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Authenticity Report of 2023 and What to Expect in 2024

Authenticity Report of 2023 and What to Expect in 2024

Authenticity remains the single most important thing for me and everyone fighting the good fight. Lots happened in the way of authenticity in 2023 and I want to talk about it. 

This blog will be my report on everything from the good, the bad and certainly the ugly regarding authenticity and counterfeit in the past year. Part of my direction with Bags for Breakfast is providing educational content on authenticity. In the future I would love to offer a masterclass info session on authentication. I was taught all about authenticity through practical apprenticeship in France, and I'd like to one day be able to offer the same to the bag lover community, the future generation of bag lovers and aspiring business owners. 

Now let's get into it. I want to start on a positive note and continue on the topic of education. One of the best things to happen this year in terms of education and awareness is an Instagram account that emerged called The Fake Birkin Slayer. I have two articles already written on The Fake Birkin Slayer for a more in depth reference. Their account, run by a small group of Hermes handbag collectors took Instagram by storm, gaining close to 100k followers in less than a week. Their account, although only having two posts, spreads information via their stories on exposing the dangers of counterfeit items, as well as reposting photos of influencers holding alleged inauthentic bags, asking one simple question, "where did you get this bag?" The anonymous slayer gained immense attention and controversy, but I believe it is one of the highlights of my 2023 authenticity agenda. It is to my knowledge and experience the first time something of this nature has ever happened, authentic bags getting the voice and platform needed. 

Next on the list I have some stats that I'd like to go over that are utterly shocking. These stats were curated by Entrupy, but I just want to go over the ones that really stood out to me. 

Just to begin, the counterfeit industry, and it is an industry, is a TRILLION dollar industry. In 2023, it's estimated that only 29% of counterfeit handbags sold were seized amounting to 972 million dollars. While that number alone sounds like a big chunk of seized fake bags, this is not enough. Pennies on the dollar compared to what is being distributed and bought everyday.

Now that you have some context of the scale we're fighting against, let me get into the part that is most concerning to me. Gen Z is driving this right now. 

They are the future, and here are their stats. There was a survey conducted where 15-24 year olds were asked about their opinion on counterfeit and this is what was found: 

50.7% were either indifferent or not concerned with the issue of counterfeits.

43.6% of those asked aged 18-29 had bought a fake product and knew they were buying a fake product.

This is where it really gets shocking 

74% of those who had made counterfeit purchases were satisfied with their purchase. They were happy with the fake. 

And not only that, 20% also responded that they would buy a counterfeit product again if it were worth a quarter of the original brand’s product.

This is utterly shocking news. 

In 2023 I did not think that these would be the numbers the good fighters are up against. 

Part of what I want from my work to be is catering to the future generation of fashion lovers, making designer handbags more accessible and providing a range of affordable options as well as ultra luxury. Seeing this stat makes me want to work hard to turn this reality around.

This is why it is so important to purchase from a registered online reseller like myself. I am a registered business and my bags are found from reliable sources that I have built personal relationships with whether it be a consignor, other industry professionals, or boutiques that I have a personal history of transacting with. 

My job is to eliminate the uncertainty that comes with shopping online for pre-loved handbags. Selling counterfeit handbags is illegal. 

The biggest take away from this past year is that while of course there are large seemingly trusted platforms where individuals can sell bags on, it is the wild wild west and widely unregulated. Counterfeiters quickly infiltrate these platforms, establishing multiple accounts across sites and do these three major things: 

Create accounts that imitate or imply association with well-known brands to redirect you to illegitimate sites.

Use “hidden links” in external listings and posts to advertise sale of counterfeits via seemingly real listings on legitimate marketplaces. 

And guess what else they do, they use influencers. Yes, you heard me. They use influencers to endorse their fake bags, and this is incredibly dangerous. 

When social media influencers endorse a product, 35% of consumers believe the influencer has personally evaluated the product, which is not necessarily true. And 30% believe it must be safe to use. Which is also not necessarily true.

Nearly the majority of all consumers are more likely to buy products if influencers recommend them, and young consumers are the most susceptible to influencer marketing.

The problem is the average age consumers begin to want to purchase designer handbags is 15 years old which is far younger than previous generations. And of course with ease of accessibility, and not being educated on the numerous dangers of counterfeit products results in Gen Z shoppers having no problem or moral compass whatsoever in terms of purchasing "dupes" aka fakes. And boy do they love showing off how "good" they find their dupes are. 

I just want to reinstate the value of real genuine luxury and show that it can be accessible and eliminate the unreliable sources before they can have a negative impact on the future gen. 

In other news, Louis Vuitton has lost it's crown as the most counterfeited brand, and it has been topped by Goyard, specifically the St. Louis model with it's recognizable goyardine print. This is the single most important example and proof of the influencer/Gen Z phenomenon.

Goyard had always been a more inconspicuous, lesser known brand compared to the ever popular Louis Vuitton. But guess what happened, the viral quiet luxury trend happened, and Louis Vuitton was deemed not quiet luxury by gen Z, but found Goyard fit the mold. All of a sudden, the St. Louis was popping up everywhere and extremely widely coveted. Now, Goyard is not mass produced on the scale Louis Vuitton is, and the brand still values hand-painted detail and craftsmanship by artisans and are just not equipped nor would likely want to compromise on their values to fill the influx of demand. So what happened next is the demand was filled by counterfeiters, fakes, dupes, whatever you want to call them, it's all the same. Now because Goyard was never previously an immensely popular brand, there is not a lot of data in an AI authentication database like Entrupy, and this is how Goyard all of a sudden became the most unidentified and counterfeited brand worldwide. 

The only good piece of news I can see out of this is that the Goyard fakes right now are super unsophisticated. But this won't last for long, the caliber of super fakes will continue to rise and this is now just another model for these criminals to perfect.

I think this has become quite a long blog at this point, but I will be doing a part two because this reflection is incomplete without discussing solutions on how to combat this reality. 

To wrap it up I would like to end by saying thank you for making it this far with me. I am approaching celebrating one year of Bags for Breakfast, and I have learned a lot. But what I learnt most of all, is to keep fighting the good fight. There will always be good people to support you and I love my clients and everyone I've met along the way. I have had so many ups, downs, detours, road blocks, readjustments, but through it all I still aspire to establish my way as a trusted re-commerce boutique and I am so grateful for everyone who has believed in me, and this year will be so grand.

Stay tuned for part two!



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