All you have to do is attach it to a smartphone

Handbag authentication is a tricky, inexact art. Even the best authenticators out there know: brands are constantly changing little things about real bags so they have to constantly be aware of things like changes in a company’s zipper supplier, and counterfeiters get better at copying the real thing every day. Brands have tried everything they can to combat fakes on their end, including microchipping authentic bags, but fakers have a strong profit incentive to keep at it, and there’s demand for their services. Now, a new company called Entrupy wants to make spotting a counterfeit a more straightforward endeavor, according to Bloomberg.

Entrupy’s product is a handheld microscope that can magnify the surface of a bag 260x, and when connected to a smartphone, it can compare a bag in your hands against the company’s database of information about how, say, a Chanel Classic Flap Bag should look at extreme magnification, which can spot telltale signs of counterfeiting that a human authenticator may not be able to see with their own eyes.

Right now, the company has database information on popular styles from 11 big brands, including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel and Gucci. The microscopes can be leased from the brand for an initial fee of $299, with a monthly fee of at least $99, which means that Entrupy’s product is confined to those who deal with handbags professionally: online resellers, designer second-hand shops, and upscale pawn shops. A technological advancement like this is potentially a huge boon to the luxury resale business model; human expert authenticators are few and far between, and their scarcity makes it difficult to grow a business in an arena where shoppers are rightfully skittish about the origins of the products they’re buying. Potentially, electronic authentication can solve that problem.

This is great news for shoppers who want to buy pre-owned bags from a third party, which is increasingly popular, but it doesn’t solve the problem of person-to-person sales on auction sites or online resellers that don’t take possession of a bag from its original owner before listing it. Perhaps, though, if Entrupy’s microscope becomes popular enough, individual sellers will be able to have their bags pre-certified, or buyers can take their bags to a retail location that offers outside authentication via Entrupy to provide themselves with peace of mind or prove cause for a refund.

So, what do you think: would having your bag authenticated via this system help you feel confident in a purchase?

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