Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Interviewing Isabelle Watkins: Depop master

When it comes to reselling, vintage is probably the way to go. I came to this conclusion after interviewing Isabelle Watkins about her experience as a vintage reseller. Isabelle runs a Depop account (check it out here) with her boyfriend Charlie and the two are prepared to dig through every charity shop in the country to find the best items. Since starting in February 2016, their account has amassed 7371 followers and has led to some incredible financial success. During the summer of 2016, Isabelle quit her job that she'd be working at for the past year to focus solely on her Depop shop. In one of those months, Charlie and Isabelle nearly reached a total revenue of £2000 allowing them to pay for holidays, festivals and other fun stuff.  One of the reasons why I think this form of reselling is so appealing is that you can venture out into your local high street whenever you like, have a quick browse through some charity shops and you may find something valuable, you may not, but it's not been too strenuous on your daily routine. This is one of the issues I find with hype brand reselling. When I visited Supreme, I was queueing for roughly 7 hours, on a Thursday morning, in the freezing cold, in London and I walked away with nothing. This makes vintage reselling seem like a nice day out.

<<<< Here are a couple of examples of the sort of items you can find on Isabelle and Charlie's Depop shop.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Vintage and the rise of Depop

Having already discussed ‘hype’ brands (Supreme, Palace, etc) and the pros and cons that come with the experience of reselling such brands, there is an alternative. Vintage, much like any form of fashion, seems to come in and out of trend with little hint as to when it will rise and when it will fall. Currently, vintage clothing is proving very popular amongst young people meaning that you’re almost as likely to see someone wearing a 10-year-old, slightly threadbare jumper as you are a brand new one. This has created a whole new aspect to the experience of reselling and one that’s probably a bit more welcoming.

Where with hype brands you’ll likely have to queue outside a specific store for an eternity to get your hands on something valuable, vintage clothing can be found almost anywhere. You could be looking through some of your parents’ old clothes in the attic one day and come across a retro Reebok jumper that’s definitely seen better days but could shift online for a healthy 20 or 30 pounds, providing it’s not completely ruined. Buyers of vintage clothing will do anything to get their hands on a bargain and won’t mind spending £30 on a tea stained XL jumper just as long as it says Tommy Hilfiger or Polo Sport in big letters on the front. People who resell vintage clothing tend to rinse their local charity shops dry, hunting through the rails hoping to see anything old and in decent condition. Finding that vintage Tommy in a charity shop is like hitting the jackpot for vintage resellers as charity shop prices mean they’ll only be spending a few pounds on purchase but can expect a pretty penny online. Vintage resellers also tend to venture out every couple of weeks to a vintage fair in the hunt for a bargain. It’ll cost you something like £3 to get in but once you’re in, the search for that slightly under-priced gem is on.  

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Trying reselling for myself!

After being inspired by Isabelle and Charlie's vintage reselling success, I was eager to try it for myself. So, I went out into Winton high street in Bournemouth to see what I could find. After browsing through a few charity shops and finding nothing more than old knitted jumpers, worn out slippers and multiple copies of 'Hot Fuzz' on DVD, I started to give up hope. Until I reached The Trussell Trust charity shop. I was sifting through the shirts and went to take one particular one out that I thought looked quite funny, a plain white shirt with a gold sparkly crown on the chest pocket and a printed watch on the right sleeve. I was showing it to my friend who had come shopping with me and he noticed that the writing under the crown said 'Love Moschino'. To my disbelief I checked the labels inside the shirt to discover that I'd found a legitimate Moschino shirt and, after searching online, found that the retail price was £145! (I can't find the original link but click here to see the black version of the shirt on ASOS). The shirt cost me £15 which is really expensive for a charity shop but they must've had an inkling about the true value of the shirt. When I got home I set up my Depop account and with some help from my housemates I listed my first charity shop find. (Check out my account here)

You won't quite be able to see the caption but it reads: "Love Moschino white shirt. RRP was £145. Grab yourself a bargain. Size L. Fits TTS. In great condition, a harsh 8/10 as there is 1 crystal missing on the watch. However this is not noticibale when worn. Please feel free to make me any offers. #supreme #palace#antisocialsocialclub".

I received my offer for the shirt at £40 but I've decided to hold out to see if I can get more. 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

My interview with Brandon Taylor: an insight into middlemanning

On the 20th of December I visited Brandon Taylor at his home in Southampton. At 23, Brandon is a professional middleman as well as a daily vlogger on YouTube and popular figure in the Facebook streetwear turned youth culture group called The Basement (the Facebook group is invite only but you can check out the new and improved website here). It was through this Facebook group that Brandon’s career began.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

An interview with Dr Sue Eccles: consumer behaviour expert

I sat down with Dr Sue Eccles - an expert in consumer behaviour - to find out more about what drives people to buy Supreme, what effect reselling has on brands and whether or not reselling is a good example of young entrepreneurship.

Sue believes that a major contributing factor to the desirability of brands like Supreme is the whole process of making the journey into London and camping overnight. This notion, when added to the exclusivity of these brands, makes them vastly more desirable. Here is a segment from my interview with Sue discussing this topic (I would've made it slightly longer but Blogger only let's you upload 30 second videos...).

We then discussed the impact that reselling has on brands and Sue believes that exclusivity is something that these sorts of brands want to achieve, but because of this, reselling has emerged in full force and could carry some real issues. 

Lastly, I wanted to get Sue's expert opinion on the relationship between reselling and young entrepreneurship. I asked if young people skipping school to make some supposedly legitimate money is a good or bad thing and how seriously it can be taken when thought of as entrepreneurial. Sue said: "It's not entrepreneurial, it's opportunistic" and wasn't entirely convinced that it helps in learning about business but did state that it is a good example of being resourceful and the quick and easy cash means it's not hard to see why it's so attractive. For the full segment on this topic, you'll have to listen to the final doc!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My visit to Supreme

At approximately 9pm on Wednesday the 17th of November I took a trip to London to experience a Supreme restock or ‘drop’ for the first time. I wanted to go on a day which guaranteed a large queue  so opted to go on the highly anticipated winter collaboration with The North Face which was bound to draw in a crowd. I arrived in London at around 11pm and stayed with a friend for as long as I could before venturing into Soho on my own.

Supreme, Soho
I arrived at the Supreme store at 5:30am and noticed roughly 60 people dotted around the surrounding streets, but no one directly outside the store. I was then informed by security that Supreme almost faced closure due to noise complaints as a result of hundreds of people mingling around the area in the early hours of the morning and causing disturbances to the local residents. Because of this, security were told to send away anyone who tried to queue before 8am and if those who have been turned away continue to return, they will be banned from visiting the store on that day. I felt slightly like my time had been wasted coming so early but it gave me a chance to see what it was like for people who used to come and spend multiple hours queueing from very early on. 

A cafe next to Supreme
Next door to Supreme was a small cafe that had been open since before I arrived. Despite being 5:30am on a Thursday morning the cafe was filled with people anticipating the Supreme opening and was so busy that in order to sit down you had to buy something; which inevitably led to me buying copious amounts of tea and coffee. The cafe opens early every Thursday morning as no other day in the week provides such rife business and I was told that before the new 'no early queueing'  rule was implemented, the cafe would see large queues throughout the night, similar to Supreme itself. I'd been in the cafe for around an hour when the bouncers came in to remind those who had been in there for a fair while that anyone seen loitering close to the Supreme store would be banned from visiting the store on that day. So I left and wandered around central London for about 10 minutes before realising how cold it was so sought refuge in the nearest McDonalds. I went back over to Supreme just before 8am and was cautious to revisit too early incase they turned me away. As I got outside the store bang on 8 o'clock I was surprised to see no one outside apart from one bouncer. I thought I'd maybe got the time wrong so I disappeared for about half an hour before returning to the same sight. I asked the bouncer what time people were supposed to start queueing and, much to my dismay, he informed me that the queue had started half an hour ago, but on Hopkins Street two roads down from Peter Street (the road Supreme is on). I walked around the corner to witness a the largest queue of people I'd ever seen.

From the back of the Supreme queue, Hopkins Street
The queue, which snaked from the start of Hopkins Street (round to the left at the end of the road in the picture above) all the way back to the main road, hosted roughly 500 people (that's a complete guess after a poor attempt at a head count from myself) and was kept in order by 4 or 5 bouncers. At the back of the queue I figured there was no chance that I'd get the opportunity to go inside and buy something for myself but I then discovered that Supreme's 'no early queueing' rule was popular with regular Supreme goers and the bouncers had developed a new system whereby one bouncer would walk down the middle of the road and hand out 'tickets' to random areas in the queue so that everyone had an equal chance of getting in. This encourages people to come later as the chance of you getting a ticket is the same whether you arrive at 5am or 10am. This gave me some hope, however, I soon realised that the people getting 'randomly allocated' the tickets for the store seemed very much like the sort of people you'd imagine come regularly and it soon hit me that the chances of me getting a ticket were quite slim. I overheard someone behind me say "he's handing out gold" referring to the bouncer with the tickets which made sense as the most valuable product in the store on that day would retail for £300 but sell online for £700 meaning, in theory, each ticket handed out is like presenting someone with £400.        

About halfway down the queue on Hopkins Street

One of the things that I noticed while queueing at Supreme is that newcomers tend to stick out like a sore thumb and everyone in the queue, whether you come frequently or not, is in a group or with a couple of friends. This made it quite difficult for me to really engage in the experience as I did feel quite a lot like an outsider being there on my own.

In amongst the crowd as a bouncer begins handing out tickets