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How to make money on Depop, a clothing resale app popular with Gen-Z

Three of Depop's top sellers explain how they make money from reselling clothes and how you can too.

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Courtesy of: Depop

When you click on 23-year-old Lyuu's Depop shop, you'll see a collection of pink, black, red and white gothic and vintage clothing — from a designer Dior bag that costs nearly two grand to an original Lyuu magenta crop top for under 30 bucks. 

Lyuu first started selling clothing on Depop in 2018 to pay for her college tuition. Her side hustle would evolve into a full-time career during the pandemic. Despite graduating with a degree in cognitive science in 2020, Lyuu now makes her living remaking and reselling vintage designer items from brands like Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior.

She is now a top seller (a status that indicates your store has hit certain monthly sales targets and has a high average rating) on the social shopping platform Depop where people sell everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewelry.

While Lyuu wasn't comfortable sharing how much money she makes from Depop, she's quick to note that she makes enough money to have paid off two years of college tuition and more than she would have as a an entry-level research assistant. 

Though most Depop sellers aren't top sellers, Lyuu is just one of the more than 30 million users on the platform. Depop exists among a plethora of other resell, e-commerce and shopping platforms such as Etsy and Poshmark. Depop, however, is distinct from other resell platforms because of its popularity among Gen-Zers: 90% of its users are under the age of 26

It's obvious why Depop is popular among young people. It doubles as a resale and social media platform where sellers and buyers can DM one another, like items and follow one another. In June 2021, Etsy saw potential in the burgeoning platform and purchased it for more than $1.6 billion.

Allison Yeo, a 22-year-old in Sacramento and another top seller, uses Depop to supplement the income they make as an engineer, selling mostly cotton, silk and linen blouses and sweaters they find at local thrift stores. From Yeo's Depop shop, which they describe as having a cottagecore (think florals, flowy silhouettes and greenery) and light and dark academia (think tweed pants, plaid and blazers) aesthetic, they make between $1,500 and $2,500 a month.

While becoming a top seller on Depop like Lyuu and Yeo, is difficult, it's easy for anyone to post a listing of their unworn denim jacket or thrifted floral Hawaiian shirt on the platform. 

How to get started selling on Depop

Selling on Depop is simple: all you'll need is a phone and a Paypal account. The app is available in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store and you can open an account for free (there is a web version of Depop but the app has more functionality). You'll also need to create Paypal account in order to receive payments for the items you sell.

While Depop doesn't charge you for having account, they do take a cut out of each transaction. Depop collects a 10% fee for each item sold on the platform. On top of that, payments processor Paypal takes an additional 2.9% and $0.20 per transaction.

Mary Milk, another top seller who has been selling clothing on Depop full time for four years, recommends finding a 'unique edge' for your shop — one that makes your store different from others, whether that be in the items you sell or how you style your photos.

"It's important to keep a sense of yourself in your shop, because if you create that niche people are going to constantly come back for that," Yeo said.

It's also important for sellers to be attuned to what buyers want. For Lyuu, this means regularly buying Vivienne Westwood and early 2000s Dior items as well as remaking some of her custom designs. 

When it comes to finding items, Milk, Lyuu and Yeo all purchase second hand items from thrift stores. Yeo seeks out natural fibers when they go thrifting while Lyuu looks for clothing that she can repair.

As a seller, you'll have the option of either paying for shipping yourself or charging the buyer for shipping. However, the caveat is that items are more likely to sell if you offer free shipping: Depop claims that your item may be up to 60% more likely to sell if you cover the costs of shipping. 

Yeo charges her buyers shipping because she believes that businesses should be compensated for the labor, materials and costs that go into shipping items. 

If you choose to offer free shipping, you'll have to build in that cost plus the fees taken by Depop and Paypal. For example, if you think your item is worth $20, shipping could cost $7, the Depop and Paypal fee would be around $2.80, so you'd up with $10 in net revenue, and that doesn't even include what you paid to acquire the item. In order to account for these costs, you may want to price your item at $30.

Lastly, Yeo and Milk recommend being consistent by adding new listings and updating them every day. When you update your listings, you edit one aspect of it, whether that be the price, the hashtags or the description. By doing so, you'll bump your listing to the top of relevant search results on the app which makes it more likely that someone will see your item.

I opened a Depop account this summer and it took me around three weeks to sell my first item — a pair of skinny Levi's jeans. Each day I would update my listings, like other people's items and follow other sellers, so I would appear active on the app.

Sure enough, it paid off: I've sold nine items since June, from a pair of old overalls that I outgrew to a beige crop top that I crocheted. Shipping, packing and taking photographs for listings is a bit of a hassle, but it's nice to have made a few extra bucks by selling clothing that would have sat unworn in my closet otherwise.

Regardless of whether your intention is to start selling clothing as a full-time career or to get rid of some of the items that have been cluttering your wardrobe, Depop is an easy way to start reselling clothes and bring in a little extra income.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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