Thursday, December 11, 2014

Love Like Winter

I have a deadline tomorrow, but the weather outside is so awful and my house is freezing, so I'm procrastinating by making a winter wishlist -- as one does.


I have to admit that I've already purchased those UNIF shoes as a birthday treat to myself, as well as the Lime Crime lipsticks ... I'm weak. I'm aware. Despite it probably losing me major Goth points, I'm really into quite a few things from Urban Outfitters lately. These Pins & Needles dresses are in flocked devore velvet, which is one of my favourite things to wear, and I love their 90s slipdress shape and dark aesthetic. A friend recently introduced me to Sugar and Vice jewellery, and I want their entire Gothic 'Witching Hour' collection, and then some. I think laser-cut acrylic jewellery can be really fun but theirs is especially intricate. I've been debating purchasing this little bat backpack for a while as I'm sure the quality will be terrible, but it looks so cute! A little Lush for over the holidays never goes amiss and I'm going to pick these two up, along with a couple more bath bombs that are tempting me. Finally, getting Doc Martens has become a Christmas tradition of sorts for me, and I've wanted knee-high ones since I discovered their existence. These Agyness Deyn incarnations are extra badass with a chunky platform sole and I am already envisioning their stomping capabilities.

Alas, I'd better go and be functional now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Overpriced/Underdressed: Why I Hate Depop

 

Selling my unloved clothes, shoes and accessories online has been invaluable to me as a way of reducing my collection, learning from my mistakes, and of course, making some money. I remember starting five years ago when I lived in London and had way too many clothes for my dorm room at university. Now, as an (almost!) 23-year-old homeowner with considerable living space, I am still selling on a weekly basis, and have become more and more strict with myself over the years about what comes into the house, and what I need to get rid of.

My favoured site for doing this is eBay. The fees can feel a little high, as eBay owns PayPal, makes it mandatory that you use it, and then charges you two sets of fees: usually 10% of the final selling price for eBay, and a further 4% for PayPal. They've also started taking their 10% fee off of your postage costs, meaning you have to add 10% to avoid losing more money. Royal Mail charges have of course increased too, although the new small parcel size restrictions are far more lenient and fair. Despite these, I love eBay for five main reasons:
  1. It's easy. You can even sell straight from your phone or tablet, and can use an advanced or simple listing form with easy formatting options and picture uploading tools.
  2. It's safe. Buyers and sellers are protected from fraud, and PayPal offers such incredible peace of mind.
  3. It's cheaper. eBay now gives private sellers 20 free listings a month for most categories, so when I am selling clothes I can list them at a starting bid of over 99p without paying anything in listing fees. You also don't have to pay the 6p to schedule a listing. All of these little increments can add up, so I appreciate this a lot.
  4. It's huge. Massive, really. Millions of buyers use eBay meaning your items can be viewed and bought by people around the globe -- just make sure to charge enough postage!
  5. It's democratic. You don't need thousands of followers or a huge feedback store to make sales. Beginners are so welcome.
 This last reason is why I'm writing this post. I don't like Depop. I don't like it at all.

I installed Depop after reading about it on a few blogs here and there, as I thought a fashion-based selling app would be perfect for me. It was hailed as a blend of Instagram and eBay, which are two of my most-used apps, and the comparisons are obvious. The design is almost identical to that of Instagram, with square images, a scrolling feed of followed users, and the ability to search hashtags. The buying process is similar to eBay's 'Buy it Now or Best Offer' format, and Depop insists that all users have a PayPal account to buy and sell. To make an offer on an item, you comment on the listing or send a private message to the seller. You can also buy things instantly if the seller has instant payment turned on, and the fees are the same 10% + PayPal increment. This is where the similarity ends.

To truly get the most out of Depop, you need to have a lot of followers. This means you are bombarded with messages from random strangers asking you to view their items and 'follow back'. Big-name bloggers will of course benefit hugely, and I've seen some girls post things that are snapped up almost immediately because their fan base is so vast. This is awesome for them, but for the layman who just wants to whittle down the evidence and recoup some losses of a severe shopping addiction (me), it's just not worth the effort.

I have not only been selling online for a long time, but I have been selling online consistently for a long time. On average I list at least one thing a week -- more often large batches, but occasionally I'll come across something I haven't worn/used and stick it on eBay. I therefore know what sells, and to a degree, how much things are worth. Of course there are the occasional shockers: expensive items that sell for a couple of pounds, or something really cheap that you expect to get 99p for, and end up making way more. But generally, I have a good idea of what I'll get for things. Items from Topshop and Zara sell best, alongside more premium brands like All Saints, and in my case, well-known alternative brands like Doc Martens, Underground, Kill Star, UNIF, etc. Coats tend to do well as they are so expensive to buy in shops, so I've always gotten at least £20 for a decent coat even if it's quite a few years old. Finally, even the most gorgeous item from T. K. Maxx may not sell well if it isn't a known brand, unless you title it properly to appear in the right searches.

However, on Depop, this general tendency of worth is completely skewed, as people are, in my opinion, asking for way too much money. The worst offenders I've seen are users who sell second-hand makeup (usually swatched or just open-box, but sometimes fairly used) for its RRP or more. You see comments with more than reasonable offers (£10 for a swatched Lime Crime lipstick which is £12.50 to buy) rejected constantly as the seller has decided that s/he wants £15 for it, even though it's actually cheaper to buy the lipstick and have it shipped from the US for that price! I've seen well-worn shoes on sale for more than they were originally bought, makeup brushes at higher than what you'd pay in Boots, and 'handmade' jewellery that I can get for a fraction of the price on Etsy. It just doesn't make sense.

The search functionality on Depop is also rendered largely useless, as many sellers will overload their listings with buzzwords so that they appear in search results. This means that if you are searching for, say, a pair of UNIF boots, you will find hundreds upon hundreds or items tagged as #UNIF in the hopes of making a sale. The result is that looking for things is rather difficult and, in my opinion, not worth the effort.

Finally, one of the biggest concerns regarding Depop for me is the multitude of users who want buyers to pay for things via a PayPal friends and family transfer to save money on fees. Not only is this against site policy, but it's also dodgy as hell and gives the buyer zero protection if the seller doesn't post the item, it gets lost in the post, or it's faulty/not as described. I've seen users blatantly requesting this in their item listings with absolutely no policing on the part of the Depop moderators. It's a worrying practise that I don't want to be involved in. As a test (and because I was in the market for it), I messaged a user today about a sealed Real Techniques brush, but because I wouldn't pay for it outside of the app, the girl wouldn't sell it to me.

In case it wasn't abundantly clear, I will be continuing with eBay for my buying and selling. I get more money for my own things, and better bargains for someone else's. I think that Depop is an awesome concept with potential, but until it starts to be policed more thoroughly, I'm just not confident. Are you a fan of Depop? Has it served you well? Do let me know as I'd be really interested to hear.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Renovation Update, December 2014

HELLO.

To say the past few months have been hectic would be akin to saying that the zombie apocalypse would be kind of irritating. Between uni deadlines (that I had to get extended), work, family stuff, the dreaded renovation, and various ~*~super fun mental health issues~*~ I am feeling pretty burned out and cannot wait to get my coursework handed in, and enjoy some festive relaxation time.

The renovation has come a long way in the last month or so. We now have the bedroom more or less finished with carpet and furniture and even wardrobes. The upstairs rooms are also ready for furniture (once we unpack all the boxes), and the bathroom is on the home stretch with just another coat of paint, some woodwork, and the shower to be finished. The kitchen has just been completely re-plastered, and we've also had the living room ceiling done, meaning we can start painting this week! I'm also waiting on my blinds arriving, as I am currently using flattened cardboard boxes against the windows for privacy. It's amazing how much you take for granted in your house. Do you realise how much blinds cost?!

I'm going to post some photos soon, once my living room furniture is out of my bedroom and the couches don't resemble this:


Until then, here are some pictures from my Instagram account which contain snippet views of what will hopefully be a nice place to live.


Just some of my possessions waiting to be unpacked.
Most of this is kitchen and living room stuff, which can't be unpacked until I have a kitchen and living room.


First furniture moved into my room. Note the skirting board still to be painted on that wall. I'll definitely get around to it. Definitely.



I finally got to make my bed! I got this pretty lace-trimmed white bedding and both pillows from T. K. Maxx. It's great having a place to crash after working away until 2AM.


My beautiful Cygnus Papilio 'Royal Family' cushion in its new home. This was another T. K. Maxx steal at just £12.99 for a cushion that retails at £45. Also seen: my Asda Halloween decorations from this year and last, that decorate the end of my bed.


Hanging out with my roommate. And, battling back pain with my Orchard Corset CS-411 over a glittery M&S thermal. I know how to live. Full-length black mirror was a bargain from The Range at £29.99.

 

Wardrobe, pre-doors. It was around this time that I decided I needed to clear even more things out. I've been taking full advantage of this month's free eBay listings.



Lining up my Goth boot army. I've since decided to let go of those Topshop 'Aubrey2' boots at the end, but don't be fooled by the space! I've of course ordered a pair of UNIF 'Slacker's as a birthday treat.


One of my favourite parts of my room so far. Featuring the ubiquitous palmistry hand ring holder by Urban Outfitters , skull porcelain jar by Zara Home, mirrored jewellery box from T.K. Maxx, and bunny and cat ring holders which were gifts.


Trying to feel at home. This is definitely in my top 5 favourite Yankee candles. The jar is just too pretty, and despite smelling very sweet it's in no way overpowering.


Such tired. So fatigue.

 

Ollie and Jasper enjoying their new chair. This is shortly after we moved all of the living room furniture into what was once a relatively calm and organised bedroom. It's still there, and I'm still sad about it.

I can't wait to get the living room and kitchen painted tomorrow and will take photos as soon as they start to look liveable! ^_^ Forever an optimist.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Doomplex Before Photos - Part Two

Hello! I'm back with part two of the dreaded before photos. This time the kitchen and bathroom are coming under the spotlight, in all their glory.

We decided to switch the kitchen and bathroom, a decision which has been expensive, messy, and pretty worthwhile. When we first saw the flat, the bathroom was fairly generous but the kitchen was tiny, and the opposite configuration was just far more favourable.

You might remember from part one that my bedroom had a doorway leading into a kitchen. The kitchen in question looked something like this:








Not so pretty, is she? Unfortunately, neither is her sister:








Though you can't see it here, this room is bigger but with a lot of wasted space. It is a sad state of affairs.

The kitchen and bathroom have since been ripped out and switched, so from here on out when I refer to one, I mean the new layout. It's kind of confusing. We still trip over it.

I know the place looks kind of like a house of horrors, but bear with me. I promise I am not completely crazy.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

We Can Sleep Where We Reside

It sounds obvious, but when you're in the process of decorating a house, you're permanently tuned into house stuff. My most copious Pinterest board is no longer beauty-based, and I get more excited about Grand Designs coming on than most anything else. Supermarket trips will never be the same again (did you see my Tesco bargain?) and yesterday's quick stop at M&S proved very fruitful when I picked up their home catalogue.

For some reason, I'd never really considered looking at M&S for homeware. I knew they did a home range, but I assumed it would consist of really expensive couches and cabinets with little to entice me. How wrong I was. For want of finding their A/W 2014 home catalogue online (I am probably missing a massive 'VIEW CATALOGUE' button on their website ... I blame NoScript) here are some scans of the home decor ideas that I am currently obsessing over.


















This stuff just makes me swoon, particularly the dark walls and Victorian style bathroom fixtures. Today I put a few ads up on Rated People to get the last of the work finished, so that we can start decorating and moving in! I'll be sure to post some more before photos soon, as I'm hoping the afters will be worth it.