‘I’ve made £40,000 so far’: We spoke to the students making thousands on Depop

Leeds Uni even gave one student a year off because her Depop shop was doing so well

Unless you have rich parents, a sugar daddy or a trust fund, to get through uni you’re going to need a side hustle. So what will it be? Bar staff? Retail assistant? Drug dealer? Student ambassador? Or, maybe even a Depop seller?

We spoke to four student Depopers about how they make money on the side at uni. With profits reaching the tens of thousands, these students sell everything from handmade festival gear, vintage finds and limited edition trainers to fund their pub crawls, holidays and even turn their shops into fully-fledged businesses.

So, if you’d rather avoid the grey area of student side hustles and the long hours of waitressing, here’s some top tips from student Depoppers about how to rake in the £££s:

Millie, Leeds, Fashion Design with Enterprise

@milliejaneuk, selling handmade festival clothing and swimwear.

Why did you start selling on Depop?

I started properly selling on Depop during my first year of uni when I had maxed out on my overdraft. As I study fashion design I had my own sewing machine and knew how to sew. I first started selling bandeau tops as they are easy to make and were really popular at the time, then slowly introduced more styles and fabrics. I didn’t intentionally mean to start a business but my Depop page grew in popularity fairly quickly and it was good money so I carried it on.

Via Instagram: @milliejaneuk

How much money did you make on average?

Since starting I have made a total net profit of around £40,000 to date.

Have you found it hard to balance your studies and run a Depop store?

I found it quite hard during my second year to balance everything, and it was my uni work which ended up suffering. However, for my third year, I managed to get a Year in Enterprise which meant that I had the support from the Leeds University Business School to take a year out and grow my business.

Do you use any other platforms to sell things? 

Depop was my main selling platform for around a year and a half, but I’ve now created my own website to avoid Depop fees and to make my brand more professional. My clothing is also stocked on silkfred.com which is an online retailer that stocks independent brands. I currently don’t really use Depop unless I have some sample stock which I will post on there.

Alex, Exeter, BSc Medical Sciences

@StudentStyle, selling good quality, second-hand menswear. Usually, things that Alex would want to wear but don’t fit him. Think reliable, well-made classics like Levi’s jeans or vintage outdoor brands. 

Why did you start selling on Depop?

I set up my account five years ago to clear out my wardrobe and raise money for travelling. Since then I’ve begun doing most of my clothes shopping second-hand. I come across loads of great pieces that don’t fit me and always think how much people are missing out by buying brand new. Second-hand can be fantastic quality, unique and also fights against fast fashion. I decided to relaunch my account to bridge that gap for people. 

How much money do you make on average?

During the holidays I make enough to fund travelling. I don’t actively sell during term-time, but most weeks somebody buys something that I uploaded during the holiday and that’s the pub covered for that week. It’s not just about making money though, it’s got a lot to do with giving the clothes a longer life and also the fun of predicting and sourcing what people want to buy. It puts no pressure on my studies and provides a steady trickle of pocket money.

Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own store or make more money?

There’s a lot of noise on Depop, so the easiest way to sell more is to stand out and win people’s trust. I think quality is key in building trust with your customers: quality items, quality photos and quality service.  I stick to three rules:

  1. I find quality clothing that people can enjoy wearing and will last
  2. I take the clearest photo I can. This not only makes the clothing look great but also shows any marks on the clothing that might be important for the customer to see before they buy
  3. Finally, I keep it as friendly and good value as possible. I accept most customers’ offers, wrap their item nicely, post it the next morning and leave them positive feedback.

What’s the worst review you’ve had and why?

Hmm…what do you think? Blue or green?

Green trousers guy. I sold a pair of BLUE trousers to this guy. Three days later I got a message from him complaining that they were green.  I suggested that if they had indeed undergone a miraculous transformation in pigmentation, perhaps it had something to do with the green tissue paper I had carefully wrapped them in. He wasn’t impressed (but was still reasonable enough to give me three stars).  Perhaps I should have done the right thing and diagnosed him with colour blindness there and then. David, if you’re still out there, I’m sorry to break it to you like this.

Zoiya, Manchester Met, Law

@vintage_aesthetic_vibesselling handmade earrings, pre-owned clothes and shoes, stationery, cute items, KPOP merchandise, craft pieces, law books and other miscellaneous items.

How much effort does it take to sell things on it? Is there much prep?

When you first start, it takes a lot of effort to get your store name out there. You have to have an accurate description that matches your item and need to take good quality pictures to attract your customers. 

How much money did you make on average? 

I actually don’t know the exact amount but it’s enough to pay for my expenses.

Was it hard to balance your studies and run a Depop store?

Yes, it was honestly really challenging and I had to take a few breaks throughout the year to focus on my studies. Honestly being a student and Depoper is stressful. But since student finance is not enough of a support, Depop is an additional source of income you need.

Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own store? 

Best tip I could give is having good communication between yourself and your customer. From the moment they ask about the item, till the moment it has arrived, it is important to keep in contact with them so if anything goes wrong the situation is easier to handle.

Stefan, Royal Holloway, Economics

@Luxsneakersuk, mainly selling limited edition sneakers, for example: Yeezy’s, Off-white trainers and high fashion trainers such as Valentino Runners, Balenciaga’s and Chanel runners.

Why did you start selling on Depop?

Originally it was through my love for trainers, I then realised I could use it as an extra source of income. I didn’t want to have the pressure of working part-time whilst studying and let it affect my uni work so this seemed perfect. I found selling on Depop and other platforms could make me an extra income without taking away from my studies. 

How much money did you make on average?

It does vary massively, there could be months when I generate almost 0 profit, for various reasons. Whether that is due to university work taking over or their just not being many releases. Then there are months where I have generated profits of £2,500, it really is dependent on what is going on during that month. 

Do you use any other platforms other than Depop to sell things? 

Instagram: @lux_sneakersuk

As well as Depop I also have a store on Instagram @lux_sneakeersuk which is where I actually do the majority of my selling, there is a much wider audience to appeal to on there, also the option of promoting products/posts is very helpful. 

Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own store/ make more money?

 The most important part for me is patience, if you don’t have patience then this isn’t for you, you can’t expect to have a massive income from the off and even when you are established, knowing that monthly income will vary is important. This is just an extra source of income to begin with, more a hobby than a job! 

Feature image via Instagram: @milliejaneuk

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