Maria Raga, CEO of Depop, the fashion resale app, enjoys sporting other human beings’s antique garments, but what to name them? Secondhand? She’s not enamoured with the term. There are connotations. So, although it isn’t always, strictly speaking, respectable Depop logo language, she has landed on a exclusive word. “we say pre-loved!”
“It’s a style marketplace for the next era,” Raga says after which, to clarify, “technology Z!” She is sitting instantly-backed in a convention room at Depop HQ – a converted industrial area in east London – sporting a white shirt passed down via her mother and a pair of floral silk trousers pre-cherished by way of the pop star Lily Allen. Allen is large on Depop. She has 50,000 followers (a fraction of her Instagram count, but each little enables) and an stock of upmarket forged-offs that includes a couple of Iceberg running bottoms (£a hundred and twenty), a Phillip Lim vest top (£seventy five) and a shiny yellow jumper with bell sleeves (£70). However she isn’t large large, because she isn’t always in ownership of the app’s cardinal user characteristic, which is being exceptionally younger.
Precisely why a successful singer-songwriter sells her unwanted clothing on a cellular app is all people’s guess, even though a cynic might endorse it’s a savvy way to attain teenage fans. Depop has more than 15m registered customers, Raga says, of whom “ninety% are 26 or underneath”. A Depop consumer as antique as Allen, who is 34, is rare. In a latest ny mag article, the author Matthew Schneier described Depop as “a siren pitched at a frequency easiest for teenagers and the these days teenage to listen”. It’s been synthetic that way. “The undertaking,” Raga says, earnestly, “is to electricity young, entrepreneurial, innovative people… due to the fact we assume they’re the ones so one can trade the arena.” Of the app’s customers, she explains: “they are in that length of their lives in which they’re figuring out for themselves what they want to do inside the destiny and we need to provide them an possibility. To guide them of their adventure.”
The adventure typically begins in a user’s bed room. “What occurs is they begin promoting clothes from their wardrobes,” Raga says. “They’re quite a whole lot cell natives, in order that they recognise a way to get the ball rolling.” For informal users, this is enough. Depop will pay out pocket money. It’s far the brand new paper spherical. But others appear born to the method, understand the strength and price in sharing their particular tastes with the world, and the adventure maintains. They pillage charity stores. They create inventory. Slowly, they generate a following. After which they start to promote so many objects that, in some cases at least, the gig will become complete-time. Earlier this 12 months, it was suggested that one of the app’s top sellers, Bella McFadden, or @internetgirl, used the app to haul a six-parent earnings. She is 23. She is not the handiest Depop mogul.
“We make it exquisite easy for human beings to begin a enterprise,” Raga says. In this way she believes the app gives a high-quality social service. “We’re teaching. We’re helping people research what it takes to achieve success.” but a warning: “you have to be proficient, you know? This isn’t always some thing anyone may be successful at. You also should have taste. You need to be wonderful creative. And also you need to be obsessed with it.”
Raga joined Depop in 2014, while she changed into 35. “Operations and finance,” she says. “I wasn’t C-suite at the time.” She had been working as a Groupon executive (“whilst it became, like, awesome interesting”), however she’d watched the organization struggle to create a respectable cellular platform, and “it became very apparent that cell changed into the subsequent platform”. She preferred that Depop become mobile-first. And he or she appreciated that it changed into style. In 2016, when the agency’s founding CEO left, she was requested with the aid of the board to take over.
Beneath Raga’s course, Depop has surged remarkably, even though maximum of its growth remains organic – a friend tells a pal, a friend buys from a friend. “In 2018, there has been an 85% year-on-12 months boom in income,” Raga says. Depop takes a 10% cut of each item sold through the app, however does no longer percentage overall sales figures. The business enterprise is now lively in 147 nations and, even though it is situated within the united kingdom, where maximum of its 196 complete-time employees work, its recognition is growing faster within the US, in which Raga has overseen the opening of two bricks-and-mortar shops and the rollout of traditional advertising campaigns. “It’s our key strategy to grow inside the US,” she says. “It’s a bigger market.”
She appears proper to make a push now. Raga does now not see Depop as a risk to the style enterprise, but she does take into account that it is changing. Traditional retail is suffering, she thinks, and rapid style is all however useless. “consumers are realising it’s now not sustainable,” she says, “and the brands recognise as nicely. There are reviews that display that during 5 years resale will be as huge as speedy fashion.”