Demystifying Depop: Handmade treasures

Depop is home to beautiful handmade products and cheap finds, but it’s also a home for unethical and unsanitary practices. Photo Submitted by Tessa Wessel

Depop, a platform where people can buy and sell secondhand items, is remarkably similar to Instagram. Depop’s modern interface is a never-ending flood of edited photos that include colorful backgrounds, filters or bright stickers. Users curate a feed aesthetic and seek a specific style when making posts on their page.

Unlike Instagram, though, users don’t just interact with others. They buy and sell items.

Freshman Tessa Wessel started her Depop shop in the summer of 2019.

“I was initially drawn to Depop because of the aesthetic-based nature of the app,” Wessel said.

Wessel is a verified top seller on Depop and sold over 900 items. She sources the items on her store from thrift stores, storage auctions and friends.  

“One of the main goals of my shop, in particular, is sustainability through selling clothes to those who otherwise would’ve purchased them [at a] retail [store],” Wessel said.

Freshman Emma Sullivan sells her used clothes to prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Sullivan joined Depop because a friend of hers found success thanks to the app’s community-based atmosphere, which gives sellers opportunities to connect with customers.

“Most of [the items in my shop] are actually from my own closet,” Sullivan said. “When I came to campus, I felt like I brought too many clothes … so I started selling the clothes I wasn’t wearing.”

It’s common for sellers to post a biography on their account, also known as a “meet the seller” post. Sellers often put social media account handles in their shop biographies.

Georgia State alum Emily M. Getsay and senior Jay Haden co-own a Depop store, selling handmade items.

“If [they’re reselling] at like a skyrocketed amount, I just feel like that’s taking advantage of the system,” Getsay said. “I do feel like I see a lot of folks in thrift stores… buying up all the trendy T-shirts, and then they’re going to be posting them on their Depop.”

Sellers also frequently sell open and used products on Depop.

One Depop user listed two “slightly used” eyeshadow palettes for $1.50 each, plus shipping. The seller did not mention sanitizing the products or taking other precautions.

Another user listed a “rarely used” Naked 3 eyeshadow palette for $20. This price is a discount from the item’s retail price of $54, but the used palette’s real cost may be one’s health. Sharing eye makeup can cause eye infection and spread disease.

Depop’s strong sense of community also creates an atmosphere where creative and handmade items thrive. Getsay and Haden’s shop is home to industrial chains and custom apparel that reflects the queer community.

“My partner and I make everything in my shop. He’s a textile major, and I’m a photography grad, but I also do a lot of metalwork,” Getsay said. “I can make all of our jewelry, but we [collaborate on] all of the apparel together.”

Sellers post handmade items on Depop that one can’t find elsewhere, like stuffed animal backpacks and clay meme earrings.

“Other platforms are definitely different from Depop,” Wessel said. “Unlike other selling apps that focus on just reselling products, Depop has definitely built a community around photography, creating clothing and building certain styles for each shop.”