Depop is taking its social media-driven online marketplace to brick-and-mortar retail for the first time.
With a $20 million capital infusion from a Series B funding round led by Octopus Ventures, eight million registered users for its web site, an app that’s become a favorite among young shoppers and $240 million in total merchandise sales last year, Depop cofounder Simon Beckerman has his sights set on expansion.
The first Depop store is opening this week in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles and will be a multiuse space functioning as a company office as well as a shop and a “hub” for the Depop community and local creatives. It will be followed in the coming weeks by another space in New York and possibly another later this year in London, where Depop is based, Beckerman told WWD.
“I thought a store could solve a lot of problems, yes, let’s call them problems, all in one go,” said Beckerman, an Italian-Brit who also founded Retrosuperfuture sunglasses. “First, we needed an office — we want an office in all the major cities where we’re operating — but we had this idea of having an office on the street, a place where we could invite the community to do all sorts of things.”
Now, what was once going to be just an office space will host regular pop-ups for sellers and brands operating on Depop, along with a regular assortment of products, creative exhibitions and tutorials and workshops on things like styling and brand building.
“In general, having a space on the street enables us to be more connected to the Depop community,” Beckerman said.
Depop cofounder and chief executive officer Maria Raga noted that L.A. is the company’s “fastest-growing market so it makes sense” to start with a store there.
“It will be a mix of work desks, a photography studio and a shop,” Raga added. “A truly multifunctional place for our community to come together, learn and share experiences.”
The new capital is also set to help Depop introduce things like video to the platform, as well as personalization and better product suggestions for shoppers with the help of machine learning tools, Beckerman said. He also wants to get Depop up and running in more countries. The app marketplace started in Italy and now operates in the U.K., its biggest market, followed closely by the U.S. Editorial projects, including the possibility of a magazine, are also slated to launch later this year.
Depop started in 2011 as a social shopping network for Pig magazine, another venture cofounded by Beckerman that’s now defunct, where readers could buy, sell, share and recommend items, including those that were featured in the cool glossy, while seeing what each other were buying, sharing and recommending. It’s still free to join Depop and list items, and the company still takes 10 percent of each sale.
“The main idea was to create something much more social,” Beckerman said. “Between running the magazine and the sunglasses, I learned that the fashion world is very referential — I buy something because it was recommended by a friend or an influencer I follow — that’s something Depop introduced and really, we were one of the first.”
Now, with Depop on its own and increasingly popular, especially among a younger crowd that doesn’t see eBay, Etsy or Amazon as a marketplace opportunity for them, Beckerman is aware there could be some bigger decisions on the horizon, including an acquisition or even going public.
“The more independent we can be, the better,” he said. “VCs always come in and they try to have the best return on their investment, so being acquired or an IPO is the best solution [for them], but for us, the goal is to create a sustainable business that can live on its own. But if a big company we admire comes to us and says we’d like to acquire, I would consider it.”
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