Shopping on Instagram is one of modern society’s greatest pleasures. Most of the time, I don’t even mind being served ads in my feed, since the sponsored posts and pop-ups are probably something the ~cloud~ heard me talk about that very afternoon. And it’s even easier than traditional online shopping -- you’ll be laying there on the couch, minding your own business, and suddenly the exact kind of cardigan you’ve been yearning for is right there in front of your face. No searching necessary!
Of course, you do get the occasional scam. Like when Kaitlyn Bristowe bought this fun party dress from an Instagram ad, just to be delivered something a 4-year-old would sew together for their baby doll.
But an all new way to Instagram shop is here: Anxiety Marketplace.
The account, run by old college friends Jolie DeFeis, 27, and Sophia Yapalater, 29, out of Brooklyn and Philadelphia, respectively, operates as an online consignment marketplace akin to Poshmark. But instead of turning a profit, the partners take a percentage of the platform’s revenue and send it out to charities and organizations.
While other consignment sites pocket a percentage of a seller’s listing price, Anxiety Marketplace takes 20 percent of every sale to help nonprofits and grassroots programs with their fundraising. The organizations change monthly; in its first month (which was only just April!), Anxiety Marketplace donated $3,000 to Sistas Van, a support system for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. This month, the platform is serving the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which helps the recently incarcerated remain active members of their community with initiatives like securing voting possibilities.
DeFeis and Yapalater told TODAY that they pick their causes carefully, focusing on smaller nonprofits and mutual aid funds who don’t have huge staffs to pay or marketing budgets to ensure that wherever their sellers’ money is going is directly contributing to those in need.
"We wanted to help spread awareness to these groups that do so much for their communities," Yapalater shared.
While DeFeis and Yapalater often sell from their own closets, followers and Instagram users everywhere are asked for donations as well. By emailing Anxiety Marketplace (TheAnxietyMarketplace@gmail.com) and describing your item and price points, including shipping costs, the partners will set up a post advertising your stock. Then, it’s between the seller and buyer, who hash out details in Instagram’s direct messages and utilize cash apps to exchange compensation. The two run a tight ship, replying to emails to list items within 72 hours and quickly responding to comments on their posts.
As for the name, the women simply wanted to shine a light, in any way they could, on mental health and bring it into the conversation. And, in fact, "retail therapy" is a thing -- studies have shown that shopping can ease anxieties and improve your mood. "Anxiety Marketplace" became a cheeky way to draw attention to how society deals with stress and to help remove stigmas.
"We named it Anxiety Marketplace because mental health in this country is a health crisis and it is still everywhere, now exacerbated by COVID," DeFeis explained to TODAY. "We wanted to be able to have that conversation and connect with people and let people connect with each other while also supporting a cause."
"Spiral, but make it fashion," as their tagline says. Anxiety Marketplace is a way to ease your mind, shop sustainably and make a difference -- and it doesn’t hurt that the clothes are cute.