Importance of Authentication at The RealReal

The online luxury website of The RealReal has a store in SoHo, Manhattan, and it’s there that they have a collection of handbags of a famous brand known as Hermès Birkin. Store associates and a handbag-valuation manager were there to inspect the bags to authenticate if they were real or not. The handbag-valuation manager, Claire DeBoer, confirmed to the employees gathered around that the bags were in fact real. DeBoer passed the bags around for the associates to feel and many of them were amazed by the fact that they were holding something worth ten thousand dollars.

The RealReal’s store in SoHo opened this past November, and it is extremely important for them to make sure that all the products they sell are authenticated. DeBoer advises the employees on how to know if an item, like the handbags for example, are fake or not. She tells them to check on the stitching, and if the leather actually smells like leather. From the collection of Hermès Birkin handbags that they inspected, only two of them turned out to be fakes.

Julie Wainwright founded The RealReal back in 2011, and prior to that she was the CEO of Reel.com, a video retailer, and of Pets.com. With this secondhand luxury business, Wainwright decided it would be best to call in experts so that the company can deliver real products to its customers instead of cheap knockoffs. Such experts she hired were brand authenticators, horologists, gemologists, and art curators who are known as The RealReal Experts. Buyers can expect to receive top quality items from this company even if the products were previously owned.

Wainwright got the idea to create The RealReal after she and her friend went to a boutique shop, where her friend then bought secondhand designer items. Wainwright researched the market of secondhand luxury, and after a few troubles at starting up, she was finally able to rent a warehouse where soon it became filled with employees and a growing business. Offices are now located in San Francisco and New York, and just last year the company made over a hundred and seventy million dollars in venture capital.

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