After doing a quick search for Brighton here on eBay, I am surprised by how many items are fakes or are intentionally misrepresented. I used to work for Brighton and own many pieces, so I would consider myself an expert. This is aimed as a buyer's guide (I have never sold on ebay, only purchased), but I did revise this with some tips for sellers at the end.
- 1. KNOW THE REAL before you spend your hard earned money.
I have seen "Brighton inspired" items at well-known retail stores (accurately labeled, of course), so, if possible, go to an official Brighton store to become familiar with their unique hardware. Brighton hardware is HEAVY
, made of a metal alloy (nickel, zinc or brass based) that is "lavishly dipped" in silver and then lacquered to prevent tarnishing. This HEAVY
(and I cannot stress the weight enough) alloy is used because pure silver is quite soft and is an unsuitable material to be a structural part of a handbag. If the silver looks (or feels) flimsy, or is too shiny- the item is fake.
Brighton rings are the only items that are Sterling Silver. The good news is that once you know what real Brighon hardware looks and feels like, you will probably be able to tell from the eBay photo if an item is real, and will not likely be fooled . (2/7/08 you can see close-up pictures of current Brighton purses and shoes at Zappos)
- 2. Independent Brighton retailers are bound by contract to sell items at full price unless given permission by the company.
Shoes are purchased directly from the company at 40% of the list price, all other items are purchased at 55%. If anyone claims to be selling a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS item for a deeper discount than this, beware.
Go to Brighton's website to find prices for similar items. BRAND NEW WITH TAGS items can be exchanged at company stores, so there is no incentive for anyone to sell such an item for such a low price. If a store owner cannot sell an item (due to unpopularity, overstock, etc), the company will take it back. No Brighton retailers would risk losing their license to sell Brighton in their store by selling excess items on eBay
This contract is also why your friendly neighborhood Brighton store owner will NOT give you a discount no matter how much he values you as a customer: he is not allowed. Really. Brighton has a very LOW profit margin- anyone who has owned Brighton knows that they use the highest quality leathers, and that the final product is comparable to High-end luxury items costing hundreds more. Again, please do not pester a Brighton retailer to give you a discount- he signed a contract promising not to
(keep in mind, they have to use this narrow profit margin to pay their store's rent and utilities, and to pay their employees and themselves)
- 3. Brighton coin purses with little heart shaped photo holders are not sold in stores.
They are free gifts
from the company sent to customer after they register their new purses. Sellers are calling them "Sheffield"
coin purses or "Sheffield" credit card holders. The zippered compartment IS NOT large enough to hold a credit card
, though one could fit in the open part in front. They are lovely, and are of high quality. My complaint is with sellers who describe them as brand new WITHOUT tags, tacitly implying that they HAD tags (and a retail value) at one time. They did not- they were free
. You should not pay more than $3 shipping, anything over that is the seller trying to inflate the price of the item. By all means, buy them if you wish, but know that the the seller is making a 100% profit.
- 4. ALL Brighton purses (with the exception of their retired "One World" collection) have the same hanging charm.
It is a HEAVY
open heart with the word Brighton inscribed on one side. Go to their company website to see what they look like. If the hanging charm does not look like those pictured on the corporate website, it's a fake. I did see one fake purse with a real charm on it. This is where you need to be careful- if the silver hardware on the purse looks MUCH shinier than the silver on the charm (which is obvious in a photograph), and you have never seen the hardware on the purse in the store, ask questions
- 5. Finally what angered me enough to write this:
- people are getting REAL Brighton TINS and selling COUNTERFEIT jewelry in them
- or, selling Brighton-like bracelets (possibly from a dollar-store) for Brighton charms!
- Note that no actual Brighton jewelry is being sold.
Read the item description CAREFULLY and make sure the seller isn't just leading you to think the item is Brighton.
Many of these are cleverly worded with the intention to deceive
you ("Genuine Brighton tin with Earrings"
or "Genuine Brighton Tin + Bracelet for Charms")
Make sure the description states that the jewelry is Brighton. If the item is described as "brand new with tags" look for the seller to tell you the NAME of the item- all Brighton items are named or are part of a named collection (Emma zip-top, Penelope Heart, Mariposa, etc). Unless the item is guaranteed to be authentic, contact the seller. Feedback cannot be trusted
with these items- many buyers do not realize that they have purchased counterfeit jewelry because the item arrived in a genuine Brighton tin.
- FYI 1: Honest people selling a few previously-owned purses, organizers or other leather goods may sincerely not know the name of the item; if you like something, and it looks legit to you, go for it. It is the people selling huge quantities of new JEWELRY who should state the names.
- FYI 2: I have received a few inquiries from honest sellers asking me to look-up the names of individual items in my old retail catalogs. I would if I could, but it would be a full time job. My recommendations to seller are as follows:
- 1. If you don't know the name of your purse, don't worry. Take as many pictures as you can. If you have lots detailed photos, potential buyers will know that your items are real.
- 2. When cleaning your Brighton item to sell, do not try to polish the silver parts, as this will ruin the lacquer.
- 3. If you are selling "brighton-inspired" items or free gifts, just say so!
I hope this helps you when buying online (please vote "yes"
if you feel this guide has contained helpful buying information).
Good night and good luck (shopping),