The second-hand designer handbag market is growing four times faster than the primary luxury designer market, driven by a growing number of customers looking for value, availability, and sustainability. These products are a natural fit for entrepreneurs and small businesses like consignment shops and boutiques.
Breaking into the business can be challenging for reasons including lack of product knowledge, unfamiliar target consumers, and concerns about authentication, to name only a few. “The luxury resale industry is in a category all its own,” shares Deanna Thompson, the co-founder of Marque Mentor. Recognized as one of the foremost authorities of pre-owned luxury, Thompson is known to the resale industry due to her frequent speaking engagements as well as her published books, Chanel Reference Guide, and The Beginner’s Guide to Luxury Handbag Authentication, Volumes 1-4 and A Beginner’s Guide to Louis Vuitton.
“It’s always been my mission to empower business owners to tap into the luxury resale market,” she shares. The most common topic that business owners approach Deanna about is authenticity. Understanding what factors make a luxury designer handbag authentic and recognizing them is an ongoing concern with good reason since the marketplace is littered with millions of counterfeits relating to brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel.
Thompson offers personalized in-person training events all over the country for business owners who want to maximize their profits while mitigating their risks. Selling counterfeit goods is a bad idea for many reasons. Here are three of the biggest pitfalls:
RISK: If the trademark owner chases you, you can quickly find yourself not only losing assets and investment but your business license as well. According to the US Customs and Border Patrol, “It is illegal to purchase counterfeit goods. Bringing them into the United States may result in civil or criminal penalties and purchasing counterfeit goods often supports criminal activities, such as forced labor or human trafficking.”
PENALTIES: The remedies for trademark counterfeiting under the Lanham Act are much harsher than for traditional trademark infringement. A mere offer to sell counterfeit products can also trigger counterfeiting liability. For example, an individual offered to sell counterfeit jeans and provided a sample to an undercover police officer. Proof of actual production or sale of the jeans wasn’t necessary to prove counterfeiting. You and your business could be in deep legal trouble.
REPUTATION: For small businesses, reputation is everything. Just one customer who ends up buying a fake bag and sharing it to social media or local news outlets could be devastating for a
brand, unraveling years of work done to build a relationship with the community and negatively impacting your business or ending it altogether.
Business leaders can mitigate their exposure to these and other risks by investing in training and technology for their entire team.
ABOUT MARQUE MENTOR: Marque Mentor is a fee-based online platform that provides direct insider access to webinars, an active private moderated online community, and other exclusive content to help members grow their businesses, whether just starting out or looking to scale. Subscribers also gain access to MARQUE’s wholesale program.