An essential tenet of The RealReal’s business model is authenticity; clients choose to both sell and buy from The RealReal because of their promise to maintain authentic items that are in preferable condition. Clients must have confidence that the item they are purchasing is authentic in order for this business model to succeed.

In our consumerist society, value is awarded to those with designer items. Many of the most popular designer items are those by which you can identify by just looking at them; Chanel Boy Bags and Louis Vuitton Neverfull bags are status symbols. Experts outline that the market for fake/replica luxury goods is nearly $509 billion globally. In particular, fake Louis Vuitton and Gucci items are imported into major cities such as New York from Hong Kong and other parts of China.

In hot spots for fakes such as Chinatown, the government doesn’t appear to be stopping it. Alarmingly, the OECD says that the global market for counterfeit goods has been growing and accounts for 3.3% of all global trade.

While a consumer may not seek out a replica designer good, it is even harder to tell real from fake when purchasing online. eBay, for example, runs rampant with fakes, many of which are advertised as real (and thus can lead the buyer to give the seller a high price for a knockoff good). Stock photos or photoshopped serial numbers are hard to spot for the untrained eye, so it can be dangerous to buy from any seller or website that does not have a strict authentication process.

Cue TheRealReal! The RealReal goes through every single imaginable step to make sure that every single product listed and sold on the site is authentic. The RealReal stands out from all other luxury consignment sites because every item is in the possession of TRR before it is sold.

On other sites, the seller can list and sell the item as authentic without having any proof. With TRR, every item has to be brought in or shipped to be authenticated and photographed before it can be sold through the platform.

Once items are in the possession of The RealReal, they go through an intense process to guarantee authenticity and quality. The specific findings of the report of each item can be found in their listing for ultimate transparency. Jewelry is probably the most technical, as pieces are examined by both gemologists and horologists.

Horologists are in the business of watches; they make sure that the interior is working perfectly as well as that the exterior is free from any major imperfections. They also check that all serial numbers, weights, and measurements check out as they should. All pieces are also checked for holograms. TRR also tracks trends in counterfeits very closely, as well as the hot trending designer pieces that are likely going to be replicated and sold as authentic on online markets in coming months.

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The time spent on each individual piece varies. TRR must pay particular attention to the high investment pieces such as Hermes Birkins or Rolex watches. They must also pay close attention to popular items that are the most likely to be copied; Louis Vuitton bags, for example. Pieces with bold designer logos are most likely to be copied.

If an item goes through the authentication process and TRR still cannot be absolutely sure that the item is authentic, it will not be listed. If an item is found to be a proven counterfeit, it is destroyed and not returned to the seller. This is to discourage anyone from trying to submit an inauthentic item in the first place.

The RealReal is a clear industry leader when it comes to consigning luxury items. With all of their processes in place, it’s also great that they are able to offer such strong commissions to sellers. Commission increases with expensive or more in demand items, and the company also has a rewards program for those who want to consign many items or plan to consign regularly. With all of this in mind, The RealReal is able to offer accessible luxury consignment at affordable prices; many would argue that the benefit of knowing your pre-loved item is authentic is worth its own praise.

When it comes to purchasing pre loved designer items, you will get your money’s worth by purchasing an authenticated item from TRR. You can also purchase confidently knowing that you can re sell any item that you have purchased on the site when you’re ready for something new.