By Jacquelynne Poutney
In the modern digital age, it seems that almost anyone can pick up their mobile phone and sell something. In fact, with apps and websites such as eBay, Depop and Etsy, it is now easier than ever. However, is this really a business or just a way to skip those cold Sunday morning car boot sales?
Is the idea of not having to get a business plan together, attend endless meetings in the bank, borrowing money you cannot guarantee to pay back, almost too good to be true? After seeing profiles on various sites listing themselves as ‘vintage boutiques’ and some even saying that ‘depoping’ was their full time job, I thought I would put this to the test and see if it really was possible to make a reasonable amount of money using this method. And, remember, there are no overheads as this is all online!
I decided to head down to the thrift store on Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester City Centre and take advantage of their generous three for £10 offer. I intended to buy the three best possible items to see both how much interest they received and how much people were actually willing to pay. After an hour of hunting through every item in the store, and with the feeling I had just committed daylight robbery, I had my three items.
I tried to photograph the items as well as possible but unfortunately taking on the business venture on my own, I only had my own skills to use in the experiment. I decided I would put the items on for £20 each to begin with to see how well they would do and ensured that I charged the right amount for postage. I was utterly stunned when, within half an hour, someone bought one of my new jumpers and had not tried to barter or even get in contact with me. I had just made £16.50 from doing something I love (shopping) and just by simply taking a picture and pressing a few buttons.
Better yet, this was on the ‘fees free’ weekend Depop were offering at the time (otherwise they charge you rate of 10%)! As you can imagine, after this moment, I had no idea what else to expect, but then I started getting messages such as “Your store is so lovely, you are selling such lovely things!” and “Do you think you will be getting anymore XL items in soon?” So, I think the answer to my earlier question is yes! Thanks to modern technology, anyone can own their own business!
I started replying with positive and rewarding customer service and leaving valuable feedback no longer felt like a hindrance. The beauty is, when I’m shopping for stock I get my retail therapy fix and my only promise is that the items I buy are always something that I would wear myself. This way I guarantee their quality and get to wear the items before they sell and, if they don’t sell at all, they will never go to waste!
Since I started, I have sold many more items and have ventured out of the thrift store for my stock. I currently have plans to open a website of my own in the New Year based on the success I have had with Depop.
If I can do it, anyone can!
Jacquelynne Poutney is a 3rd year English and Sociology student who is passionate about coffee and art and has only recently got into writing.