@ONEGIRLSJUNKVINTAGE ON HOW TO FUTURE PROOF YOUR SHOP
How do you ensure your brand is future proofed?
‘I never focus on fast fashion fads and temporary trends and instead look for high quality or one-off, timeless pieces that I love and hope others will love too. Stuff you couldn't find in any old high street shop! I do everything I can to build a good relationship and rapport with my customers, I've found those extra little touches really do go such a long way and have helped me create a loyal customer base..’
What are you actively doing right now to make sure your brand is keeps up it's momentum?
‘I try to make my photography and poses eye catching and recognisable so they stand out in a saturated market. I'm also continuing to upload plenty of new pieces and ‘bumping’ my items (when you edit an item to bump it up to the top of the search) even more frequently than before to get more traction to my items and page. I've been spending more time working on my Instagram too. I’m relatively new to social media and it doesn't come very naturally to me yet! I still find it quite scary but I've found that there's a really strong, supportive network of wonderful Deppopers and creatives on there. They lift each other up and encourage each other and that's really beautiful to see. It's a great way to promote your shop, network and to get to know other like-minded individuals! Since going into lockdown, I've also been trying to set more of a routine for myself. I've never really been a ‘routine person’ so this is a new chapter for me! It's been helpful to get more structure in my work life, setting more weekly targets to meet but also planning a little ‘me time’ so I don't go too crazy! A bit crazy is fine though!’
How do you think so many brands stay on top of the game?
‘High-quality stock, a good eye and unique, creative branding but over everything, I think the main thing is a lot of hard work... like a looooooooot! The most successful Depoppers I know are also the hardest working people I know. They have insane working hours and schedules, basically they work their little butts off and it shows! I think also learning to accept failures and view them as a learning curve is a big thing. When you work for yourself, some months are gonna be great but some are gonna be really, really hard and when it gets tough it can be pretty disheartening, you might even feel like maybe it's time to ‘get a real job’ (ew) but I think the brands that make it are the ones who are persistent, really love what they do and just keep on grindin’!’
What makes a Depop shop's popularity dip?
‘A lack of activity definitely makes a shop's popularity dip. I see a decrease in interest and sales when I take just a couple of days off. I think my main tip for any newbie Depoppers would be to just keep at it constantly. Whether it's bumping items, re-uploading items or holding a little flash sale, the more active you are, the more interest your shop's going to get! I think another thing would be not providing a consistent quality of goods or a high level of customer service and top-notch communication. Bad reviews are forever and I don't think it would take too many til’ you see a serious impact on sales. I have frequent, spine chilling nightmares where I get a load of bad feedback. Creepy!’
Do you think it's important to have a running theme on your Depop shop to maintain a trend people recognise?
‘I think it's useful to have at least a vague theme but I don't think you need to pigeon hole yourself too much! I believe it's good to experiment with your brand a little, mix it up occasionally and have fun! Keep to your roots but you may never know if there's an area you can expand to if you don't try anything new! My style has always been rather eclectic though so maybe if vintage sportswear's your jam and you don't care much for floral 60's dresses, stick to what you love and enjoy styling! I think if you do that, a natural theme will develop anyway! However, I would say it's important to avoid certain items to maintain a theme or level of quality. For example, if you're selling vintage and preaching sustainability, you probably want to avoid listing any cheap or poor quality fast fashion items!’
Do you ever 'over organise’? Like in buy in a heap of stock that'll last you a couple of weeks?
‘Yes! All the time! When life was normal (aka, when we weren’t in a pandemic) I'd constantly be on the hunt, rummaging and sifting through rails and mountains of clothes to find hidden gems. If you had asked me about it then, I probably would've complained that my house more closely resembled a vintage thrift shop than a home, but I have to say now I can't go out weekly to source new items, I am very grateful for my stockpiling and hoarding!’
We're talking about future proofing and making sure you're always prepared for what life might throw it's way at your shop? Was One Girl's Junk prepared for lockdown?
‘Ideally, if I had a bigger budget and more space, I would have stocked up even more before lockdown. However, not being able to go out to source stock has opened up some new opportunities for me and forced me to look into new ways to buy stock and new places to find it, which is no bad thing! I think I was more prepared than I realised though, fears of running out of new stock have meant I've started being more resourceful, going through stock I've been sat on for a while and showing it a bit of love which has been great!’
What struggles has your business swallowed during this hard time?
‘My biggest knock was definitely markets and events being closed. I make a large chunk of my income from selling at these and also pick a lot of stock up from similar places so there have been a few weeks where I've had to scrape and save but it has freed up more time to work on my Depop which has been a plus! I was also in the process of starting up my own ‘Night Market’ before lockdown. I had the venue and date booked for my very first event, some sellers and entertainment confirmed and then had to cancel which was a bit of a bummer, more time to plan though I guess! Finding new ways of obtaining stock has also been quite hard. For someone that runs an online shop, I'm a bit of a technophobe so doing everything online is proving to be a slight challenge for me but definitely one I'm up for and it will be a useful skill to learn.’
What have you learnt from becoming a Depopper in isolation that you will take on when normal Depop life comes back?
‘I’ve been focusing on making the most out of what I do have and have given so many clothes a new loving home in the process. Putting more time into styling items and seeing their true value and beauty has been really rewarding and comes back to my core beliefs, that we should re-use what's already here and not add to the problem.With a bit of care and thought, everything can be made into something beautiful! One Girl's Junk n all that... The other thing would be to stop from time to time and appreciate where you've come from and what you've achieved so far. I have a tendency, like everyone that runs a small business I imagine, to only focus on the next target I need to hit or goal I need to set and rarely stop to celebrate the small accomplishments along the way. I guess just not being so hard on myself all the time!
Is there anything else you haven't tried yet that you feel would create a positive effect for future proofing your shop?
‘I’ve started a range of hand painted pieces, combining my love of art with fashion! These will hopefully be available to order soon! This is something I've wanted to do for so long but have never quite got round to or haven't allowed myself the time. Custom, handmade and one-offs are something you can't just replace or find anywhere else so I feel they have a bit more longevity and will always have a demand. My main priority when lockdown’s over is to look for some studio or storage space. At the moment I work from home and after downsizing at the start of last year have considerably limited space! It would be a dream to have a fully stocked stock room and a space purely for work. Having more space would allow me to purchase larger quantities of stock at any given time too so if we ever find ourselves in a pickle like this again, I'll be fully prepared! It's hard to say what the future holds, I think a time like this proves that more than anything! I plan on just working as hard as possible, learning as much as possible and meeting some incredible people along the way!’