Today we are sharing a case study from two brothers, Ch Daniel (23) and Ch David (18) who co-founded an online service called LegitCheck that generates over $200 000 in annual revenue. Legit Check is an authentication service that helps to inform people whether their luxury items are fake or real. They deal with luxury items like sneakers, bags, watches, clothing pieces, collectibles, and more.
The service has grown from 0 to 7 000 000 unique users in 3 years. It has helped people to recover thousands of dollars in cash backs and refunds from scams and its reports have been even used in courts to retrieve money for a bag worth $12 000.
In this article, we are sharing the journey of these two brothers, from how they launched the service, how they monetized it, and how they were able to grow and achieve success at a young age.
Daniel admits that this project didn’t start as a business, everything started in 2017 when he was 19 years old and learning how to code simple mobile apps and websites. He coded a simple project that would have a menu of different sneakers and it would have a guide that tells ways to differentiate a fake pair and a real pair.
"It was so basic: literally a ‘glorified bookmark folder’ into an app. I made some menus for selecting a sneaker → selecting a colorway → selecting a ‘tells’ (= a way to tell a fake from a real item) → load a page with product guides that I had hosted on chdaniel.com.
Kinda embarrassing, but yes, my personal website.", Daniel says.
Daniel eventually published the app and launched it via Reddit and it got a nice reception, however, he didn't take it seriously and thought it would be a one-time project.
The users kept growing from 0 to 350 000 users in just 16 months, organically.
Monetizing the Service
It was until April 2019, when Daniel had approximately 350 000 users and he got a clear picture of what to do with the project. He was receiving about 3 to10 emails per day, from random people asking him for help to check their items if they were real or fake. Some people were just lazy not to read the guides but asked for authentication help directly via emails. Daniel kept helping them for free, but eventually, he realized that he couldn’t reply to all of them.
He felt like these people were getting a priority service for free which in turn was making him burn out. That was the moment when he decided to monetize the service of him checking for the authenticity of the items sent to him via email. His plan was to reinvest that money he’d get into creating a SaaS platform that would do it in a scalable manner.
At this point, he involved his young brother David who was 15 years old at that time and his work was to help him reply to the authenticity check requests that were coming in via emails.
"This felt really scary, as he was so young and I thought "maybe it’s too much to ask of him, to act and think like an adult in front of strangers, online, and in English, a language that was not native to him. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, I now realize, looking back — a 15-year-old younger brother of mine has been my role model for breaking conventions. And if you’d ask him today, he’ll be humble about it."
After getting a few funds from the email requests, he went on to build and set up the website in May 2019. He was charging between $20 to $50 for each check depending on the product. Astonishingly, he got his first order before even launching the site.
"Our first $20.00 came before we even went live!! We briefly added only one link on the website.
From all the guides, there was only ONE path to buy this service. Not plastered on every page, not on an annoying pop-up. Nope, we just tested it in one place, as we were still setting things up, and wanted to see (prematurely) what would happen."
Shortly after this purchase happened, Daniel took the site down to complete the setup and when it finally went live, more orders started to pour in:
All he had to do, alongside his brother, was to check the products and reply to the emails with a message explaining if the item is real or fake and the reasons why. Daniel says:
"That felt like a mixed bag. Exhilarating, thrilling, but the fear of the unknown kicked in. A teen (15) and an almost-teen (21) getting packs of $20 from strangers. In exchange for just a message."
The Business Workflow
At first, the entire process was a bit complex for the customers. The customers had to buy the $20 service, then forward the $20 payment email to Daniel. Then they’d have to send the email with pictures of their items, and after all that, that’s when they would get the response from Daniel or David.
"It was like — who does that? Who pays and then has to make sure they put in the title “AUTHENTICATION SERVICE” in the email subject(not something else, careful!).
But later on, I made this website, which is actually the one that is live today. I thought: we really need to look like a trustworthy business!"
In October 2019, Daniel put up a new proper website that looked legit and trustworthy enough. It had a proper domain name and an ordering process whereby the users would upload the images of their items at the checkout stage which made the whole process easier. The website is more like an e-commerce site where orders can be placed and the user makes a checkout with the description of the items he wants to be checked and their pictures. Daniel explains:
"Everything is handled via the ‘add order notes’ function of our system. We write our message there, it gets added to that formatted email, people get the fruit of our service."
He also set up proper branding and redesigned the emails which made everything look much better.
Emails after rebranding
Customer Acquisition Strategy
Daniel’s customer acquisition strategy was clear and direct. His customers would come from his mobile app that had the item/ product authenticity check guides. At the end of each guide, he placed the link to the online service that offers to check the authenticity of the product for the reader.
These guides get between 300 000 to 400 000 unique visitors per month. And a percentage of that traffic makes the orders to have their items checked, which amounts to revenues of over $200 000 per year.
Daniel admits that he feels like they got lucky in the sense that they discovered a format that worked. On some days, he feels like they've invented a mini-industry because their efforts have attracted competitors.
He says that he felt a little lucky when it came to certain areas but he still had to build more on the luck to get to where he is. These are the areas that he feels made him get a bit luckier and the ways he improved by building on the luck:
When a Customer’s Product Is Proven to Be Fake
When the customers’ products are proven to be fake, the website Legitcheck.app gives them a certificate that they can use to ask for a refund or chargeback from their Paypal or credit card service. The certificate looks like this.
Currently, many popular credit card companies in America trust the certificate from Legit Check, which is a big achievement by Daniel and David.
Plans for the Future
After being successful at a young age, the Ch brothers have the following plans for their projects:
The story of these two guys is wonderful and has been worth sharing, so we hope that you have learned a thing or two from their journey. If you want to learn more, you can simply check them out on their YouTube channel.