Having been confined to our homes for much of the past 18 months and no longer working in an office five days a week, many of us have piles of clothes lurking in our wardrobes that haven’t seen the light of day for over a year.
But rather than bagging them up and chucking them, the founder of a preloved fashion app is encouraging us to turn our old threads into a lucrative side hustle.
To mark the start of Second Hand September, an initiative introduced by Oxfam where people commit to only buying preloved for the entire month to reduce waste, Nikki Trollope – who started up Troopas with school friend Maria Pavli during lockdown – is urging us to give our clobber a second chance at life, while making a few quid at the same time.
Nikki, 31, who is originally from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe but now lives in Surrey, works in the travel industry which was hit hard by the pandemic.
To mark the start of Second Hand September, an initiative introduced by Oxfam where people commit to only buying preloved for the entire month to reduce waste, Nikki Trollope, left – who started up Troopas with school friend Maria Pavli (right) during lockdown – is urging us to give our clobber a second chance at life, while making a few quid at the same time
Having been put on furlough in March last year, Nikki teamed up with Maria, 32, to bring her idea for a second-hand clothing site to life.
‘At work I have to go to so many functions with clients, which are often cocktail parties and black tie events, and because you’re always with the same people you don’t want to wear the same outfit twice,’ she explained.
‘Not only that, if you go to a wedding these days so many people share photos on Instagram that it puts you off wearing the same dress to another wedding because everyone’s seen it.
‘I found I was constantly buying new stuff and ended up with a wardrobe full of clothes I’d only worn once or twice, which had cost me a fortune.’
Inspired by the likes of Depop and Vinted, and with months of no work stretching out before her, Nikki set about bringing Troopas to life, with her and Maria investing £2,000 out of their savings to get it up and running
Nikki and Maria, an operations manager in the gaming industry, have recently introduced a third membership – Star Troopas – for charities that are store-based and don’t have an online marketplace to sell clothes (pictured: two wedding dresses currently for sale on Troopas)
Inspired by the likes of Depop and Vinted, and with months of no work stretching out before her, Nikki set about getting Troopas up and running, with her and Maria investing £2,000 out of their savings.
‘I wanted to keep busy and have a side project because we didn’t know what would happen with the travel industry,’ she told FEMAIL. ‘So it was a little side industry, if my own didn’t recover as fast as I hoped.’
How to become a Super Troopa and turn your wardrobe into a side hustle
Register and complete your profile: the more information you provide the more comfortable potential buyers will be. So, tell everyone a little bit about yourself, upload a profile image and let the buyers get to know you and your style.
Add products! Add the items you would like to sell. Don’t forget you must include your shipping cost in your final product price.
Prepare your item: the more attractive it looks, the more likely it is to be sold. So, iron it or steam it, straighten the collar and button it up. Always use a white or light grey backdrop to take a photo of your item, as this makes it stand out and capture the colours as accurately as possible. Rolls of white paper are ideal, cheap, and readily available. Take photos next to a window for natural light.
Take photos of the item from the front, back and side: Your aim is to create a shopping experience for the buyer; create a tangible effect by adding pictures such as a close up of the fabric texture, tags, buttons, patterns, tags and stitching. Work those poses and add a picture of you wearing it to showcase how it looks on.
Get shipping sorted: always send items tracked to keep yourself protected and your buyer connected.
Delivery time: Provide your potential buyers with accurate information on delivery and stick to it – the last thing you want is negative reviews.
Set up a verified PayPal account so that you can receive your payments.
If you’re a buyer: first register and verify your account then browse what we like to call your ‘Dream Wardrobe’ where items are just hanging out and waiting for you to give them a brand new home!
Next step is payment, hand over the cash using our secure payment methods. Wait for your new purchase to reach your doorstep, then put it on and strut your stuff wherever life takes you.
Unlike its competitors, the site offers three different types of memberships. The basic free plan is catered to ‘adhoc’ sellers who choose to sell the odd item now and again.
Their ‘Savvy Troopa’ plan, which costs £10 a month, is geared towards thrifty members who regularly sell items on the platform as a side business to make some money.
‘This membership provides you with additional features like a featured profile on the Troopas website, homepage display and a newsletter,’ Nikki explained.
‘It’s great for those people who love digging out unique, unusual pieces at vintage markets, car boot sales and charity shops and selling them on. We’ve found the more one-off items like limited edition sneakers and vintage designer clothes give you a better return than run of the mill high street stuff.’
Nikki and Maria, an operations manager in the gaming industry, have recently introduced a third membership – Star Troopas – for charities that are store-based and don’t have an online marketplace to sell clothes.
‘For the first 20 charities that sign up, we aren’t charging a monthly fee,’ Nikki said. ‘The goal is to attract the smaller charity shops that don’t have an online shopping presence.
‘All our prices include shipping, so there are no extra charges when you get to the checkout.’
Billions of tonnes of clothes end up in landfill every year, but buying preloved is becoming increasingly fashionable, with a growing number of consumers embracing the old, be it vintage, pre-owned or upcycled, because it provides a more sustainable approach to shopping.
Sales of clothes and homeware on eBay went up 30 per cent during lockdown. Traffic on Depop more than doubled from April 2020 to November, and Vestiaire Collective, the go-to destination for pre-loved designer styles, saw a 144 per cent spike in orders compared to 2019.
Even before lockdown fuelled a million wardrobe clearouts — and the economic toll of the pandemic rendered us all more money-conscious — the fashion resale market was booming. In 2019, it grew 25 times faster than traditional retail.
Brands are also getting on board, with COS — the chic, grown-up member of the H&M Group — and Gucci launching dedicated resale platforms last year.
Selfridges also launched Resellfridges to let customers buy and sell pre-loved designer pieces, while luxury online retailer Farfetch has offered pre-loved pieces since 2010.
Nikki said: ‘Our mission with Troopas is to make your wardrobe work for you and make you some money. It allows you to change up your look and wardrobe at reasonable prices, and build relationships by selling or buying clothes.
‘We are committed to playing our part in curbing fast fashion, we are all about increasing and fully utilising the lifecycle of clothing and accessories, no matter the brand. Let’s save the environment, one garment at a time.’
For more information about Troopas visit troopas.co.uk or follow them on Instagram.
Founder of preloved fashion app Troopas reveals how YOU can make money from your wardrobe