Depop is a UK-based social app that lets you buy and sell items – think eBay, but with an artistic and more user-friendly twist.
With Depop you can discover style, sell and socialise on the go – something that’s proved popular with Millenials and fashion blogger types in particular.
The app lets users upload pictures of items they want to sell to their profile, while building a feed with products they want to buy.
Items can then be purchased directly through the app and Depop takes care of the transaction via PayPal – in the last year alone, downloads of the app have reached 1.8 million.
Depop is growing rapidly in Europe and they’ve recently hired the former general manager of Reddit, Erik Martin, to run its US operation. They’ve also secured an investment of $8m (£5m) from Balderton Capital and Holtzbrinck Ventures.
Artefact sat down with Depop founder, Simon Beckerman, in his Shoreditch office to talk Italian inspiration, the app’s stylistic image and global goals.
Where did the Depop idea come from?
I came across an article about designers who make apps instead of developers, as to make an app requires design skills. I began to design some apps for fun and one of them was Depop. The concept for the app was initially a shop for the PIG magazine I worked for in Italy and we would sell everything featured in the magazine. Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter launched the same year, and they all had the same look which was a very good structure to follow.
How does Depop differentiate from other competitors?
If we’re talking about eBay, I see them as what we would like to be. We would like to be the modern and new version of eBay. If eBay were to be born today, I think it would resemble Depop. I think the uniqueness of Depop is that it’s a very modern version of a marketplace, and differentiates from the others because we are trying to create a very cool community.
I find the app allows you to have fun with it and show off your creative personality. Is that how you envisioned it to be?
Yes, the ideas you create on your profile allow you to create the definition of yourself, through another social network. The idea is that Depop is your own shop in your pocket, like our slogan, so wherever you go, your little shop, your boutique follows you. So you should have your shop as pretty as possible, as if you had a real one.
The style of the pictures are very particular. The items are often against a white background in a bloggers style. Are you happy with this style of images across Depop?
We push Depop a lot to be like that, because users should infuse their personality into their profile. If you try and put some of yourself inside it, then it tells a story. I can see the character of a person by the pictures they are making.
Depop is a platform for upcoming designers to showcase and sell their work. Do you feel like you are helping people to achieve their goals?
Not enough. But that’s because Depop is new. We have one designer who is selling more, called Katie Eary and she embraced the app immediately, but I would like to help people a lot more. The thing is we don’t have enough people here but we have so much to do.
Have your goals for Depop changed since you first started?
No. Initially, the goal was to aim for young designers, cool collectors, small shops and little brands. But we discovered this world of girls who want to sell their whole wardrobe and I didn’t imagine there would be such a need for that. Ebay is complicated, long and if you want to sell something for £5 it just doesn’t work. So having Depop as a social marketplace with a chat is better and all the girls love it. In 2015, we’re concentrating on this market, which is something we didn’t do enough of last year.
Are there any plans to expand the Depop brand into a website or are you happy to keep it to the current platforms?
We are working on a website now, which is going to be mad when you see it. A graphic designer called Piotr in Milan has created it. As we like unconventional things we wanted to really push the limits with this. We’ll see.
You also have offices in Italy and New York. Would you like Depop to expand even further than this?
Within a couple of months we will start to launch activities in the US and this is the country we are aiming for in 2015. If the US goes well, the goal is to launch in other countries like China, Brazil, Russia and India, but first the US is where we need credibility.
Did you expect Depop to become as successful as it is?
When I did the business plan, I nailed it randomly which I never expected. The blogger Chiara Ferragni started blogging about us and she is now a shareholder of Depop and our first official ambassador.
What advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Go for it. There’s no limit. People think things are too difficult, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you have an idea, learn how to make it. If you have the enthusiasm and ambition, you can learn how to do it all. Like Nike say: just do it.
Photography by: Sara Furlanetto