How Depop Has Work to Elevate An Entire Generation

Lynn Seah

As Gen Z seeks financial independence, creative freedom and boundless community, there’s no denying that Depop has emerged as saving grace - allowing creators to create, connect and earn in one environment.

A study done recently gave a fascinating insight into the minds of the soon-to-be working demographic: Gen Z. The two key findings discuss how this generation  “considers themselves the hardest-working generation, yet won’t tolerate being forced to work when they don’t want to.”

This comes as no surprise, being that this is a generation bursting with creativity and ideas that can be brought to life with current digital platforms and tools. Perhaps the reason for the difference in Gen Z’s pursuits and their predecessors lies in the feasibility of career choices that once never existed.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a staggering rise in the number of remote and digital freelance job opportunities. Whether it’s new job types that have become ideal career choices (blogger, YouTuber, UX Designer) or new methods of entrepreneurship (online business owner, digital advertiser), it’s undeniable that Gen Z has a much wider range of options to choose from outside of traditional jobs. And with financial independence as their highest priority, Gen Z is infatuated with these lucrative options that give them control over their professional journeys.

Among the sea of Gen Z’s most prized digital platforms stands Depop, a digital marketplace for buyers and sellers to interact and explore. In recent years, there’s been a resurgence and popularization of buying second-hand. Aligning with the young generation’s key values of environmentalism (recycling) and expressing their individuality, Depop has become a force to reckon with. Founded in 2011, Depop is a platform that hosts more than 30 million users globally, and 90% of its user-base is comprised of Gen Z. With a layout mimicking Instagram’s social media feed, and the ability to easily communicate and “like” items, Depop transforms traditional online marketplaces like E-bay and Amazon into a social media-like hybrid that feels much more personal and unique. Founded on the idea of trading with friends, the platform feels much more akin to trading clothing items with your fashionable friends than it does purchasing from a faceless buyer.

With Gen Z being a generation of go-getters, Depop serves as the ideal platform for them to make additional income. Instead of a traditional part-time job — the likes of being a barista or washing cars, Depop is seen by many as a convenient and enjoyable alternative. The app has been fulfilling Gen Z’s independent and entrepreneurial spirits, driving them to start seeing the platform as a legitimate means of income. Whether it’s earning extra cash to fund trips abroad, having the extra money in their pockets, or even taking their passion project to the next level of professionalism, Depop is a gateway for an entire generation’s financial independence.

Some users have been reported to earn upwards of more than $10,000 a month through their Depop sales alone. A few years ago, Forbes published an article that made an interesting point about how Depop was less about the brand, and more about the “styling,” encouraging young entrepreneurs “to source, style, or design products that fit their own specific niche, be that vintage or streetwear.” Unlike the traditional framework of the fashion industry with economic red tape and slim accessibility, Depop is an instantaneous, mobile experience that offers opportunities for all sorts of designers and entrepreneurs of unique styles to appeal to multiple niche audiences.

Even fashion’s Vogue acknowledged the designers on the platform, including ORIENS, who has gone on to serve superstar clientele in the likes of SZA. Others have even created small fashion empires following the success and fame they accumulated on Depop. The platform has created a space for minorities to create pieces that focus on incorporating their own cultural aesthetic for colors, designs, sizes, and shapes that suit often overlooked audiences.

For the adventurous, fun-loving Gen Zer, Depop reframes the idea of “work” by merging both work and leisure, and removing the need to work tirelessly in a 9–5 job. The platform gives its Gen Z users the ability to pursue their own interests and lifestyle choices, creating individual work-life balances that accommodate their personal needs. It also removes the necessity of taking the traditional route of earning a college degree in order to attain financial stability, especially during recessionary times like the present, where high school and college dropout rates have never been higher.

Success on Depop offers Gen Z a fallback and a sense of financial confidence during difficult financial periods. More importantly, it gives young adults a chance to get their feet wet by providing real experiences where they can begin to understand the ins and outs of business and budgeting.

Lynn Seah
Lynn is a rising Senior at Syracuse University majoring in Advertising with a minor in German. She is currently a Lunch and Learn intern at The Advertising Club of New York and a G.R.O.W.T.H. Initiative Fellow at 100 Roses from Concrete.
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