“It’s a fun and quirky online mall,” says Abby Moon. She’s describing Depop, a mobile marketplace where she sells handmade resin earrings. Her shop, (@satansflowerchild) is grossing $5,000 a month, which is not too shabby for a 17-year-old.
“During the pandemic, I keep selling out, but I’m trying to keep my hours down to eight a day.” Why? “I have to work on my college applications,” she says. She makes her jewelry at her family home in Chicago. The high school senior describes herself as a queer Latinx, Asian artist. She’s saving money to pay for college, to help her parents (both of whom are teachers), and to donate to charity. “I sell my paintings on Etsy, but their fees add up quickly,” Moon says. “Anyway, Depop is a better demographic for me.”
The demographic on Depop is young. Of its 21-million users 90% are age 26 or younger—members of Gen Z, the first all-digital generation. Why is Gen Z drawn to Depop? The most likely answer is the marketplace looks and feels a lot like their favorite social platform: Instagram. The familiar interface makes the app feel intuitive and easy.
A great example of flair on the platform is @zigzaggoods. I reached out to co-shopkeeper Amanda Adam. “Hi!” she messaged back. “We’re mid-20s hunnies out on a photo shoot!” During our chat, I learn that her store partner, Piper Cashman, is also the model for their funky handmade and embellished clothes and shoes. “We have so much fun,” wrote Amanda. “The wilder we get with makeup, poses, and styling, the more recognition.” Do they also like Etsy? “It’s geared towards a different audience.”
“Depop has everything, times 10. Convenience, originality, and a community feel.”
She describes the user experience on Depop this way: “You immerse yourself in a creative realm. It’s a sellers’ lifestyle shown in images.”
In a recent New York Magazine poll teenagers voted Depop the top marketplace for buying resale goods (over Etsy and eBay). If you’re interested in reaching a young demographic, it’s definitely worth a look.
When Instagram and Pinterest launched in 2010, Milan-born entrepreneur and co-founder of PIG magazine, Simon Beckerman, read that designers are better at creating apps than developers. Intrigued, he set out to design a few. One of those apps became Depop.
Beckerman founded the business in Italy in 2011. Spotting bigger, better possibilities in London, he moved the headquarters in 2012. The company saw a meteoric rise in the years to follow. As of now, Depop employs 200 workers across multiple locations including London, Manchester, Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Sydney, Australia.
Depop’s CEO, Maria Raga believes in supporting the growth of young entrepreneurs. “I view my role as more than just running a company. It’s about helping young sellers fulfill their passions, stretch their business skills, and become independent business owners who create fashion trends,” she said in a phone interview last week. Raga also confirmed that some of these young Depop sellers are making six- and seven-figures. One example is Bella McFadden whom Raga terms a super-influencer. She says McFadden, 24, hit $1 million in sales last April with her shop @internetgirl.
“For me, it’s an honor to provide exciting opportunities that empower young people to break down the barriers of exclusivity,” Raga said.
“We encourage our communities to diversify and democratize their narratives. I get to work with smart, talented, creative people who want to change the world. They’re making things better and having fun in the process.”
How to set up a Depop account
Past your 20s? Fear not. Depop has no age limit and getting started is quick and easy, and entirely mobile. First, download the app onto your phone. Fill out a profile, describe your shop, and write a bio. State your policies about returns and if you ship internationally. Then connect to your PayPal account.
Each listing includes up to four photos, one of which can be a video. (Depop was early to include video functionality with listings – this is a new feature for Etsy). Add hashtags to your listing, as you would on Instagram, to increase discoverability. You can also link your social media channels to your Depop shop so customers can check you out elsewhere. Take a look at the Depop seller’s handbook for more tips to make your shop successful.
Depop takes a flat 10% fee on each transaction, including shipping. Like on Etsy, offering free shipping is an enticement for customers to complete their purchases so figure that into your pricing. Depop has a shipping label service, similar to Etsy’s, which you can use to print your shipping labels.
Although the app that began as a peer-to-peer reseller for “pre-loved” goods, it’s morphing into more. Unique crafts items are certainly thriving on Depop. Darcie Lines, 21 (@darciemae) sells handmade polymer clay earrings on the marketplace and earns approximately $2,000 per month. “The only learning curve for me is figuring out costs and hours. It takes time to hand-paint every earring,” she says. “Evenings I spend hours answering messages.”
“Be weird and different,” says Christina Charalyn, 26 (@modmaverick). “Nostalgia is really popular now. Vintage styles from the 1990s and Y2K do great. With styling and accessories, Depop sellers often create new trends months before they happen.”
Amy Kinloch, 21, (@soldance) says, “I taught myself to sew to keep busy at home. When I discovered Depop, I started selling my handmade clothes. The platform made it so easy to gain followers and make sales. Three years and 13,000 followers later, I can’t believe how well it’s going.”
Dorri is a graphic designer, speaker, and award-winning writer. Her work appears in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, and many book anthologies. DorriOlds.com