Photo by Nikki Haslet.
Have you heard the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Well, as Gen-Z and millennials created a surge in popularity of sustainable shopping methods like thrifting and using resale platforms such as Depop, Thredup and Poshmark in recent years, the phrase rings absolutely true.
Having only ever purchased from a few online sellers on Depop myself, I can attest to this idea as there is a certain novelty in finding something you admire that someone else wants to give away, especially if the pieces are of high quality and durability. Plus, if you try to make a conscious effort to support small businesses, it’s nice to advertise a seller’s shop when asked where something you’re wearing is from, instead of naming fast fashion brands like SHEIN that are historically unethical and unsustainable.
A year ago, I decided to finally make a Depop account and purchased this beautiful, vintage long-line leather jacket from seller @kemzia, all without knowing how the experience was going to go. After many eBay horror stories from friends and family, I was skeptical as to what I was actually purchasing, but to my amazement, her customer service skills and level of professionalism went above and beyond my expectations. Not only did I receive my order within two days after purchasing because the seller paid for express shipping, but my order came in perfect condition and I received a small handwritten note and pearl necklace as an included gift for orders over $50. Although these may seem like small gestures to some, the level of customer service and intimacy of a small business-to-consumer relationship stayed with me for a long time after our initial interaction.
Recently, I contacted @kemzia — Kemlem Asitimbay, to be exact — to talk about her experiences as a Depop seller, from her initial startup to incoming plans for the future of her store. Here’s what she had to say:
When did you start your Depop account and what made you want to join the platform?
K: I started my Depop account during quarantine to create another source of income. My grandma used to sell clothing back in the late 90s and early 2000s and has plenty of inventory left. I decided to start modeling them and styling them to sell on Depop.
What does a typical day of work for your Depop store look like?
K: On a typical day of work, I check any new fashion trends and look at any inspiration from other Depop sellers. I check messages from customers and provide them with the information they need.
What are some challenges, if any, about the process of modeling and selling clothing online that consumers may not be aware of?
K: A challenge when selling clothing online is dealing with random scam messages daily. Another challenge is balancing out my time for my shop, school and work.
Are you currently running your store full-time, or do you work a separate job and run your shop on the side?
K: Currently, I’m in college full-time and work-part time and run my shop on the side.
Seeing as you currently reside in New York, do you know approximately which states customers are buying from you the most?
K: The states that customers are buying from me the most are New York, California and Texas.
A positive take away from my experience with you being my first Depop seller to purchase from was that not only do you pay for the express shipping, but you also include a free necklace for purchases over $50 and a handwritten thank-you note. Is there any specific reason you choose to include these kinds of gestures in buyers’ purchases?
K: I genuinely appreciate anyone who purchases from my store. My goal is to make my buyers feel appreciated as well.
Do you find this to be an effective business tactic so that people will come back to buy from your store?
K: Yes, I believe being genuine is the best effective business tactic.
Who are some of your favorite Depop sellers, and what kinds of clothing/styles do you gravitate towards as a shopper?
K: My favorite Depop sellers are @brigwillis and @originaltote. I usually gravitate to 90s preppy and model-off-duty look
Are there any fashion trends you are currently into?
K: Right now for Fall 2021, I’m more into vests, skirts and faux leather.
As a seller, what do you believe has helped you in gaining the following you now currently have?
K: Having a professional interaction with buyers and having good quality content helped me gain the following I have.
Are there any tips you might have for those who want to start becoming clothing sellers?
K: My first tip is to do your research. Check what other sellers are selling and fashion trends for that season. Purchase a few items you can style and have a consistent photo background. A white background and natural lighting would do the trick. Lastly, be genuine in what you post. Buyers despise insincere sellers that sell items from fast-brand clothing companies and label them as vintage.
Do you plan on continuing your Depop shop in 2022?
K: Yes, I want to rebrand my shop with hand-made designs by me!
Currently, Kemlem is planning to rebrand her store, “making minimalistic [clothing] that accentuates every body type.” She will be selling a limited quantity of each of the nine items expected to drop next year.
If you’d like to check out Kemlem’s store, be sure to visit her shop @kemzia for more trendy, high-quality pieces and for her exciting rebrand coming in 2022!
Nikki Haslett is a fifth-year English Writing major with a minor in journalism. NH890081@wcupa.edu