June 21, 2022

True to You, True to Us

Dave Chaplin

StockX EU

Every day, StockX authenticators examine thousands of products. For StockX Day, we chatted with two authenticators to learn more about their job and why they continue doing what they do best.

Every day, StockX authenticators examine thousands of products. For StockX Day, we chatted with two authenticators to learn more about their job and why they continue doing what they do best.

When StockX launched in 2016, we set out to solve a prevalent problem within the sneaker community: counterfeits. Fake products continue to circulate the market and the numbers are only growing, as NC State University has researched, the amount of fakes in the market has increased from “$30B in the 1980s, and now exceed[ing] $600B in trade” in 2022 alone. And with sneakers being one of the biggest counterfeited products fueling the market, alongside luxury goods like handbags and watches, at StockX we make sure to stop fakes from getting into the hands of our customers. Every day, StockX authenticators examine thousands of products, ranging from sneakers to electronics, ensuring the quality of each item is top tier for our buyers. We chatted with two key authenticators from our Detroit Ops centre to learn more about the ins and outs of their job and why they continue doing what they do best.

Being an authenticator was once a niche job. For people like Justin Mupas, who is now one of StockX’s most experienced authenticators, finding this unique job was a dream come true. “Being a sneakerhead and collecting sneakers for years prior to becoming an authenticator attracted me to this position,” says Mupas. “It seems rare that someone could take a hobby and passion, such as sneakers, and turn it into a career.” One can find similar stories from most of our authenticators at StockX, as many are now able to mix their passion for sneakers, streetwear, handbags, and other collectible products, with a full-time job. 

StockX Sneaker Authenticator Justin Mupas going in-depth on how we authenticate the Air Jordan 1 Patent Bred.

Some have even been authenticating products independently since before StockX was founded. Ryan Burke, Team Captain for authentication and Quality Assurance at StockX, has been authenticating sneakers for over a decade, ever since he discovered his love for footwear. “I’ve been in the sneaker game since 2011, so when I would purchase shoes I would look for what I knew to look for,” says Burke. “StockX really gave me the tools to take my authentication skills to the next level.” And being an authenticator at StockX helps develop their skills even further, as both Mupas and Burke say they’ve each looked at over 100,000 sneakers since they started. 

When it comes to authenticating goods in the day-to-day, authenticators utilize their years of knowledge and experience with products and put them into practice. For Mupas, who’s been in the sneaker game for years, his approach is looking “at the overall quality of the sneaker – the build, the structure, the stitching. All the way down to the box and accessories, making sure it’s up to brand standards.” Our authenticators don’t just look for fake products, but also look at the quality of the item. From sneakers to electronics, details including the box, the make and model of the product, and the extra accessories that come with it, all must be intact to pass authentication on StockX. 

Justin Mupas and Ryan Burke are just two of the more than 300 authenticators across 11 authentication centres worldwide. As StockX has a 99.96% authentication accuracy rate, customers can have faith that the items they purchase are authenticated by people deeply rooted in the communities that amplify these products. Just like any sneakerhead, both Mupas and Burke get a kick out of spending their time around sneakers. For Burke, it’s about Nike SB. “I’ve been wearing Nike SBs as long as I can remember and looking at the different shoes brings back so many memories,” he says. While for Mupas, being around old and rare pairs makes the job even that more worthwhile. “I do enjoy authenticating older and rare sneakers that don’t come through our authentication Center on a regular basis,” Mupas says. “Being an authenticator keeps my passion for sneakers going.”

For a more hands-on look at what goes into our authentication process, check out the video of our very own Justin Mupas showing the ins and outs of authenticating the Air Jordan 1 Patent Bred.