Shopping is being revolutionised by the same apps you’re uploading selfies to.
Sophia Amoruso was a 22-year-old community college dropout, living in her step-aunt’s cottage in San Francisco and working at an art school checking student IDs for $13 an hour. Bored and looking for more money, she started an eBay page selling clothes she found in Goodwill bins.
One year later, in 2008, she moved from eBay, creating an online shop by the name of Nasty Gal. Today, Nasty Gal is a multi-million dollar business, with Sophia’s personal net worth estimated to be $250 million.
Amoruso started her business on social media and was one of the first to start a clothing empire without ever opening a store. However, in today’s age, it’s more likely a future fashion billionaire would get their start using a social media platform rather than starting with the physical processes of renting a storefront, such as Sophia. According to Forbes.com, you can start a multi-million dollar business using social media, despite having little to no money at all. On Instagram, the hashtags #clothesforsale and #shopmycloset make it is easy to find preloved clothing. Because interaction on social media is so great, the process of receiving attention for small businesses, is far less trying than the days before the Internet.
Facebook users have also jumped on the trend, with pages dedicated to swapping/shopping unwanted clothes become increasingly popular. Lauren Thrasher-Pierce, owner of a shop on Instagram called Ms Thrasher’s Things, told The Newsroom: “Swapping and shopping clothes online is a trend that is increasing in popularity, and this has evolved because we shared our clothes and wardrobe with friends and family.”
“I believe that sharing clothes on social media is another way for people to connect, inspire new styles that others didn’t think of and spark creativity,” she said.
Another positive result from sharing clothes on social media is the environmental benefits. Fashion editor of The Guardian, Jess Cartner-Moley wrote that this year has seen a surge of interest in ethical issues around shopping, particularly in landfill and the link to global warming.
Given Australia is wasting $140 million worth of clothing every single year, reusing clothing seems like a smart solution.
Currently, you can’t complete the actual transaction through the social media site – it has to be through the bank – but perhaps the next big change to shopping on social media will be the introduction of integrated payment systems.
It could be sooner than you think. – Nadya Joun
Top photo of clothing social media sites by Ben Atkinson-James.