Reblog, Reuse, Recycle: Pickpocket, Richmond’s newest online consignment boutique, has a unique approach to the flourishing Tumblr community.
The internet has conveniently allowed businesses to establish themselves and become fully functioning in less than a month. Blogging communities and social media sites can spread word of your company like wildfire, leaving an online consignment shop like Pickpocket, owned by Richmond newcomer Lauren Grant, the potential to succeed without ever setting foot outside her Fan apartment — that is, except for multiple weekly trip to the post office. Grant moved here in March after working for four years as a fashion merchandiser at Anthropologie‘s headquarters in Philadelphia. Left with an enormous wardrobe, she was ready to downsize.
“I accumulated a lot of nice stuff over the years, and I gave a lot of it away to my siblings, and cousins,” Grant said. “I didn’t want to sell it to consignment shops; I wanted to give it away first-hand.”
Living with a professional photographer also proved to be helpful.
“I used to work in fashion and help style photo shoots,” Grant said. “My roommate, Karen Seifert, does weddings around town and photobooths at parties, and when I moved in with her she was looking for a new project.”
The women put together a photo shoot with about fifty different outfits, and after the name came to her in a dream, Pickpocket was launched into the Tumblr community. Although there are plenty of online marketplaces for independent merchants, such as Etsy or BigCartel, Grant said she didn’t really give much thought to any other site.
“I feel like Etsy is exclusive for hand-made and vintage, and I didn’t have either,” Grant explained. “It’s fooling people if I do that, and I didn’t want to infringe.” Tumblr’s microblogging platform was so user-friendly that it only took two weeks after the first photo shoot for Pickpocket to fully launch. According to Grant, the website was up one day after the shoot, and even though she didn’t advertise people still began to follow it because of tags on the blog.
“Tumblr is already infused in so many people’s lives,” Grant said. “You can just follow it, and I can keep reminding people ‘here’s a new outfit.'” Aside from sit-down sessions over the photos with her roommate, Grant impressively handles all of Pickpocket by herself, including other social media outlets she’s incorporated into the business.
“I wouldn’t have a store if it wasn’t for social media, because everyone is finding out through their friends, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter,” Grant claimed. She admits owning a store online has been “awesomely easy”, considering this is her side-job right now. Between multiple weekly trips to the post office, and about six to seven hours a week dedicated to Pickpocket, she also works full-time as an account agent at an advertising firm.
The first interested buyer to email the shop has priority. They have 24 hours to pay through a Paypal account; otherwise it will go to the next interested customer after one day.
So far, Pickpocket’s had two photo shoots consisting of almost 100 outfits pieced together, 90% of which is Grant’s own wardrobe. The other items are from friends and the models, who rock the garments with realistic body types; the consignment shop currently offers sizes ranging from about 2 to 8, and extra-small to large.
“We think of sizes in numbers,” Grant added. “But there are only so many sizes, and there are thousands of body types.”
Also for sale, are accessories and shoes ranging from sizes 5.5 to 10, which allows Pickpocket to have “outfit deals”, where you can purchase multiple pieces at a discounted price.
But what happens to Pickpocket when Grant runs out of clothes? She’s not worried about that just yet, confidently exclaiming (with extra emphasis) that she has a LOT of clothes. Grant says she gets that question a lot, and what often comes to mind is a concept similar to personal shopper, but becoming a personal seller instead.
“Friends, clients, and a lot of people have nice things that they don’t just want to give away, or sell to consignment shops where they’re only going to get a tiny profit,” Grant said. “All people need is the time to sell things, and I can provide that for them.”