The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Flip or Flop

Students reflect on the effects of the Flip app on their lives, as well as the way it could change social media and society as a whole.

Eva Vaca ’24 tried on the shirt she had just received in the mail. These days, whenever Vaca needed clothing, makeup or skincare , she would order it through Flip, an app where people produce content that reviews products they have purchased through the app. Content creators are able to make money from the app for their content based on views and interaction. For this particular shirt, Vaca knew exactly what she was going to say: she thought the shirt was well-constructed and soft, but she should have ordered a smaller size.

Vaca said she would describe the Flip app as a hybrid of a social media and purchasing platform that aims to ensure authenticity and foster kindness.

“Flip is an app that’s kind of like TikTok and also Amazon,” Vaca said. “The only way you can post is if you’re a verified purchaser of something within the app. There are brands on Flip that no other platform has, and they are all verified, so you aren’t going to get any inauthentic pieces. You are also always guaranteed a discount [from the price of a product] because it’s worked into the app that you get 30% off. Flip is basically turning online shopping into a community that is built on honesty, kindness and authenticity.”

Vaca works as the head of social media at the app’s headquarters. She said that her involvement with the app began as a critique at a dinner that morphed into a conversation with the app’s founder.

“I was at Beckett [Lee ’24]’s house, and I was doing some work for my [Graphic Design through the Medium of Merch] class,” Vaca said. “[Lee’s] mom saw that I was working on it, and she asked me about what my thoughts were on Flip. I’d heard about it before, but I honestly thought it was a scam in the past. I downloaded the app, and I said what I thought about it. Most of[what I said] was trash talking the app, which is fine. And then basically,[Lee’s mother] was like, let me call someone. She didn’t tell me who she was calling, and I also didn’t know how big the app was. She told me to tell him everything I had just said.I was talking about design, and he said, ‘Okay, great. Refresh your screen.’ So I refreshed it. He [had] put in basically all my designs and everything I had just talked about in the app. He coded it right then, and I was so confused because I didn’t know who I was talking to. Turns out it was the CEO of the company, Noor Agha.”

After this conversation, Vaca said she started interning for the company but was eventually hired because of her candid approach and unique perspective..

“He called [Lee’s] mom when I wasn’t around, and he asked if I wanted a job because he liked how my brain worked,” Vaca said. “I was interning at first, and I remember when I got hired he told me, ‘You know, this never happens, but, the thing you have can’t be taught. Your life experiences have formed you into this person that I can’t teach people to become. Honestly, with the majority of people I work with, everyone tries to people-please and say it’s amazing. I like you because you have never given me a compliment.’ I felt kind of bad at first, but he was saying that I’m very honest and straightforward.”

Reflecting on the tumultuousness of their upbringings, Vaca said Agha told her that it was these very same experiences that had allowed them to become the resilient and hardworking people they are.

“He told me once that we were lucky we were messed up,” Vaca said. “I asked him, ‘What do you mean?’ He had a very different childhood than I did, but we had similar childhoods around the same aspect of not having the best, most stable household. He was saying that I am lucky I had to deal with that because the things I’ve experienced and I’ve grown from have shaped me to be the person I am.”

Vaca said she is not going to college next year in favor of continuing to work at Flip because it is something she genuinely likes to do.

“I see my parents, and I see that they don’t like what they’re doing,” Vaca said. “And then I look at myself, and I just don’t feel like I’m working. I feel like that’s something very valuable, and I wouldn’t want to give up. There’s no real point in investing in going to a four-year college and learning about what my interests are when I already found what I love to do. I love it so much that it didn’t even feel like a sacrifice. I wake up and the first thing I do is open Flip.”

Vaca said she envisions the app completely changing the face of social media and its effects on mental health by making it a more supportive place.

“I’ve grown up in a household surrounded by mental health issues,” Vaca said. “It may be too late to change my situation, but it’s concerning looking at our generation, seeing how much our mental health is impacted by social media. A lot of people don’t think [this decline in mental health] is because of social media, but I promise that social media plays such a huge role in mental health in our age now. I feel like I have the ability to contribute to social media [taking] a step in the right direction.”

Vaca said her plans for making social media a less hateful place start with getting rid of hate on Flip through incentivizing people to be kind.

“Flip is about honesty, so I want [viewers] to be hating on a product,” Vaca said. “I don’t want to buy something if it’s not good. I don’t want to be lied to, but what I’m finding out should really be about the products. You’re not ever going to hate on the person reviewing. I don’t ever want to see that. It’s instilled in the app that that can’t happen because if you do, people aren’t going to like you very much, and you’re not going to make money. It’s kind of sad that a big driver to be kind is money, but if you’re going to hate on someone’s personality or who they are, you’re not going to make money, which is why you probably downloaded the app in the first place.”

Vaca said a big part of making Flip hate free is the elimination of traditional influencers.

“Our generation is being lied to because our role models are getting paid to lie to us, and we’re looking up to influencers who are just not fully being genuine with us,” Vaca said. “On other social media platforms, it’s more about the person than the product. On Flip, it’s flipped, and it’s more about the product. No matter what you look like, if even one viewer looks at your video, you’re making money.”

Vaca said Flip is a very effective way for users to make money, as well as for brands to get discovered and improve their products.

“Flip has a really high cent to viewer ratio, and you can start earning even if you have no followers,” Vaca said. “Most other social media platforms only allow you to make money once you reach a certain threshold of followers. If everyone is hating on a brand, they’ll either get taken off of Flip, or the founder of the brand will make a video saying they fixed the product. Another time, there was this brand that was getting no sales, and they had some pretty cool things. I bought something and made a video, and the brand blew up. The founder of the brand was trying to go to medical school, so it’s nice to know that a small action on my part is helping him achieve his dreams and life goals.”

Lilah Mitchell ’25 said Vaca introduced her to Flip, and the posting process is relatively simple.

“[Vaca] told me about Flip when she got hired to work for them,” Mitchell said. “You can make the filming and editing process as simple as you want. I just film the videos in TikTok and upload them to Flip when I have to review a product.”

Lily Stambouli ’24 said she doesn’t care if people judge her for posting videos on Flip because she is happy with what she is getting in return.

“At the end of the day, I made 250 dollars off of one video,” Stambouli said. “If people at school are gonna make fun of me for making Flip videos, I don’t really care. Everyone [at school is] doing it, and all the products we make videos on gets sent to us for free.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sasha Aghnatios, Assistant A&E Editor

Comments (0)

All The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *