Sixteen years ago when Ebay was new and Kate Spade was just starting out, I fell victim to buying a fake bag on this new and exciting shopping platform. I will always remember how cheated I felt. I was a new mom and at the time and every penny counted. So when I found a cute little Kate Spade “Sam” bag (the “it bag” at the time) I thought, “Wow this is a good deal. Too good to be true!” I made the purchase, sent a money order to the seller (PayPal hadn’t been invented yet) and waited for my bag to arrive.
Well, it was indeed too good to be true. What arrived was a cheaply made replica and clearly not authentic. It wasn’t even the bag pictured in the photo on Ebay. Even the Kate Spade label was glued on crooked! Ugh.
This experience sits with me to this day. When we get in a counterfeit good at Found and have to break the bad news to its owner I try and remember how I felt. It’s not fun at all. It’s embarrassing even.
When I set out to start Found I knew I wanted to be the gold standard in resale and authenticity was a huge part of that. Most importantly, I felt St. John’s deserved that from me.
Found’s reputation was (and still is!) everything to me and allowing in fakes and “inspired by” items would cheapen the brand I was creating. Plus it’s illegal so why start off on the wrong foot? I was new to St. John’s and consignment was a new concept to many. Building trust was important and authenticity was key on so many levels and for so many reasons.
When I set out to start Found I knew I wanted to be the gold standard in resale and authenticity was a huge part of that.
To educate myself in the early days I would stay up researching brands online. Reading blogs like PurseForum was my nightly ritual. Learning how to authenticate is more complicated than you think! I trust myself with several brands now but if I ever don’t trust myself (I’m looking at you Prada) I’m not afraid to ask for help.
Since Found opened in late 2011 there has been an explosion of 3rd party authentication services. Most are online and provide a 24-48 hour turnaround and are very reliable. They will authenticate everything from bags to shoes, jewelry and clothing. I use several to this day when unsure. If you ever need a recommendation from us on a service let us know. We trust several and most are open for use to the public - not just resale professionals.
In 2018, Found joined Entrupy and we are now able to do onsite, instant authentications for most luxury brand bags and accessories. I have supported this company since their research and development days and can’t sing their praises enough. Entrupy is a hand-held scanning device that gives my staff and me the ability to instantly tell if a bag is real or fake on a microscopic level. Science and fashion have come together and its pretty darn cool.
With Entrupy we are now able to provide documentation to the owner or potential buyers on the spot. It’s a total game changer in my book and was worth the investment. Entrupy financially backs their authentications 100% as well. It gives Found an extra level of confidence and security to pass on to our customers when they’re considering purchasing a luxury good from us. We take it that seriously.
Entrupy recently released their first report on counterfeit goods called, “The State of the Fake” which you can check out here entrupy.com/state-of-the-fake/ It's worth a read.
I addition to authentication I knew I wanted to educate people on why counterfeit goods are dangerous and what it supports. If you knew where your money was going when you buy one of these fakes I think you’d think twice. If you knew where and how these items are made I know you’d think twice.
Carrying a bag made by forced child labour isn’t my idea of luxury. Monies from the sale of these bags generally supports organized crime and terrorist activities. For real!
So next time you’re on vacation and think its cool to go to one of these “backroom” shops for bags please think twice about what you’re doing. It's not fun or exciting. It’s dangerous.
Instead why not treat yourself to a real bag, purchased secondhand, from a reputable reseller like Found? It takes some homework and will be more expensive than a cheap knockoff, but being mindful in the end is so worth it. You’re worth it. It feels so much better to carry the real deal.
For more information about counterfeit goods here is a great link to “Facts on Fakes” from an organization I’m proud to be a part of: narts.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3313
If you ever have questions regarding the authenticity of a bag you own please contact Found. Using Entrupy we can immediately tell you on the spot and we only charge a small fee if it’s fake or you decide to NOT consign an authentic item with us. If you do consign with us we waive the $20 fee. (higher for Hermes and some Chanel)
Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!