Authenticity Guarantee

Meet the Authenticators: These Sneakerheads Are Keeping It Real Every Day

Rachel Chen, eBay News Team

Bri Tarantino and Justin Thomas verify the hottest sneakers and handbags at our Authentication Center.

Bri Tarantino credits her uncle for inspiring her love of sneakers and fashion as a child. 

“I was always a sneakers girl,” she said. “I grew up going to Catholic school, so wearing a uniform meant the only thing I could really show off was my shoes. But my uncle was the one who introduced me to basketball culture early on — he took me to my first Boston Celtics game when I was five, and that got me into the sneakers game for real.” 

After working at a sneakers consignment shop for over a year, Bri joined eBay as a sneakers authenticator in 2022. Since then, she’s been promoted and can now be found investigating luxury handbags. As a handbags exceptions lead, Bri inspects bags that are missing order numbers or don’t match their item descriptions, ensuring buyers are getting exactly what they paid for. The promotion has been both the next step forward in her career path and a return to her roots in fashion. 

“I have always been a visual person, always loved fashion,” said Bri. “I studied fashion merchandising in college, and I have a background in styling as well. I’ve always wanted to work behind the scenes. To be customer-focused while also seeing the products before they go to the buyer is a really cool experience.” 

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Pictured: Bri Tarantino. 

As a sneaker authenticator, Justin Thomas’s roots also lie in his childhood love for sneaker culture. He’s always been drawn to the versatility of sneakers and the power they have to bring an outfit together, and since joining eBay, he’s found like-minded sneakerheads to connect with at work. 

“Everyone is eager to learn,” said Justin. “They want to know why this shoe looks like that, who made it, where it came from. The whole community of sneaker authenticators here has the same interests as me, so it just clicked.” 

At only 20 years old, Justin is the youngest authenticator on his team, but often surprises people with his extensive knowledge about sneakers and his attention to details like the individual glue patterns and thread color of each pair of sneakers. Like Bri, his career has also come full circle: Justin started selling shoes on eBay as a teen and joined the authentication center after graduating from high school. Today, he’s authenticated almost all of the shoes he’d once owned. 

“It’s amazing to connect with my childhood days and see the impact I’ve had and how the culture has grown,” he said. “People weren’t into sneakers a few years ago, and now even famous basketball players are buying and selling shoes that pass through my hands.” 

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Pictured: Jannat Chaudry and Justin Thomas. 

Both Bri and Justin love the strong relationships they’ve built with their fellow authenticators, which remain central as they look ahead to their future career growth. 

“I definitely feel very connected within our own community here,” Bri said. “Being a woman in this space, I feel empowered to take up space and interact with products I love — plus, eBay has great career opportunities, from mentoring to courses that accelerate your growth.” 

Justin senses that many of his teammates are eager to help him grow within eBay and explore opportunities to align his personal and professional passions. 

“I just want to continue exploring sneakers and find where I can fit in,” he said, “and I see a future for me here at eBay.”