Instagram is usually a go-to for selfies, marketing or meme browsing, but a growing number of people, including DJ Crykit, a.k.a. Michelle Kolnik, are adding a peculiar activity to that list: shopping.
Kolnik is one of many—including Mishka brand co-owner Greg Mishka—who operates online boutiques via mobile apps Instagram and Depop. These apps upend retail’s traditional infrastructure by bringing products directly from curator to consumer, eliminating the need for online stores. These people are changing the channel by making the shopping experience remote—moving items from storefront to mobile apps. The process is simple: Sellers list items by taking a photo of the products, add negotiable prices in the descriptions and make transactions via PayPal or integrated marketplaces.
Enter @CrykitsPlayhouse. It’s a boutique that specializes in retro items such as designer dresses, jackets and sneakers that Kolnik has amassed on her frequent thrifting trips. “Thrifting, as a hobby, goes hand in hand with fashion, styling and even DJ-ing,” she says. “I started [Crykit’s Playhouse] as another way to take one of my hobbies to the next level.”
The 33-year-old operates her boutique exclusively through social media sites, although she hosts occasional pop-up shopping events that usually coincide with DJ appearances. Her process is simple: When she finds a piece she likes, she cleans it, snaps a photo of it using her phone’s camera and uploads the photos to platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr and Depop, which is essentially Instagram with a built-in marketplace. It’s an entirely DIY approach, and she argues that there are several advantages to operating her business this way. “It’s super accessible to find potential clientele or a certain item you need in your wardrobe by using hashtags,” Kolnik says. “[Plus] it’s convenient, I can do it from home, there’s no rent and PayPal and Depop charge low rates. It’s useful to sell and build a network and following at the same time.”
So what’s up for grabs at Crykit’s Playhouse? Kolnik’s got a knack for bright colors: tri-color tie-dyed vintage band shirts, neon purple and yellow GUESS pieces from yesteryear, lightly worn tan Timberland work boots. She incorporates her personal taste with an eye for trendy pieces and name brands. On average, she moves 20 to 25 pieces per month.
Kolnik says Las Vegas’ ever-evolving style and growing interest in fashion influenced her own, and helped make her business what it is today. “It gives me the outlet to be creative and have fun. There’s a lot of treasure hunting here; Vegas has become a unique place for thrifting, which is great because we need more fun, funky and fashionable people!”