As consumers become more familiar with e-commerce and mobile shopping, the option and ability to make money online is getting increasingly accessible. Over the years, investors continue to pour millions into online resale and marketplace startups, including Poshmark, ThredUp, which raised a round of $81 million in 2015, and The RealReal, which recently raised another $40 million and aims to go IPO next. In January, Vestiaire Collective, based in Europe, was also funded $62 million in hopes to keep up with its U.S. competitors. And as online marketplaces continue to gain popularity, businesses are also shifting their focus into menswear as well, leading to successful launches like Grailed.
Now, there's a new wave of on-the-rise, hip online marketplaces and resale sites to join, shop and sell your stuff. Some have found a niche in offering affordable artwork, while others focus their efforts beyond commerce in order to create a community both on- and offline. Read on to learn more about Depop, Tictail, Vinted and Witchsy.
When Simon Beckerman originally came up with the idea of Depop in 2011, he was designing an e-commerce app for his fashion and lifestyle magazine in Italy to offer the items featured for purchase online. Its format is similar to Instagram with a minimally designed feed that's updated once products are available. Eventually, it clicked for him: "If I transformed this so anyone can buy and sell, then this could be a really powerful new kind of marketplace," says Beckerman. Once he added the selling element, Depop was launched in Italy, followed by the UK and the U.S.
When it comes to sellers, Beckerman focused on creatives — stylists, designers, up-and-coming brands, vintage collectors, sneaker collectors and more. "We did it knowing that these kind of creative people are who others would want to aspire to be or be with," says Beckerman. "Depop is a platform for where people can come and be inspired by all of this creativity." Indeed, the sellers on Depop range from stylish influencers, like Chiara Ferragni and Luka Sabbat to internet famous eccentrics, such as Internet Girl's Bella McFadden and Brooke Candy.
Co-founder and CEO Carl Waldekranz's idea of Tictail came from his mother, an artist who wanted to switch gears in her career at the age of 63 by creating — and selling — a kitchenware series of porcelain pieces. While helping her build e-commerce for her business, Waldekranz realized that he could create a platform that would provide the sales and marketing tools for a new wave of entrepreneurs. "Over the next six months, my co-founder and I would meet up every weekend and use my mother as the archetype small business and shape the company around her," says Waldekranz. Tictail launched in 2012 and later expanded to the U.S. in 2014 with its biggest seller category being fashion and jewelry, followed by home decor, art and furniture.
"A lot of people peg us down as a tech startup and that always saddens me. Tictail is more of a movement and community of sorts," says Waldekranz. "Our mission is to empower the self-made entrepreneur to build a global brand." The steps that Tictail has taken to accomplish this so far includes opening a brick-and-mortar location on the Lower East Side, not too far from its New York City HQ, as well as creating seasonal lookbooks featuring a selection of its sellers' emerging brands. During the end of January, Tictail hosted its own alternative event in support of Stockholm Fashion Week. "We don't think about this as a channel-specific company," adds Waldekranz. "We are a community. We should exist in every medium."
Though Vinted launched in Lithuania way back in 2008, the peer-to-peer online marketplace often compared to Poshmark launched in the U.S. almost four years ago in 2013. With over 2.5 million users based in America alone, Vinted boasts a generally younger audience. "These are mostly teenagers or students," says Operations Manager Aistė Sobutienė. "They really saw the practical side of it, deal hunting and the search for very unique items." Vinted's offerings run the gamut, from fast fashion and contemporary brands to one-of-a-kind vintage garments.
But it's the social aspect that sets Vinted apart according to Sobutienė. The site hosts a plethora of forums, where users, also known as "Vinties," can chat with each other about literally anything — recipes, life advice, swapping/selling tips and embarrassing stories or questions. (Don't worry, the last one lets you post anonymously.) Sobutienė says that they also arrange their own contests and giveaways within these forums. Members increase their chances (entries) at winning through "bumps," likes, comments, tags and even purchasing from the organizer's Vinted shop.
With Witchsy, artist Penelope Gazin and musician Kate Dwyer aim to create an online marketplace for artists to truly make money off of their work — and without any censorship. The Los Angeles-based website's mission stems from Gazin's own experience as a seller for a certain big-name online marketplace. "They were constantly shutting my shop down because my work showed nipples," says Gazin. "I didn't have an income for a week and it was very frustrating."
Witchsy launched over the summer of 2016 and since then, nearly 200 handpicked artists are selling their items online, from lapel pins, patches and prints to T-shirts, zines and home decor. Once an artist gets the approval of Gazin and Dwyer to be offered on the site, the artist gets right to work by posting their own shop listings, like a smoking pipe shaped like a pizza slice or a sign that's cross-stiched with the phrase "Shitty Adult," as well as managing each sale.
"We take a very small commission fee to keep the site going because we genuinely want our artists to make a living from making their art," says Dwyer. Both she and Gazin also help artists with producing their work for commerce, such as introducing them to manufacturing facilities. "We hook them up with the right people and they start to get the ball rolling," says Gazin.