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A patchwork of cultures and influences can land you a job at Depop, Kelliesha White explains

By Alma Fabiani

Jun 2, 2021

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The rising popularity of peer-to-peer social shopping has spawned an army of platforms that are giving top-rated e-commerce websites and marketplaces a run for their money. Among the likes of Vinted and Vestiaire Collective is London-founded Depop, the go-to app for gen Zers looking to post and sell (mainly resell) items to their followers through carefully curated social feeds. Here at Screen Shot Pro, we previously had the chance to speak to Depop top sellers Sooki Sooki Vintage and Mini’s World who shared their best advice on how to curate your own independent shop on the app. But because we know Pro members want more insight into what actually happens behind the scenes, we turned to Kelliesha White, Depop’s global brand and cultural impact manager, to find out a bit more about what it takes to get a job at one of the biggest community-driven marketplaces empowering the next generation to transform fashion. So, what does Depop look for in its employees? White shares it all.

A patchwork of cultures and influences

White grew up in North London around what she calls “a patchwork of different cultures and influences.” As one of the most multicultural cities in the world—one-third of all Londoners are foreign-born, and over 200 languages are spoken throughout its neighbourhoods—London has been (and still is) the home of and inspiration for countless artists and creative movements. If you’re lucky enough to have grown here or currently live here, then you have no excuse when it comes to finding ways to expose yourself to different cultures and influences.

In the UK, one in three gen Zers and millennials are registered on Depop. In the US, the platform has grown 300 per cent over two years. On top of that, Depop is also the only European player to have recently entered the top 25 shopping apps by daily active users. Long story short, with such a young, diverse and open-minded community of users, it only makes sense for Depop to demand the same cultural awareness and creativity from its own employees.

Now, imagine how important it is for Depop’s cultural impact manager to be involved in all different aspects of London’s creative scene. Pretty major, right? Speaking about the impact these different influences have had on her own way of thinking, White further explained, “It really helped to shape my thinking and I believe it’s something that’s aided my journey as a cultural marketer. If I had to describe myself, I would probably say that the words that resonate the most are empathic, charismatic and inquisitive. From a very young age, I’ve questioned the world around me and I’ve always tried to find understanding through different life experiences and the lens of my peers.”

When asked about how she would describe her current position at Depop, White told me, “In one sentence, I would say that I help to make meaningful connections with our audience through cultural and community insights as well as impactful storytelling.” Because of the nature of her role, White’s interests ultimately had to revolve around culture and the way it is constantly evolving through a swarm of distinct influences, from artists and musicians to history and online influencers. Being aware of the world that surrounds you and the changes it undergoes, as well as the reasons behind them, is key to landing a job in any creative environment.

The hobbies you never knew mattered

It can be hard for young jobseekers, especially those looking to go into creative industries, to define what additional skills they can bring to a specific role they apply for. Which life-long hobbies are actually worth mentioning (and keeping up with) when your goal is to work at Depop? For years now, the next generation of workers has been fed advice that doesn’t necessarily apply to the new industries that have blown up in the last few decades. As a result, many of us are left unsure of which skills to develop—advanced Excel skills or writing fanfiction?—when it all comes down to the role we want to pursue.

“Growing up, I was always creative and I loved clothes. I would beg my mum for new clothes for non-uniform days. I studied fashion at GCSE and then fashion business at college. It all came really easy to me and I loved the idea of marketing communications being at the intersection of creativity and business,” shared White. Although she didn’t have close examples of people working in the creative industry growing up, White simply knew that’s where she wanted to be.

Speaking about the different hobbies she would advise people looking to work in the fashion and creative industries to show interest in, White said, “One of the most important things that helped my thinking was reading. Books, articles, research reports—they all help to widen your understanding of people and the world.”

If you don’t have the chance of living in such a diverse city as London, then make sure you read all about it—be that in books or online. If you do, “get out there and do work experience across various different creative disciplines,” White continued. “Build your network and put yourself in rooms where you can learn from people. If you’re a creative person the chances are that you’re good at a number of different things, gain experience in them all so you have an understanding of what you love.”

From GUAP to Depop

White studied marketing at Brunel University “because it was a combination of creative thinking and entrepreneurship.” She shared with me how she “used to love writing and this led me to work at GUAP, which gave me the confidence to know that I could do well in the creative industry.”

As GUAP’s previous arts and culture editor, White’s career journey clearly highlights the link between fashion apps such as Depop and their impact on our culture (and the trends we follow) as a whole. Looking back on it, she agreed that her role at GUAP was a natural precedence to her current position at Depop, “Everything happens for a reason, and my time at GUAP was my foundational years in understanding how to navigate the industry. Being a part of GUAP opened my eyes to a world that I didn’t know was possible. Being at the core of a culture that is pushing boundaries and setting new rules was so empowering. GUAP has become a powerhouse and that’s because they stay true to who they are and carved a space for themselves in an industry that once never welcomed us at the table.”

White’s experience at GUAP—along with her previous roles at the agency NERDS—allowed her to further develop her skills for her current position as Depop’s global brand and cultural impact manager. “My daily tasks vary. Sometimes, I could be writing a brief for a creative project, running a campaign or looking at creatives to deliver a project. Other days, I could be going through content edits or taking meetings with brands and agencies. The skills that I think are most needed in my role are organisation skills, strategic thinking and being collaborative.”

When asked about her favourite aspect of her job, White shared that working with grassroots creative is at the top of her list. “I’m currently working with an up and coming photographer/director in Los Angeles and it’s been magical seeing how passionate they are about the work and giving them the autonomy to create some cool shit.”

With more than 26 million registered users in over 147 countries, and 90 per cent of its active users being under the age of 26, Depop is known for successfully bridging the gap between culture and brand through the usage of authentic storytelling as well as the lens of novel perspectives. By working with global brands and grassroots on campaigns that span across social media, product launches, brand sponsorships and culture marketing, White’s diverse influences have not only allowed her to be the best at what she does but also to further widen the app’s cultural impact.

Tips straight from the pro

This Level Up’s aim is to highlight White’s multidisciplinary qualities as well as her career at Depop (and how she got there) in order to offer you real advice on the types of jobs you’re actually interested in. That’s why we asked the pro to share her top tips for anyone looking to start a career in the same industry. “We all create our own luck. The energy that you put out into the world is what will be returned and actively working towards your goals is important. Create a one, three and five-year plan and believe in your journey,” White first stated.

“Never watch someone else’s path and compare yourself. Learn to understand how your life experiences have shaped your view of the world and apply this to everything you do,” she continued. “Break down the skills you’ve gained in all previous experiences and learn how to position them as transferable skills for the next role.”

Inspiration is also another important part of building up your skills and getting to know what it takes to make a name for yourself. To conclude our conversation, White told Screen Shot Pro who she turns to for inspiration, “My peers inspire me, people like GUAP’s founders Ibrahim [Kamara] and Jide [Adetunji], my close friend Taisha Johnson who’s a music manager, Navi Ahluwalia, Shannie Mears, Ayo [Fagbemi] and Nate [Agbetu] the founders of Play Nice. They’re all breaking boundaries and carving their own paths. It’s inspiring being around so much greatness.”

So, are you ready to help create a better future?