Marque Mentor by Deanna Thompson x Her-Age
Her-Age team has interviewed Deanna Thompson, founder of Marque Mentor, which is dedicated to educating and supporting Luxury Resale Beginners and Business Owners on everything about Authentication and more.
Can you tell us about yourself, what motivated you to become a luxury authenticator? and what motivated you to create Marque Mentor?Deanna Thompson: While it may look that way from the outside, I don't really consider myself an authenticator. What I do is educate. I find the truth and share it through various means. Whether it's what a real vs fake Louis Vuitton heat stamp looks like or what types of hardware Chanel uses, sharing that information educates buyers and sellers to make informed decisions with their products.
There will always be a counterfeit market and buyers for those products. The issue is when a seller tries to pass a fake as authentic and the sheer lack of education in the market is what drives me to learn more everyday and share that knowledge.
I previously worked at Entrupy and loved (and still do) the technology that they have created to authenticate luxury handbags, but it got to a point where I felt I had done all I could do there and the pull of wanting to focus on the education side of the industry was greater. I made the move to Marque Luxury in February 2020, right before the world shut down due to Covid-19. Quentin Caruana, the co-founder and I had several conversations in the past about what was missing in the luxury resale industry and how the timing was perfect to launch Marque Mentor. With more people at home, we could build something that we could really make an impact with, and in the summer of 2020 we launched the Mentor program.
I was fortunate in that I was given the reins to build out the Mentor program how I wanted to, so I did. I built it the way that I would have wanted it when I started out with my first luxury resale company, by offering support and guidance on all aspects of building a business. From picking a name and logo, to sourcing product and shipping, these are all parts of a business that you need to focus on, and having someone that is available seven days a week, who has previous experience to answer your questions is key to yours success.
How and why did you decide to share your knowledge with others?Deanna Thompson: When I launched Closet Full Of Cash in 2015, I wanted to create a space that was dedicated to the luxury resale industry. Where I could highlight and bring attention to smaller businesses and people who were making bold moves along with becoming a hub for the news in this industry. One email changed the trajectory of everything.
A woman reached out after being sold a fake Chanel necklace (which I verified) and the buyer refused to refund her money; harassing and threatening her. She found Closet Full Of Cash and asked if I could help her to confirm the authenticity of lei and try and get her money back. After a little research, I knew it was fake and wrote a post about the dangers of shopping off Instagram. From that post more and more women reached out to me, scammed by this same seller and this was when I realized that the educational component in this industry was missing.
This is when I started researching, building databases of authentic and counterfeit images, and realized that this is what I wanted to do, educate people.
In your view, popularity of vintage has been on the rise as of now, is it because of inflated prices on brand new pieces? Or is there any different reason?Deanna Thompson: Pricing will always be a factor but in the last couple of years, with price hike after price hike, the manufacturing process is not keeping up with the price. If you're paying almost $ 10,000 for a handbag, you expect it to be perfect. Sustainability is also a huge driver for people to search out pre-owned bags.
Louis Vuitton bags made 20 years ago are not the same as the ones in today's market. Whether it's better materials, a stronger manufacturing and quality control process, the strength of pre-owned bags outweighs the current cost and sometimes quality of newer bags.
In your opinion, what drives a person to buy vintage and second-hand and, why is authenticating it important?Deanna Thompson: Price, style and sustainability. Those are the three key market drivers for pre-owned luxury. Take the Louis Vuitton Speedy 30. In 2010 it sold for $ 690 and in 2022, the price is now $ 1,550 and with tax, you're looking at around $ 1,700.
Now a quick search in the resale market for that same bag in varying degrees of condition will run $ 500 and up. By purchasing pre-owned, we have saved money, have been kinder to the environment and because it's pre-owned, we know there will not be any quality control issues, so it will last.
Does authentication help the quantity of fakes to decrease in the fashion market?Deanna Thompson: Unfortunately, no. There is a massive segment in the luxury resale industry that is driven by counterfeits and will continue to thrive as the brands increase prices.
What are your future plans with Marque Mentor?Deanna Thompson: Our plans for Marque Mentor are to continue to grow our community of new and established business owners who are looking for support and education from people they can trust with no ulterior motives. Creating more online courses on authentication, writing more brand specific books, and holding in-person authentication training is the future for this industry.
MARQUE MENTOR | Co-Founder and Advisor Intro of Deanna Thompson - Authentication