The CEO of luxury goods reseller The RealReal is defending the company’s authentication process after it was accused of selling counterfeit goods, but she can’t guarantee that 100% of the items sold on the site are real.
“We’re still humans. But I mean, you’re asking me to say do we have .001%? Of course. But that’s not what we focus on,” said CEO Julie Wainwright. “What we focus on is keeping fakes out of the market. Our job is to be the safest place to transact–and we are.”
Wainwright is standing by the company’s authentication process, describing it as “awesome.” This comes after a lawsuit from Chanel, social media posts from fashion experts and a CNBC investigation that raised doubts about The RealReal (REAL)’s thoroughness. The company is putting authenticity at the center of its pitch to customers, saying it reviews every single item on the site, from Birkin bags to Moschino Jackets to Cartier bracelets.
The RealReal invited CNN to one of its product warehouses to see the authentication process in action and meet with some of its authenticators. The company said it rejected more than 4,000 out of 490,000 items in October because of counterfeit concerns.
The RealReal divides goods into high and low risk categories, sending high-risk goods to a team of trained experts who use technology, research and industry knowledge to look for signs that the item could be counterfeit. Most of this work is done without participation from the luxury brands, though on occasion they will communicate to them about questions and many members of the high risk teams have previously worked for luxury companies.
Kevin Ngo, The RealReal’s senior manager of authentication and brand management,