A new homewares shopping app has landed and it promises to be the Depop of interiors. And if you don’t do Depop (pre-loved fashion) but you want to furnish your home with vintage or antique things or from small businesses and one-person outfits and to do it in a sustainable way with products that are limited editions or small runs then this is for you. And if you are one of those small businesses that has been tearing your hair out over the Instagram algorithm then read on.
Narchie (currently on Apple the Android app will launch next month – March 2022) is a mash up of Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, eBay and Vinteriors all in one place. Deliberately set up to look like Instagram, the items are displayed in a grid fashion and you can “like” them in the same way while you scroll past or click to find out more – the price and seller. You can also message your friends on the app with suggestions and things they might like.
It’s that simple and that, like all the best ideas is why it’s so clever. Narchie is the brainchild of Harriet Wetton, a fashion and textile graduate who went from advertising to PR (health, wellness and beauty) to buying her first home and wanting to run her own business .
Her great-grandmother was a former fashion editor at Vogue, her sister is the 75th most popular seller on Depop (that’s huge by the way since it’s a global site) and her fiancé (they’ve been trying to get married since 2020) is a venture capitalist. So, you know, she starts from a good place as she is surrounded by experience and expertise.
“I wanted it to be a community-based app,” she says. “So many of my friends have bought flats [or are renting beyond the shared home] and don’t have a clue what to do. They know what they like, or sometimes they don’t, and they don’t know how to put it together so they want advice or ideas. Narchie allows friends to send suggestions or recommend products and they can just build their own feed from the explore page.”
The other problem with Instagram (which has essentially grown too big for its own good) is the dreaded algorithm where many small business owners, who were actively encouraged by the app to set up their online stores, now find their posts aren’t seen and their incomes have tumbled as a result.
One such business told me she was messaged by an Instagram employee after expressing frustration with the app: “Stop whining we allowed you to set up a business for free”. Another that if she posts a recipe or a candid messy kitchen shot she gets 30,000 views but if she posts a vintage lamp for sale she’s lucky to get 10 per cent of that.
All of which has led to a growing sense of despair and disillusion among small businesses and into which void jumps Narchie, a platform dedicated to those who want to buy things for their home and those who want to sell them those things. And sometimes that is also the same person. It also means that those who really do want to see what you had for breakfast won’t feel they’re being sold to all the time and those who want to spend their time running their business don’t feel they have to devote hours to creating video content just to be seen.
Harriet felt it was time to bring everything together to create one single market that was set up to take payment and will also advise on photography and styling. There will be no reels, no algorithm and videos will be offered only if they help to demonstrate size and scale – and who among us hasn’t bought a thing that turned out to be much smaller or larger than we thought – even if we did measure it?
Liking and commenting will, like Instagram, influence your explore page so you can discover more of the same. Or you can search by colour (an old Jenna Lyons trick on the basis that you never know what treasure you might uncover) or by material instead of the more common “chair” or “candlestick”. Sellers can also tag their items to help with the whole search process.
I downloaded the app before Christmas and it’s been growing rapidly ever since. Every day brings new products and Harriet and her team are constantly working behind the scenes to improve how it works. For instance, at the time of writing if you do a search you just get a list of products. Soon that will change to include pictures which will make your search easier.
The key, as with many of these things, is get on now, get your mates on and build a following so that you can not only buy but, in time, sell your unwanted items as well. That way you can adhere to the one in one out policy as well as being able to shop and sell all in one place. I’m definitely thinking of having a bit of a clear out and this seems like a good way to start.
Some of my favourite sellers include Dinks, who sold me the candlesticks at the top, Natalie Savage, whose bold prints I have long admired, and these sellers in the captions above. When something is sold it’s very clear to see so you don’t have to make extra clicks. So whether you have things to sell or are looking to buy download the app and see what you find. And let me know!