Along with his team of 35, they smell the real from the fake, an industry worth billions.
“There’s no textbook on how to spot a fake and it’s often a game of cat and mouse,” Low said.
authenticity is everything
The Melbourne founder said his own personal experience of being scammed led him to start the business in 2017.
Low was previously scammed after buying $500 worth of a rare pair of sneakers from a seller in a Facebook group, which turned out to be fake.
“I didn’t think it would happen to me, until it happened,” Low told nine.com.au.
“The seller had a legitimate Facebook profile, but when I tried to get a refund, he instantly blocked me.
“It was a really frustrating experience.
“I talked to my friends and was shocked when they said almost everyone who buys sneakers on social media will eventually run into a scammer, including them.”
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After that experience, the 31-year-old quit his job as a pharmacist and launched the Secret Sneaker Store.
The outlet now protects customers from buying fake sneakers online.
“Everything we sell is guaranteed,” Low said.
“The store operates on a consignment business model where we sell sneakers on behalf of people who are lucky enough to get their hands on these coveted ‘sneakers.’
“We screen each seller for their track record within our sneaker community network, which itself weeds out people selling counterfeits.
“They can bring the shoe to one of our four locations, we agree on a price and put it on the shelf. When it sells, we take a commission and the owner pays the rest.”
‘Scammers are everywhere’
Low said it was “almost impossible” to purchase limited release items due to ‘Sneaker Botters’ tactics and the “proliferation of counterfeits circulating online”.
He said that Sneaker Botters was known for using technology to skip the ‘online queue’ and buy items in demand.
“Sneaker lovers dictate how much these limited-edition sneakers sell for,” he said.
“Unless you have special software that bypasses the systems put in place by the online stores that sell these rare shoes, it’s almost impossible to buy these shoes at the recommended retail price.
“On top of this, there are so many fakes going around the world, when you buy shoes from unverified online marketplaces, you’re rolling the dice and you could be buying a fake.”
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Low said the fake sneakers often look like the real thing, but said the materials and workmanship were inferior.
He said most came from unregulated factories with inhumane labor practices.
“Everything we resell goes through a rigorous authentication process, labeling the shoes with our tamper-proof authenticity label to mark them as legitimate,” he said.
“It’s a constant battle against scammers for us.”
Since opening five years ago, the store has authenticated more than 100,000 pairs of limited-edition sneakers.
The store is also on track to bill $20 million in the next 12 months.