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May Berthelot, fashion influencer standing up to counterfeiting at Vinted

Fashion figure on Instagram, digital law specialist, activist… At 32, the Parisian was chosen by the online used giant to block fakes.

When May Berthelot asked on her Instagram account, she quickly responded: The young woman looks at the messages of her subscribers as soon as possible, even if time is a luxury that she has less and less of in recent months. Shame on this 32-year-old French woman, who dedicated her life precisely to luxury. For those who come across her social media profile, May Berthelot appears as an influencer specializing in designer pieces, their conservation and resale, leading a community of over 164,000 Instagram followers. It’s also a new anti-counterfeit asset for Vinted, France’s most powerful used clothing platform.

In 2022, the Lithuanian firm acquired the expertise of this multidisciplinary lawyer to build and lead its anti-fraud division. It must be said that along with the explosion of the second-hand market, fakes represent an increasing threat. Already in 2018, in an Ifop survey conducted for the Union of Manufacturers (Unifab), 47% of respondents cited peer-to-peer advertising sites as the destination for the most fraud. This prompts platforms to recruit more and more validators and other professionals like May Berthelot. Its hybrid profile, a new type, goes between existing regulations and manuals for the restoration of leather goods. Taking place at the intersection of the quest for more sustainable fashion and the desire to invest in quality pieces, it epitomizes a pivotal period in the relationship between clothing and consumers.

The taste of beauty

At an early age, he received his bachelor’s degree at the age of 16. May Berthello then entered Paris Law School. In fact, he dreams of studying art history and teaching. His craving will be satisfied later. “That’s the approach I’ve decided to take on social media now,” he comments. A young lady is still getting her freshman year before leaving the amphitheatres. May Berthelot, who has always seen her mother carrying bags from major luxury brands, has a taste for beauty. On the advice of a friend, he presents his autobiography at the Louis Vuitton boutique, avenue Montaigne. He spent two months there, sharpening his eye and opening his ears wide. In particular, he notes that sales consultants are in high demand by customers who want to be sure of the authenticity of their pieces. “It all started here.”

Back on campus, the student lays the groundwork for the first informal guide to help consumers spot counterfeits. Barely 20, she sometimes skips school to join a group of retired women with a passion for leather goods who frequent the Drouot auction house in Paris. “Their average age was 84, it was very funny. I’ve had two incredible years with them. And I learned a lot.” May Berthelot is also going. And not just at the Hotel Drouot.

Top-grossing luxury handbags of 2022

early adoption

Then here we are at the dawn of the 2010s and Leboncoin, launched in France in 2006, is on its way to overtaking Ebay in the top 15 most visited sites in the country. May Berthelot alternates between the two platforms to hunt down designer pieces. An approach that was still rare at the time, which made it the language of the language.”technologycalled “pioneer” (early adopter) By experimenting with the use and performance of all these resale sites that are still under development, he has become an expert. To encourage his entrepreneurship, his parents allocated him a budget of 1,500 euros. He uses them in the first investment. “I bought a suitcase from Ebay Japan, brought it to Paris, reprinted it, then resold it. It was bought in New York and I made my first profit.”

The project took shape in 2010 when May Berthelot launched her first fraud detection consultancy calledfinally true“. At the same time, he continued his studies, focused on digital activities and intellectual property rights, “masters. geek, not so popular at the time. In 2012, in her second year, she submitted her autobiography, this time to VideDressing, a fashion resale site launched in 2009. The headquarters are in a small apartment in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, and the legal department is then limited. to one person. The team already knows this, using their online guide. Two years later, at the age of 23, he became the platform’s director of legal and anti-fraud. He will only leave her in 2022 when Vinted knocks on his door.

Inflammatory

Instagram plays a dominant role in his career. To begin with, his account “doesn’t focus on expertise at all.” Released in 2014, it is primarily a showcase of her minimalist outfits. quiet luxury, always decorated with a luxurious accessory. He won paid collaborations with brands. Then the switch operates. “At the beginning of 2019, I was ready to share my knowledge,” May Berthelot recalls. He began distilling his best practices for saving pieces or buying secondhand. He films the maintenance of Louis Vuitton sneakers or the restoration of a Chanel Timeless bag. Passionate, he apprenticed with a cobbler to perfect his craft.

During the first arrest, the number of his subscribers exploded. The French take advantage of the time spent at home to empty their cupboards and enjoy the second day tomorrow. The handmade wave and awareness of the environmental impact of the fashion industry is also increasing interest in the conservation and restoration of wardrobe items. May Berthelot’s explanatory content is finding its audience more than ever. And listening increases. “Luxury has become a safe haven,” analyzes Peclers trend expert Dina Sultan. May Berthelot is one of those new influencers who talk about investment rather than style.

Education and charity

That’s because May Berthelot knows from experience the two main obstacles to buying second hand. In particular, the condition of the parts and the fear of counterfeiting. He also knows that the illegal market is growing on social media. According to a study conducted for Reuters, 20,280 fakers were active on Instagram in October 2021. They are sensitive that their secrets will fall into the wrong hands. he likes to play good friends who you can ask for advice. The influencer advocates an educational approach that is both rigorous and benign. “A lot of people talk about counterfeiting without legitimacy, or, like The Fake Birkin Slayer, do it with a slur. I think that’s dangerous. That’s not how you teach people what’s wrong with their buying behavior.”

Its involvement in the fight against counterfeiting is of interest not only to brands and their subscribers. The young woman is a long-time collaborator of Unifab, an association, educational organization and lobby that protects intellectual property. Its president Delphine Sarfati sees in it “an example of influence”. “He brings us a new perspective, our exchanges allow us to better understand how to appeal to consumers.” His involvement led him to take part in campaigns as a volunteer for Unifab, but also to take up the pen for a fashion magazine. Silhouette or intervene in roundtables and other legal forums to promote responsible consumption.

A challenge named Vinted

The circulation of fake coins is one of Vinted’s problems. When one searches for posts on the platform’s forum on the topic, three thousand posts from members referenced in the past five months alone come up. With a list of more than 80 million users by the end of 2022, according to the online resale site, ad moderation and dispute management are key issues. The Lithuanian company does not communicate on that topic. He will simply trust that May Berthelot’s arrival as anti-counterfeiting director marks an “intention to strengthen. [notre] expertise in this field.”

The task is big. To put this into perspective, the 30-year-old paints her field of activity as divided into three poles, each with a dedicated team: anti-counterfeiting (which includes user policies, features, algorithms), quality (which includes training and knowledge) and external relations (with brands, rights holders, associations). The employer asks her to withhold all strategic details so that the young woman does not reveal more about her position. But one thing is certain, May Berthelot is working hard to fulfill her mission, which she defines as: “Encourage people to consume wisely.”

Source: Le Figaro

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