is accidentally purchased.

Real Authentication also offers identifications and fair market valuations to give clients an idea of what their item is worth.

Q: The luxury resale market has exploded in the last few years—players like The RealReal have even IPO-ed! How has that impacted your work and the day-to-day as authenticators?

A: Yes, as the market has expanded very rapidly over the last few years, we have been scaling right along with it. From day one, we have prioritized technology and streamlining our processes. Our custom platform allows us to quickly and accurately offer the highest level of expertise to anyone and everyone in the secondary market on a global scale.

We have collected some of the top experts in the industry and cultivated a collaborative environment for continued learning which we are very proud of. We document and track everything to help provide a consistent level of service to all of our clients both large and small. 

Q: Out of all the authentications you do in a week (or a month), how many do you find to be inauthentic? (What’s the proportion of real items vs. fakes you see on a regular basis?)

A: The majority of the orders we receive are indeed authentic, but the split is not too wide. It also fluctuates over time but roughly 10-20% of orders are counterfeit.

real vs fake balenciaga bag comparisons
Real vs. fake Balenciaga Classic City bag comparisons. Credit: Real Authentication

Q: What are the 3 easiest tell-tale signs of an inauthentic designer handbag? Are certain types of items harder than others to analyze?

A: There are certainly different grades of counterfeit items. We typically see trending items counterfeited at higher levels since they will be vastly searched for in the marketplace.

The easiest way to identify counterfeit products is the overall material quality, serial number inconsistencies, and hardware.

Q: Which are the hardest brands to authenticate? What makes them challenging?

A: Hermès and Chanel are the most complex brands to authenticate. You really have to know exactly what you are looking for since the counterfeiters are pumping out such high quality.

Q: I feel like fakes have gotten much much better over the last few years. How much “continuing education” do you have to do in order to stay sharp in your authentication work?

A: They absolutely have. We are continuing our education, tracking data, documenting trends and improving our internal processes daily. It really requires all of the above to stay on top of things. 

Real vs. fake Gucci Marmont bag comparisons real authentication
Real vs. fake Gucci Marmont bag comparisons. Credit: Real Authentication

Q: Do you look at different things when authenticating a vintage/resale piece vs. a brand new or very contemporary item?

A: Brands are always changing up their manufacturing so yes, vintage components will be vastly different from more contemporary ones. With this, it’s crucial to document and even have timelines for manufacturing changes memorized.

Our database is quite extensive so timelines and comparison references are something that we have a deep understanding of.

Q: Tell us about your process and SmartDatabase Scan technology.

A: We analyze every aspect of an item that is submitted, from general product information all the way down to the denier of a stitch. Each order is reviewed by two or more of our highly-trained authentication experts and run through our proprietary Smart Database Scan™ technology. Smart Database Scan™ cross checks numerous data points within our system and identifies any red flags that may be identified.

Dior Cannage bag real vs. fake comparisons
Dior Cannage bag real vs. fake comparisons. Credit: Real Authentication

Q: Which sites (or types of sites) do people generally have to be wary of, and which sites (or types of sites) are “safe?”

A: Sites that are actively monitoring or regulating their listings for counterfeit items are always going to be safer and more reliable for shoppers. The bipartisan SHOP SAFE Act was introduced in early 2020 and if passed, will hold internet platforms liable under trademark law for third-party sites selling counterfeit goods sold on the platform.

They will be required to put forth reasonable efforts to combat counterfeit activity on their sites. It’s important to know that not all platforms are operating this way yet, but those who do typically provide information around their efforts within their FAQ or elsewhere on their site. 

Q: Have you ever had a case of an inauthentic item that you evaluated actually come from the first-hand market (a reputable e-commerce site)?

A: It’s not too common but yes, return fraud is real. It’s a tricky situation to help our clients navigate, but it does happen. Return fraud is when a scammer will purchase an authentic item from a department store and then return a high quality counterfeit in its place. The counterfeit item is not likely to be detected by sales associates because they are not trained at a high enough level to detect high quality counterfeits.

We have experienced firsthand instances where sales associates take just a quick glance at the item before accepting the return. You can really never be too careful these days, and if something just feels off about the item, there’s a good chance you’ve been duped. 

Real Authentication
Credit: Real Authentication

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in your authentication work?

A: What surprises us every time is seeing designer items with a different brand’s components on them. Many people would never guess this, but brands share manufacturing facilities and sometimes things get a little mixed up.

Quality control issues are prevalent in any manufacturing process, but it always gives us a kick to see the flaw make it to the secondary market. 

Thanks again to Anastacia and Jenna for giving us a glimpse into the exciting world of luxury authentication, and discussing how the process has changed with greater volumes of buyers, sellers, and potentially dubious products.

Check them out on Instagram for more side-by-side real vs. fake comparisons!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like: The Queen of Milanese Designer Resale, Q&A with Stacie from the Luxe Hunt Blog, and Sustainable Style Icon: Tess Montgomery.

Shop italist for up to 40% off on over 200,000 up-to-the-minute luxury fashions for women, men, and kids from leading brands like Golden GooseFendiGucciMiu Miu, and many more—direct from Italy’s finest boutiques to your door.

Real Authentication founders Anastacia Bouzeneris and Jenna Padilla. Credit: Real Authentication


Friday, May 15, 2020

Vestiaire Collective raises $64.2 million for its second-hand fashion platform

Vestiaire Collective just closed another big round of funding in the middle of an economic crisis — the round closed in early April. The startup raised $64.2 million (€59 million) and the company has raised more than €209 million in total, according to Crunchbase. Vestiaire Collective operates a marketplace of pre-owned fashion items. Users can both sell and buy clothes and accessories on the platform.
There’s a huge list of investors in today’s round — Korelya Capital, Fidelity International-managed funds, Vaultier7, Cuit Invest and existing investors Eurazeo (Eurazeo Growth and Idinvest Venture funds), Bpifrance, Vitruvian Partners, Condé Nast, Luxury Tech Fund and Vestiaire Collective CEO Max Bittner are all participating.
With 9 million members across 90 countries, Vestiaire Collective has become a huge marketplace. And it makes sense that an e-commerce website focused on pre-owned items is working well. There has been a ton of backlash against fast fashion over the past few years.
People now also value circular business models as it becomes more affordable to refresh your wardrobe, especially during an economic crisis, and it is better for the environment.
As always, Vestiaire Collective will use the new influx of cash to expand to more countries. In particular, with Korelya Capital as a new backer, the company will expand to South Korea and Japan this year. While the company started in France, 80% of transactions are now cross-border transactions.
Originally, Vestiaire Collective asked you to send your items to its warehouses to check them before putting them on sale. The startup has been betting on direct shipping from the seller to the buyer in Europe and it has been working well. You can get reimbursed if there’s something wrong with what you ordered though.
Direct shipping has been available in Europe since September 2019 and it now represents over 50% of orders in the region. Up next, Vestiaire Collective will introduce direct shipping in the U.S. this summer and in Asia by the end of 2020.
oa here

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Fashion Reseller Poshmark Fast Tracks Video Feature, Targeting Shoppers Stuck At Home

Poshmark is joining the social media juggernauts capitalizing on a captive consumer base by adding a video feature to its fashion marketplace that aims to make shopping for used clothing on your phone feel more like, well, shopping.

With stores and restaurants shuttered and millions of people stuck at home, platforms like Zoom, TikTok and Instagram are thriving, and now the San Francisco-based business, which sells used clothing, shoes and accessories, will allow its eight million sellers to post live 15-second videos or upload footage from their phones that links directly to the items they are selling.
Poshmark was founded by Manish Chandra, Tracy Sun, Gautam Golwala and Chetan Pungaliya in 2011 as a way for women to sell clothes they no longer wore. The app lets them “like” and comment on other people’s listings, which helped make Poshmark a more personal experience than shopping for secondhand stuff on eBay. It has since expanded into categories like menswear, kids and home décor, taking a 20% cut on sales. In 2019, it said it paid out $2 billion to sellers, double the previous year. It was reportedly valued at $1.25 billion after some existing investors sold shares in a secondary transaction last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company has been building and testing a video option for over a year and planned to roll it out in the second half of 2020 but fast-tracked the launch due to the pandemic so it could offer more of a “real-world experience” to shoppers. The new feature allows sellers to show off the ways they styled an outfit they have for sale or give the backstory on how they acquired a particular item, for instance. The content will automatically disappear after 48 hours.
The feature mimics Instagram, which lets influencers and brands tag clothing, furniture or other items in their posts and link to a website where it is available for purchase. Instagram has been doubling down on its shopping features and last year began allowing customers the ability to checkout from some retailers without leaving the app. Social shopping apps such as LikeToKnow.It also offer people the ability to shop the looks that they see on celebrities and influencers. However, none allow for the purchase of secondhand clothing, a segment that is growing 21 times faster than the overall apparel market.
“Physical retail is challenged in this environment,” says Chandra, 52, CEO. “People are looking and turning in so many ways to online.”
Chandra is hoping that video will increase engagement and sales among its 60 million registered users, who spend an average of 23 to 27 minutes per day on the Poshmark app. With purchases generally correlating to time spent on a service, Poshmark sees this as a way to forge a better connection between buyers and sellers, and help move the $175 million worth of inventory that gets uploaded to its platform every week (Poshmark doesn’t hold any inventory, leaving users to buy and sell directly from each other).
While many retailers are struggling amid prolonged store closures and a looming recession that has cut into discretionary spending, Chandra says that Poshmark’s business has been fairly steady. A wave of new sellers have turned to the platform for supplemental income after cleaning out their closets or even as a main source of income. The bigger challenge is demand. Poshmark is reliant on apparel sales, which dropped a whopping 52% on a national level in March, according to the Department of Commerce. Chandra declined to provide specifics, but says demand has picked up after lagging at first.
“We were concerned in the early days of the crisis,” says Chandra. “But it seems to have balanced out.”
oa here 

Monday, May 4, 2020

RealReal's stock slumps after loss warning, job cuts

Shares of RealReal Inc. REAL, +1.44% slumped 2.4% in morning trading Tuesday, after the online luxury consignment site warned of a wider-than-expected net loss for the first quarter, but provided an upbeat outlook on gross merchandise volume (GMV). The company also said in response to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has cut its overall workforce by 10% and furloughed about 15% of its staff, as it has temporarily closed its stores and luxury consignment offices. The company said it was off to a "strong start" for the quarter until the spread of COVID-19 led to shelter-in-place and social distancing mandates. It now expects a first-quarter net loss of $39.9 million to $38.9 million, compared with the FactSet consensus for a loss of $30.4 million. Gross merchandise value is expected to be up about 15% from a year ago to $258 million; the average estimate of two analysts surveyed by FactSet was $224.5 million, with a range of $156.9 million and $292.0 million. The stock has shed 56.9% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 SPX, 0.42% has lost 14.0%.
oa here

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Le Prix: Shop & Chat with Real Authentication

This article is ridiculously timely as just the other day I was accused of carrying a fake Chanel bag. For real…a designer resale expert and fashion writer for LePrix who owns a fake? Bissh, please.
The facts: The bag is authentic—I purchased it at Saks Fifth Avenue. I just had it professionally cleaned so I can resell it. I was at the Maryland State Fair watching the horse races, not exactly a place I’d bring my fanciest bag to hang with the farm animals and farmers. So, I guess I need to get it authenticated before I sell it.
Of all the people who would be caught carrying a FAKE, it wouldn’t be me! Well, this morning I learned about Real Authentication and I immediately signed up because it’s obvious to me this bag—and maybe a few others—will need an extra level of protection and authentication before I’m accused of selling a fake.
What’s Real Authentication? It’s a designer authentication company that lets you authenticate and verify your item from anywhere, anytime…which means there’s an app! And since LePrix is one of the world’s top designer resale companies, it just makes sense for us to feature them in this month’s Shop & Chat.

Tell me about the founding of Real Authentication.
Real Authentication was founded by Anastacia Bouzeneris and Jenna Padilla. We met while working together as authenticators at another designer resale company and both realized there was a need in the industry for a quick, easy and reliable way to authenticate luxury goods, so we took a leap and launched Real Authentication!

How and why did you launch Real Authentication?
We’ve been authenticating in the secondary market for nearly a decade and we’ve held positions as Senior Authenticators for one of the industry’s top resellers. Because we’ve been in the industry for a long time, we’ve noticed the speed at which the designer resale industry has grown and become one of the primary ways of buying luxury goods. While we were working for various resellers in the industry, we’d witness clients struggle with reasons why their item was either deemed authentic or counterfeit. The clients were unable to find a quick, reliable and easy way to authenticate goods and find credible information surrounding authenticity in general. Even internally at our company, it was difficult to find a reliable source for authentication.
Real Authentication was born due to witnessing large companies and individual shoppers alike struggle through the same pain points of verifying authenticity.
Why are you so passionate about fighting counterfeits? 
Not only have we seen our clients get taken advantage of by scammers, but we’ve been burned too! There are few things more disturbing than being scammed and having zero recourse. We absolutely love and appreciate the craftsmanship and heritage behind the brands we service, but we are primarily motivated by finding justice for our clients and offering a reliable, non-biased source of regulation to the secondary market as a whole.
How do you authenticate?
We analyze everything—from the client information all the way down to the denier of a stitch. Not only do we have two highly-trained authentication experts who review every single order, but we also use technology that we created—Smart Database Scan—to crosscheck data within our system and identify any red flags. With the higher quality of the fakes today, you can never be too careful! We always recommend getting multiple opinions to verify authenticity though.
What are the most popular authentication requests that come your way? 
Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton will always be our most authenticated brands as they tend to be the most popular and in turn the most counterfeited. We see so much variety overall though, it is always exciting sifting through our admin panel.

What was your first luxury vintage purchase?  
Jenna: I’ll always remember what first spiked my interest in the secondary market…I came across a vintage Chanel Crystal Sautoir necklace for $100 and could tell immediately it was authentic and incredibly underpriced! I wore it for months and then tossed it on eBay to make a quick and massive profit. I was sold!
Anastacia: My journey into the secondhand market started in 1999 when I opened my eBay account. One of my first purchases was a vintage Louis Vuitton bag. It was well used, but new to me! To this day, I still have the bag as it’s a reminder of my journey right from the start.
To find out more about Real Authentication, click here.

oa here 

Off-White debuts bizarre $1,700 handbag wtih huge HOLES making it impossible to carry anything

First came the micro purse trend, which was able to fit only one's lipstick or a single AirPod inside the tiny bag.
But now Virgil Abloh's Off-White brand is turning the fashion world on its head with the release of its intentionally 'unfunctional' handbag. 
The Meteor is Off-White's latest top handle bag, but the design comes with large holes punched directly through the leather to make the purse unable to carry any item without it falling out. 
Alert the fashion presses: Off-White, Virgil's brand, unveiled its newest handbag ahead of its fashion show in Paris, France, on Thursday
Alert the fashion presses: Off-White, Virgil's brand, unveiled its newest handbag ahead of its fashion show in Paris, France, on Thursday
New concept: The bag entitled The Meteor ($1,665) is a top handle bag with holes punched through the leather, making it so the purse can't carry any items
New concept: The bag entitled The Meteor ($1,665) is a top handle bag with holes punched through the leather, making it so the purse can't carry any items
When announcing the launch of the handbag, the brand confessed in a press release that it was 'unfunctional' for the consumer, Vogue reports. 
Unfunctional: Off-White released the bag to challenge 'the concept of a bag itself, one of the most common objects in our everyday lives' 
Unfunctional: Off-White released the bag to challenge 'the concept of a bag itself, one of the most common objects in our everyday lives'
The purpose of the bag, instead, is to challenge 'the concept of a bag itself, one of the most common objects in our everyday lives.'  
Functional or not, Off-White is retailing the fashion accessory for $1,665 for anyone who is looking to carry a bag with no items inside. 
Off-White also sells a similar bag to the new Meteor bag that is without the holes. 
Its Jitney bag offers a similar design with the arrows crossing on the flap of the handbag. But the item provides a more affordable, and realistic, option for customers, as it is priced at just over $1,000 with no holes. 
Designer Virgil is known for being Kanye West's fashion protegee. 
He went on to launch the Off-White brand in 2012, which debuted its upcoming Spring 2020 collection featuring the unfunctional bag in Paris, France, on Thursday. 
Handbags have become one fashion accessory used by designers as of late to spark conversations within industry. 
Earlier this year, French fashion label Jacquemus debuted a micro bag during Paris Fashion Week that only had room for one small item.  
Showcase: Models at the brand's Paris Fashion Week show were seen carrying the bags with their arms going right through the holesShowcase: Models at the brand's Paris Fashion Week show were seen carrying the bags with their arms going right through the holes
Showcase: Models at the brand's Paris Fashion Week show were seen carrying the bags with their arms going right through the holes
Who needs storage? The bags look more like a glorified bracelet than a purse
Who needs storage? The bags look more like a glorified bracelet than a purse 
The brand, which is already well known for its micro handbags costing between $345 and $795, sent models down the runway with the minuscule accessories hanging from a single finger.
Most people thought the micro bag was the most unfunctional option out there. That is until Off-White released its Meteor bag. 
Virgil picked four women creatives within the fashion industry — Ana Gimeno Brugada, Carla Sozzani, Patricia Urquiola, and Karla Otto — to model the new bag for the brand's campaign images as opposed to hiring models in their 20s.
'Each muse styles the Meteor in her own way, extending [her] own superior style to this new classic,' Virgil told Vogue about the decision. 
When speaking about the bag, he added:  'Under the guise of "womenswear," the Meteor bag brings to [life] the notion of a strong spirit, [something that is] able to withstand natural disasters and take on a life of its own.'  
People can get their hands on the unfunctional Meteor bag beginning on September 29 in select retailers.   
Old trend: This 'unfunctional' bag comes after the trend of carrying a micro purse around
Old trend: This 'unfunctional' bag comes after the trend of carrying a micro purse around
Worth it? Earlier this year, French fashion label Jacquemus debuted a tiny bag during Paris Fashion Week that only had room for one small item
Worth it? Earlier this year, French fashion label Jacquemus debuted a tiny bag during Paris Fashion Week that only had room for one small item


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Why Competitor Poshmark May Be The RealReal And ThredUp’s Best Friend In Exploding Resale Market

Investment analyst Michael Binetti, Credit Suisse, is out with a bold prediction: “We believe the secondhand/resale market could grow much faster in the near-term than the +mid-teens growth that industry sources project.”
As current projections stand, the combined digitally-native resale and the traditional, largely brick-and-mortar thrift/donation secondhand fashion market will reach $51 billion by 2023, according to ThredUp, a major player in the resale fashion market and the primary source of the industry’s data.
By 2023, the resale segment is expected to account for 45% of the secondhand apparel market’s sales or $23 billion, growing from a mere 25% ($7 billion) of the total $28 billion in 2019.
The RealReal, the recently made public luxury resale company, the privately-held ThredUp, and social commerce peer-to-peer marketplace Poshmark are the current resale leaders.

On The Money Decluttering Tips

Dynamic growth in the online sales channel will be the main driver of growth, gaining twice as fast as thrift/donation or over 30% per year from 2019 to 2023. This will be thanks to consumers, most especially women, gaining awareness of the convenience of this new model as an alternative to giving bags of old clothes to Goodwill, Salvation Army or local thrift stores.
As mentioned, Credit Suisse’s Binette expects it to advance even faster, though he didn’t speculate just how much faster it will grow. However, he said, “We’ve networked extensively with management teams across the secondhand retail category and the most consistent comment we’ve heard is that the industry unanimously believes it is barely scratching the surface with the addressable market of consumers that would consider re-selling/consigning online.”

Supply, not demand is the industry’s challenge

Increasingly, women are willing to give secondhand shopping a try, with ThredUp reporting the number of women who’ve purchased secondhand has grown from 44 million in 2017 to 56 million in 2018, roughly half of all adult women.
However, the linchpin for resale’s future is getting inside people’s closets and convincing them to turn over enough good-old stuff that online buyers will want.
After all, they have been filling their closets with off-price (Marshalls, TJ Maxx), fast fashion (Zara, H&M), value chain (Walmart, Target) clothing at an aggressive pace, but this isn’t the stuff that a vibrant resale market is made on. The ThredUp study, supplemented with data from Credit Suisse, estimates that about 35% of consumers’ closets in 2018 are accounted for by clothing from these three sources and their share has grown from 28% since 2008.
Instead, the stuff consumers are most likely to want to buy in resale is department store (14% share of closet in 2018) and other specialty retail (13%) brands, which they also may want to hold onto longer. Mid-priced fashion (Gap, J.Crew) that comprises 20% share of closet today may go for ThredUp or Poshmark, but not The RealReal.
It isn’t consumer demand that could hold the fashion resalers back. It’s getting their hands on enough stuff that their customers will want. As a result, each player’s consignment strategies are critical to their future success.

Getting real is The RealReal’s key consignment strategy

The RealReal identifies unlocking the ~$200 billion of luxury goods available in the U.S. for the resale market as its greatest market opportunity, as well its most critical challenge.
“The biggest obstacle to growth for REAL is acquiring the right level and types of supply,” writes Cowen’s Oliver Chen, in a report on a recent meeting with The RealReal’s CEO Julia Wainwright and CFO Matt Gustke.
“Management highlights it is more difficult to get someone to consign for the first time,” he explains, but adds that after their first consignment, The RealReal customers typically return two-to-three times a year.
With Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Hermès its leading brands, The RealReal has found making face-to-face connections with wary luxury consumers critical to getting prime merchandise. So, it operates three stores, two in NYC and one on Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, where well-heeled shoppers can come in and meet with authentication experts. Such personal connection raises their comfort level.
The RealReal also operates 11 locations nationwide for jewelry, watch and handbag valuations, plus the convenience of free “white glove” in-home consultation and pickup in 20 markets.
In a previous discussion with CEO Julie Wainwright, she shared that not only do the stores pave the way for better consignments, they also result in an order size twice as large as is typical online. “It is a marketing tactic and sales tactic and product acquisition tactic,” Wainwright said. “We find we get lots of high-quality consignments when we do pop-ups,” like one recently in Las Vegas.
The RealReal is approaching half a million buyers and if turning new RealReal buyers into consignors is its primary way to source new supply, it has a long runway.
According to the BCG-Altagamma True-Luxury survey among consumers who met a threshold of luxury spending (~$5,500 in past year), only half of the U.S. luxury consumers surveyed have participated in the secondhand market. Among the other half, 21% have sold and bought, 18% have purchased only and 11% have only sold.
The RealReal is still in the early days in tapping its potential market. “Resale drives a perpetual consumption cycle that fuels recurring consignments and purchases as it provides liquidity to consignors to purchase new and secondhand items – this should support solid GMV (gross merchandise value) growth over the long-term,” Chen writes.

ThredUp has it in the bag

ThredUp’s consignment strategy is literally in-the-bag with its “Clean Out Your Closet” service where a potential consigner requests a postage-paid Clean Out Kit to bag up unwanted items. These item can either be sold for cash or credit to use at Reformation or Polarn O. Pyret for childrenswear or donated to charity along with a $5 cash gift.

The company notes, however, that it is picky about what consignments it accepts: only items in pristine condition with no damage or alterations, including missing sizing information. Given those criteria, ThredUp reports it only retains about 40% of the items shipped for resale. The rejects can be returned to the sender for a small fee or donated to charity.
Right now, through October 20, ThredUp is hot on the trail for fall fashion, offering a 20% extra payout for seasonally-appropriate sweaters, coats, boots, overalls, jumpsuits and designer handbags. In-demand brands it is on the hunt for include Madewell, Patagonia, Lululemon, Everlane, Sorel, Eloquii and Torrid.
ThredUp is also crossing over into physical retail in new partnerships just announced with Macy’s and J.C. Penney. ThredUp departments will shortly open in 40 Macy’s and 30 J.C. Penney locations.
These locations will give consumers an extra dose of confidence and credibility to ThredUp when they first meet the brand there. No word that consignments will be accepted there, but one can imagine each department will have a stack of clean-out bags readily at hand.

Poshmark takes a do-It-yourself approach

Poshmark claims to be the No. 1 fashion buying and selling platform, with some 50 million sellers. A recent survey by Raymond James supports that claim, with 67% of women surveyed recognizing the Poshmark name, as compared with 44% who know ThredUp and 12% The RealReal.
But unlike ThredUp and The RealReal, Poshmark operates under a different business model. It doesn’t take possession of the clothing for sale. It works as a peer-to-peer marketplace where sellers list items and Poshmark takes a piece of the action once a sale is completed.
With its stripped-down business model, it gives sellers the tools to make sales, but also requires them to do the heavy lifting to photograph, describe, and price each item. Poshmark provides a prepaid shipping label when an item is bought, but the seller has to package it and take it to the post office to ship.
It also supports sellers with what it describes as virtual shopping parties where people gather on the app to enjoy selling events around a theme or brand. Success in fashion has given Poshmark confidence to branch out into home decor and housewares.

Awareness builds customers and consignors

To attract people to the circular fashion resale economy, both Credit Suisse’s Binetti and Cowen’s Chen identify building awareness of the potential of resale platforms like The RealReal, ThredUp and Poshmark is critical.
To create awareness, all three companies have taken to television to get the word out. In that Poshmark is the leader, running 14,872 spots in the last 30 days and ranking No. 311 in terms of overall advertising spending, according to ISpot.TV. ThredUp (2,674 airings and No. 839 in sending) and The RealReal (2,533 airings and No. 1,020 in spending) lag far behind.
And from that awareness, consignments grow. Signs are that American consumers are already lightening their load, as the ThredUp study reports consumers have reduced the number of items in their closets from 164 in 2017 to 136 in 2019. But that also means, they may have fewer choice items to pass along into the resale channel.
Ultimately Poshmark’s heavy-lifting in the awareness department may be a blessing for both ThredUp and The RealReal. After a few times a person does all the work on the back end to make a sale –or not make a sale if the price isn’t right or the description fails – my guess is that people looking to get in on the resale action may quickly turn to the frictionless and more convenient alternative that ThredUp and The RealReal offer.
Poshmark may open the door for customers to try online resale, but I bet that ThredUp and The RealReal will be the ones that will keep them around for the long haul and get the best pickings from their closets.

oa here


Thursday, September 5, 2019

ThredUp Unveils New Platform And $175 Million In Funding As Resale Trend Accelerates

Even as the retail industry has slumped, dragged down by disappointing earnings and an unending trade war, resale is exploding. With the $24 billion secondhand market looking more and more enticing to hard-up traditional retailers, no small number of them began to court the fashion resale marketplace ThredUp over the last year, CEO and cofounder James Reinhart says.
“I think all of them acknowledged that resale was a trend that was accelerating,” he adds. “But they weren’t exactly sure how to participate in it.”
The result of those conversations, ThredUp announced today, is a new platform called Resale-As-A-Service that will allow retailers to partner with the company, offering three options: an in-store pop-up, online collaboration or a loyalty program. To power the initiative, ThredUp has raised $100 million in a new funding round, to go with a previously undisclosed $75 million from last year. That brings ThredUp’s total funding to more than $300 million and values the company at $670 million, according to Pitchbook. (ThredUp wouldn’t comment on its valuation.)
In pilots of Resale-As-A-Service, Reinhart says, the loyalty program has proved the most popular of the three options. In that model, when shoppers purchase an item from a ThredUp partner, they are sent a co-branded “clean out kit”—the bag that ThredUp sellers use to send items to be resold. But instead of receiving cash, as they would in a direct transaction with ThredUp, sellers in the loyalty program get credit to the partner retailer. ThredUp keeps the markup on the resold item, and the partner retailer improves its customer retention; the individual seller, meanwhile, may get a bonus for using the loyalty program instead of going straight to ThredUp. For example, Reformation, an eco-conscious contemporary label, adds 15% to what ThredUp offers a seller as an incentive.
The pop-ups are also gaining traction, with Macy’s and JCPenney announcing last week that they are partnering with ThredUp. The in-store spaces, which will be about 500 to 1,000 square feet, will feature new items on a weekly basis, offering brands that aren’t already in a typical Macy’s or JCPenney. There will be 100 pop-ups by Labor Day, Reinhart says, including the company’s partnership with Stage Stores, a department store chain.

Retailers across the board are demonstrating a “new appreciation for where the young shopper is shopping,” says Reinhart, 40. But it’s not as if Macy’s and JCPenney had much of a choice.
Both have been struggling of late. Macy’s shares fell 13% after it announced its second-quarter earnings (and its ThredUp partnership) on August 14; shares are down another 9% since. JCPenney’s results were grim, too, and it’s at risk of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange with shares hovering around $0.60.
The two companies have long been trying to differentiate their drab department stores any way they can to draw people in. JCPenney offers Sephora store-in-stores while Macy’s last year acquired Story, a concept shop.
With their latest attempt at a tie-up, there’s no doubt they have landed on a popular trend. According to a ThredUp report, resale is growing 21 times as fast as the broader retail market and itself will become a $51 billion market by 2023.
But what’s to say those treasure-hunting shoppers will choose a Macy’s with a ThredUp pop-up over an off-price retailer like TJ Maxx? Reinhart himself notes that’s where 70% of ThredUp shoppers say they would go if the reseller weren’t an option.
Still, Reinhart is confident that ThredUp’s broad appeal—it carries more than 30,000 brands—and its ability to scale will bring more retailers on board. He hints that other partners are already in the pipeline. Plus, the resale industry is only going to keep growing. Investors already poured $300 million into The RealReal, an online consignment shop that focuses on luxury, when it went public in June. And Poshmark, another resale startup, is considering an IPO this fall, the Wall Street Journal reported in April. (ThredUp says it has no plans to go public.)
“The opportunity has gotten bigger and bigger every year,” Reinhart says. “The closet of the future…is going to look very different than the closet of today. If you think back 10 years ago when we started, you had none of these direct-to-consumer brands. There was no such thing as rental. There were no subscription companies.
In just these 10 years, we’ve had a radical shift in how people shop and buy apparel. And I think that shift is going to continue.”

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Fashion retail site Poshmark to delay IPO until 2020

 Founded by CEO Manish Chandra, Poshmark provides a marketplace to buy and sell high-end clothes harvested from closets. (Facebook pic)

NEW YORK: Poshmark Inc, an online resale marketplace for second-hand clothing, has delayed plans for an initial public offering until next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Redwood City, California-based company has put off the potential IPO to focus on boosting sales and improving its execution, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.
A representative for Poshmark didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Poshmark had been one of several e-commerce companies looking to go public this year amid a wave of IPOs that included two online retailers in June. The RealReal Inc has fallen about 31% since then while Revolve Group Inc. has risen about 20%.
Founded by Chief Executive Officer Manish Chandra, Poshmark provides a marketplace to buy and sell high-end clothes harvested from closets.
The company, whose website allows shoppers to exchange comments on products, has been at the forefront of the online shopping trend known as “social commerce.”
The company announced in February that tennis champion Serena Williams was joining its board. In June it said it was expanding its marketplace to include home decor.
Poshmark was working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley on IPO slated for as soon as this fall, The Wall Street Journal reported in April.
Representatives for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
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Sunday, September 9, 2018

In China, Even Luxury Goods Authentication Services Are Being Faked

In China, Even Luxury Goods Authentication Services Are Being Faked

A central part of the premise of luxury consignment platform The RealReal is its dedication to ensuring that the Chanel bags, Alaïa frocks, and Manolo mules you are buying are real. The San Francisco-based site touts itself as “the leader in authenticated luxury consignment.” Rival Vestiaire Collective similarly boasts about its grade-A offerings, which are “expertly checked for 100% quality and authenticity.” Even eBay has made inroads in this realm, introducing a network of brand experts to its service in order to verify the authenticity of goods being offered for sale in its marketplace.
Given the rise in demand for authentic second-hand luxury goods, paired with the ever-increasing sophistication of counterfeits (so much so that some fakes are 99 percent identical to the real thing), it should come as little surprise that services dedicated to weeding out the fakes are on the rise. The trend has made its way to China, which is – on one hand – the source of more than half of the world’s counterfeits, as well as full-blown fake Yeezy and Supreme stores.
On the other hand, China is also home to an ever-growing population of big-spending millennials who are not interested in anything but authentic luxury goods and are willing to pay handsomely for

With such a mixed hand at play, Chinese startups are popping up in an attempt to fill an important void: Telling the difference between the real and the fake. As noted by Jing Daily last year, one startup, Zhiduoshao launched an iPhone app in March 2017 to help users authenticate luxury goods. On Zhiduoshao – which means “how much it’s worth” in Chinese – users can upload photos of their luxury goods to the app, and an expert will give his/her feedback as to the authenticity of the product.  
The app’s founder and CEO, Xu Shichen, said that his company is seeing “a rise in authentication demands,” particularly as parts of the Chinese population begin to a exhibit growing acceptance of the second-hand luxury goods market, which is currently popular in first-tier cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, but is spreading to Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen (the big second-tier cities) and beyond.

The rise of the second-hand luxury market has been slow to catch on in China in part because of authentication concerns. As a spokesman for the China Resale Goods Trade Association said in 2016, even well-meaning shops have unknowingly stocked huge selections of counterfeits “due to their inability to authenticate the products.” Yishepai, an online luxury goods authentication platform, revealed that in 2016, only 40 percent of the goods they examined were real.

Maybe unsurprisingly, given China’s position as one of the more problematic global players when it comes to the protection of non-native intellectual property, no small number of the authentication services that are meant to be separating the bona fide luxury goods from the counterfeits are fake, themselves. In many cases, the seemingly authentic sites are copying the names, website layouts, and the imagery of more established authentication services, such as Zhiduoshao.

The scheme runs even deeper, according to China’s state-run China Youth Daily website, with companies offering up sham courses for individuals who would like to be trained as expert authenticators, something of a growing profession in China. The publication revealed this spring that a number of companies have begun offering classes “that promise to teach people to become an expert” in just a matter of days.

Such classes, according to China Youth Daily, are often fraudulent in nature, with Zhang Chen, a luxury bag authenticity expert at the Beijing Price Certification Center, emphasizing, “The process of identifying authentic luxury goods is particularly complicated because it requires a wide range of knowledge and experience.” Chances are, that knowledge takes more than a few days to acquire. 


Monday, September 3, 2018

Trending at TheRealReal

Sartorially speaking, there's nothing quite like that feeling of excitement and satisfaction you get when you manage to score a quality designer piece at a great price. Particularly when that item is trending, about to become huge, or will last you a lifetime.
This season, there are a few items I've been eager to invest in: Think Carrie Bradshaw–style bags (baguettes, embellished shoulder styles, logo-covered picks), not to mention a supple leather jacket, gorgeous slouchy boots, silk scarves, and a posh pair of long gloves (they're trending right now, and they're très sophistiqué).

I did a little digging at one of my favorite luxury consignment stores, The RealReal, to see if I could snag any of the items on my wardrobe wish list for less, and the e-tailer delivered. Scroll to shop the trending items I unearthed, and remember: They disappear quickly, so if you have your heart set on something, scoop it up ASAP!
Christian Dior Embossed Saddle Bag ($1395)
All your favorite fashion influencers are currently donning Dior's classic '90s Saddle bag. They've been all over our Insta feeds, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Manolo Blahnik Suede Pointed-Toe Pumps ($195)
If there's an easy way to take on one of fall's top trends, it's with leopard-print shoes. This Manolo Blahnik pair is such a steal.
Iro Dumontt Leather Moto Jacket ($495)
If you've been on the hunt for the perfect leather jacket that'll last you forever, your search is over. This Iro pick is soft, supple, and versatile.
Fendi Zucca Canvas Shoulder Bag ($425)
Logo is a go this fall! Wear your favorite designer's logo front and center on just about everything (bags, tights, tops—you name it). Chanel your inner Carrie Bradshaw with this chic Fendi shoulder bag.
Escada Long Leather Gloves ($109)
Fall and winter are all about gloves—preferably ones that extend to the elbow and come in practically every color. They may not be iPhone friendly, but they're insanely chic.
Christian Dior J'Adior Slingback Flats ($660)
Pair these work-perfect designer flats with a midi skirt or with cropped jeans.
Louis Vuitton Vernis Rossmore PM Bag ($845)
We're all about adding extra shine to our everyday looks. This gorgeous monogrammed bag is just the way to do it.
Saint Laurent Fringe-Trimmed Ankle Boots ($395)
ICYMI, Western-style boots are trending, and I can't get enough of this stylish studded, fringed pair.

Céline Woven Print Scarf ($75)
Whether wrapped, draped, or tied, this easy accent piece adds interest to any outfit. Silk scarves are one of the biggest accessories for fall.
Opening Ceremony x Gentle Monster Zhora Shield Sunglasses ($195)
These futuristic silhouette will make any outfit instantly cooler.
Escada Embellished Slingback Sandals ($65)
We're obsessed with these "naked" sandals here at the Who What Wear office—especially since they're priced at only $65! The jewel embellishments perfectly exude fall's glitzy metallic trend.
Ben Amun Faux Pearl & Crystal Olivia Chandelier Earrings ($65)
I cannot wait to adorn my lobes with fall's must-have glitzy chandelier earrings. Dress up your jeans and tee with these danglers, or pair them with a trending '80s frock.
Gucci GG Canvas Belt Bag ($695)
Hands-free bags are the accessory du jour. Opt for a belt bag you can wrap over your blazer.
Balenciaga Pointed-Toe Mules ($438)
Fashion girls love Balenciaga's pointed-toe mules, and in my opinion, they're perfect in hot pink (a key shade for fall).
Smythe Wool-Blend Plaid Blazer ($145)
The catwalks were replete with plaid this season, from colorful preppy prints to neutral checks. A plaid blazer may just be the answer to any dressing dilemma.
Earthy brown hues are putting us in the autumnal mood. Scoop these up while they're an extra 30% off.

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