The rise of a new generation of clothing entrepreneurs

In times gone by children would have done the odd job for their parents, or other adults, in the hope of generating little extra pocket money to indulge their whims. The more entrepreneurial may even have extended this to doing other’s homework or chores. However, technological development has kicked this entrepreneurial spirit into overdrive and bred a new generation of clothing entrepreneurs – some of which may not have even reached their teens. 

Apps such as Depop and Poshmark allow users to buy and sell mainly second hand or vintage clothes to a large online market place. These apps have understandably become big hits with the younger generation, as they offer them an easy way to make money straight from their bedroom, while also providing an opportunity to change style much more cheaply and frequently than was previously possible. 

In particular, Depop has found significant traction with the younger generation. The App is designed as a social shopping platform; a hybrid between both ebay and Instagram. Users develop profile pages that function as digital storefronts, where they post pictures and descriptions of the items for sale, along with their prices. Favourite sellers can be followed and their items viewed as part of a feed, and an Explore function allows user to view items trending in different categories, such as T-shirts or skirts. Posts contain hashtags, similar to Instagram, making it searching for items easier.

For some, these Apps have provided a solid income, and becoming a top seller on Depop or a similar platform can propel a user to fame on YouTube or Instagram. The motivational carrots of monetising their current wardrobe, a potential future career as an influencer, and fame amongst their peers, creates a potent combination encouraging users to engage in significant repeat business.

Gen Z is known for being entrepreneurial, their spending habits and outlook shaped by the experience of seeing their parents and teachers live through recession, rapid technology development and heightened social conscientious. Due to the constantly changing nature of the world surrounding them, the certainty of a future career to support themselves financially feels far more tenuous to Gen Z than it did to millennials. Consequently, the latest generation are far more willing to engage in entrepreneurship rather than relying on a future career to ensure their financial security.

At Polestar we have experience working with a number of technology firms who have developed niche IP, seeking to address a particular market demand, or disrupting traditional business models. We have experience in advising these companies, emphasising the unique IP which allows them to differentiate themselves.

Rachel Swidenbank, vice president of Marketplace at Depop, explained that some sellers can pull in as much as $300,000 a year on Depop and have been able to buy houses and cars before they’ve reached college age.

Marcie Merriman, an expert on Gen Z, explained that unlike millennials, Gen Z is driven out of “perceived financial need” versus “the aspirational or purpose-based pursuits of millennials.” “They are not sure what jobs will be available to them and don’t want to count on others – whether parents or employers – for their livelihood”

By Sandy Ritchie on 17/06/2019