Alum of the Month for September is Steve. Since graduating from LSE, he has taken a post here in London at the global HQ of the VC-backed social fashion marketplace Depop, as the company scales globally.
What’s your current job?
Currently, I’m the Head of Community Partnerships at Depop, leading a team that defines strategy for working with our most high-profile users around the world. I’m also tasked with bringing Depop to existing fashion brands to incorporate into their overall business strategy, along with starting up our trend reporting work and helping out with PR efforts. A full plate, but a gratifying one.
If you haven't heard of Depop it might be because 90% of our users are under 26. In a nutshell, Depop is a fashion resale mobile app focused on empowering young creatives by, among other things, lowering the barrier of entry to allow Gen Z entrepreneurs to build their own businesses. The app functions like a social media platform, so it’s intuitive for the mobile generation to navigate. Users can sell items from their own wardrobe or brand new pieces; we help them reach potential partners and customers from within our 13M+ strong community in 147 countries worldwide.
We work with designers, stylists, vintage resellers, musicians, and other young people who are setting trends instead of just reacting to them. It’s especially appealing for our buyers and sellers who are not terribly interested in the status quo of the traditional fashion establishment and are brimming with inspiration, but seeking out a place to jump start it all. My team specifically works with some names people know—celebrities and social media personalities—along with people we think are going to be big. We help nurture their talent and show them how they can get started creating their own fashion empire.
What’s the best thing about working for Depop?
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a part of a company that’s gaining such momentum among young people. We just closed our Series C funding this spring, so working every day with a team that is making noise in an industry in need of disruption—and has the resources to support such an inspiring community—is challenging, fun, and can be vastly different from day to day. I’ve never worked in a true startup environment before, and I’ve already absorbed so much in the year I’ve been with Depop, that I’ll be able to take with me for the rest of my life. My colleagues have diverse experience working for all sorts of companies and I’ve found this exposure to different professional backgrounds to be quite informative.
Where have you worked previously?
I’ve touched upon so many aspects of the fashion industry, from PR and marketing, to editorial roles, working for a trade show and getting some experience in wholesale and business development for emerging and legacy brands. I started out doing crisis communication and public affairs PR back in New York, and then made a brief foray into financial PR. That was interesting, but decidedly not my forte; I could bluff my way through the intricacies of subprime lending to a degree, but we’re talking thimbles of knowledge there, not buckets. I am truly at home talking to a more creatively-prone audience. Eventually, I left PR behind and hopped over to fashion journalism. I contributed to T: The New York Times Style Magazine, GQ, Esquire, CNN Style, Garage, Out, Fashionista.com, and Vanity Fair, and had a stint as the Style Editor at Complex Magazine in New York, too, before I followed some promising work I had completed as a brand consultant and applied for the MSc Marketing at LSE’s Department of Management in 2017.
What led you to study MSc Marketing at LSE’s Department of Management?
The marketing consulting work I’d done on the side while working as a journalist largely came from personal relationships I’d built in the industry, my early days in PR, and some inherent instinct to follow the money, if I’m being honest. But, I didn’t have any formal training in marketing, especially not as it related to the data-led approach that has been adopted by the most forward-thinking marketers today. LSE has such a strong reputation for turning out qualified professionals and placing them in the world’s leading companies, that it was a no-brainer to accept when I was offered a place in the Department of Management’s first-ever MSc Marketing cohort. That, and I was itching for a change of scene from my native New York—London was, and still is, a very appealing alternative. (Although my home will always be in NYC; the way to my heart is through a Murray’s bagel).
How have you stayed in contact with the Department of Management since graduating?
I’ve kept in touch via social media with my colleagues from my year at LSE and came back recently to speak to some prospective students about my experience of LSE. I think I made a compelling case for becoming a Beaver!
Are there any other projects or hobbies you’ve been working on outside of work?
I published my first book this April through Potter Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It’s a field guide to men’s footwear called How to Shine a Shoe: A Gentleman's Guide to Choosing, Wearing, and Caring for Top-Shelf Styles. Available wherever fine works of literature are sold! Do me a favour, and buy a copy so they let me write another one?