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We are so excited to announce today that Depop will be joining the Etsy, Inc. family of brands. This is a massive s…
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Maria Raga

The Spanish CEO is building Depop with a vision to be more human in a digital world

Depop is the community-powered marketplace app to buy and sell unique fashion. It has become the fashion home of GenZ, preferring to trade vintage clothes with one another, creating their own stores. It was recently acquired by Etsy, but continues as a separate business.

“Be Human” is the slogan Maria Raga sees first thing every morning as she logs onto her laptop and starts work with Depop. “It’s like a reminder to start by talking with people before emails” she says.

The message of course from the young Spanish CEO is for everyone, even in the most digital companies, to remember that business is about people, emotions and dreams, even if it is driven by coding, platforms and algorithms.

Depop has been described as “the love child of eBay and Instagram”, a place where millennials buy and sell things, anything.

It is an online C2C marketplace, where users can buy and sell goods from all around the world. Its customer base is predominantly Gen Z, young people born since 2000, who have grown up as digital natives, alongside a strong environmental drive towards second-hand, or upcycling as they tend to call it, or “pre-loved” in Raga’s language.

Depop was initially the idea of Simon Backerman, where readers of PIG magazine – about “people in groove”, not farm animals – could buy items featured in the magazine by smartphones. He soon realised that he had a strong community, but wasn’t realising the connections between people, hence the shift to an app-based marketplace.

Raga took on the leadership role in 2016 when the founders had lost their way. She brought with her the strategic consulting brain of Bain, and the digital start-up experience of Groupon, quickly engaging the young Depop team to focus on the customer experience, rigorous testing and development, and turning trial into regular usage.

Depop has seen a huge surge in demand during the pandemic, now has over 30 million users, and with a marketplace listing over 15 million items at any time, largely fashion. The business model is simple, it takes 10% of all sales through its platform.

Research shows that Gen Z is less interested in big name brands, and fast fashion, and instead seeks individuality and authenticity. “We want Depop to be accessible, democratic and inclusive” says Raga. “This generation is setting their own trends, influenced by real people, and with a high awareness of the unsustainable practices of much of the fashion industry”.  A report by ThredUp says that the online second-hand clothing market will be worth over $65 billion by 2025, more than the fast fashion category.

Raga also recognises that a mobile-centric business is not just a digital business, creating pop-up stores, to enable Depop-ers to meet in person, but also to showcase the brand and reach out to new audiences who still shop in stores. Community is equally important, a great example of which is Depop’s Youtube channel, which has developed a fresh and quirky following for the brand, embraced social influencers though interviews and guest sections, and built a cult following.

Raga’s passion is to create a human business, people with a love of fashion and life, whilst using technology to achieve it better.

In June 2021 Depop was acquired by Etsy, which operates two-sided online marketplaces that connect millions of passionate and creative buyers and sellers around the world. However Depop continues to be based in London and operate as a standalone marketplace run by Raga and her team.

Etsy’s investment will help Depop to grow and develop its global community, enhance its product and marketplace, and accelerate its mission to build the world’s most diverse and progressive home of fashion. Like Depop, Etsy is committed to fostering authentic, human connections that extend beyond transactions, and using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people.

Raga said of the acquisition “We’re on an incredible journey building Depop into a place where the next generation comes to explore unique fashion and be part of a community that’s changing the way we shop. Our community is made up of people who are creating a new fashion system by establishing new trends and making new from old. They come to Depop for the clothes, but stay for the culture. We’ll now take an exciting leap forward as part of the Etsy family, benefiting from their expertise, and the resources of a much larger company whose values are so aligned with ours here at Depop.”


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