Vodafone Foundation’s Digital Creators’Challenge with Maria Rag, Depop @ Queens Parl Community School

StyleNest chat to CEO of DEPOP, Maria Raga and chat brand, being a business woman and bargains.

As a Stylist, I love how you’ve made pre-loved and vintage cool for my daughter’s generation, they are so environmentally conscious, do you feel like DEPOP has really capitalised on this?

This generation wants individuality and to express their style in different ways every day. At the same time, they want to reduce waste. Depop allows them to do both. We give our over 16 million users across the world access to a vast inventory of pre-loved streetwear, vintage designer and one-of-a-kind creations and more. They have the financial incentive to buy and sell garments, rather than leaving them unused in a wardrobe or sending them to a landfill. We think that’s the best way to help people reduce waste: the fashion they want and the financial incentive.

How did the idea behind the brand originate?

Prior to starting Depop, our founder, Simon Beckerman, created a magazine in Italy called PIG. While working at the magazine, Simon wanted to build a community and a social network where the magazine’s readers could buy the items featured within; the coolest and most inspiring products from around the world discovered by the PIG team. Simon’s lightbulb moment occurred when he had a coffee table full of items he’d be meaning to sell. The idea suddenly came to him – what if there was a place to for young, emerging creatives to not only buy interesting and exciting things, but they could also sell them? And Depop was born.

What makes the brand so unique and by design, so successful?

Our community of users is what makes so Depop so unique, and so successful. Depop gives its community the power and strength to create new trends by consistently encouraging individuality and the freedom to express themselves. We think of our brand and identity as an open platform to showcase our community’s breadth of aesthetics, taste and creativity. So much of the app experience is browsing and exploration as users take inspiration either to create their own shops, or to combine influences to create their own individual style.

Depop is targeted at 15-24 year olds primarily, but I’m not ashamed to say I’ve had a look myself and I think there’s some great bargains to be had. Do you feel like there’s an upper age limit or do you think it transcends age and just speaks to those with a unique sense of their own style?

I shop on Depop all the time! Depop is a place for anyone who wants to celebrate their own unique sense of style and find likeminded communities that share their same passion for creativity and fashion.

As a hugely powerful businesswoman, what are your three tips for those starting out in business?

My first and foremost tip would be to have a “raison d’etre” – a purpose as to why your business must exist. Second, make sure all of your business decisions from the beginning are helping your community solve a problem – and that you’re passionate about the problem you’re trying to solve. And lastly, make sure you know your community and that you’re constantly evolving your business with what they want, need and desire.

Currently you are a judge with Vodafone’s Digital Creator Challenge for students aged 11-14, what attracted you to this innovative project?

Yes! I am so excited to be a part of this project. In March I will be judging apps which have been designed and built by children in their first years of secondary school. Getting more girls into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects is so important to me. The world is changing at a tremendous rate, and skills in tech – like coding and SEO – are becoming skills that every industry rely upon on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there is a large gender gap in these subjects as many girls do not pursue STEM past GCSE level. I, for one, want to see a girl takeover of STEM! That’s why I have partnered with Vodafone to help deliver this amazing campaign

What does a typical day look like in the life of Maria?

Very busy! But always rewarding. I’m constantly meeting with the leaders of Depop to make sure every department from our engineering teams to our marketing teams are community-driven, because that is integral to our business. As a CEO, it’s also very important to me to stay connected to the employees of Depop – I always take time out of my week to host a “grab and chat” where anyone can come and talk to me about what’s going on in the business, or in life!

Lastly, can you say Hi to my daughter Liv?

Hello lovely Liv!! Hope you are enjoying using Depop xxx

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