The community-harnessed fashion app, Poshmark, has come a long way since 2011 when CEO Manish Chandra launched it, giving buyers and sellers of predominantly women’s clothing and accessories a wide outlet to engage each other.
Touted as an ideal cross between Ebay and Pinterest, the app enables its sellers to post enticing photos of items that they, for instance, purchased used – perhaps at a thrift store like Goodwill – and hope to resell to prospective buyers (for a profit) within the Poshmark community where the only catch is that the company takes a 20% commission. In surprisingly plausible cases where an immaculate pair of Louis Vuitton shoes are found at a garage sale, the net gain is often significant for the seller. In effect, used items that are resold are done so via a user’s “closet,” and ones that are sold as completely new, by way of the app’s multi-fashion-brand “wholesale marketplace,” are transacted from a user’s “boutique” and require a wholesale license. Certainly, a user can be a buyer, seller, or both, and price is freely adjustable based on market demands or the anticipation of such.
Sociability is paramount, and as proof of Poshmark’s utilization of a shared community, “Posh Parties” are an inviting virtual fashion fiesta, whereby one might discover and/or list items according to a certain theme, and take part in a domain that encourages entrepreneurial identities to form through trial and error. This cannot have been done without the social media integration and optimization of Poshmark, which allows its users to share items for sale through the Poshmark app, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
The sharing-is-caring model doesn’t just exist online, either, as it has effectively and tangibly manifested where, in the last few years, “Poshers” from all over the country have congregated in Los Angeles for “PoshFest.” This year in early October, over 400 (of whom were primarily women) attended and collaborated on not only informal table discussion over breakfast and lunch, but insights and pointers on how to develop their autonomous businesses as part of a greater collective, which was exemplified by the Poshmark-organized fashion show on the evening of October 1st.
Emceed by Poshmark Marketing Manager, Amanda Weiss, it became quickly apparent why the company, which has raised over 70 million in funds from roughly 13 investors, is growing at an exponential rate. For instance, Poshmark has grown from 1,000 “Poshers” in 2011 to 2 million in 2016; and, better yet, from 500,000 shares all-time in 2014 to 4 million every day in 2016. Ultimately, there is now a sale every two seconds in 2016 – which is more than a 700-percent jump from 2014’s average of a sale every 15 seconds. Needless to say, these statistics are fated to become even more impressive when men’s and children’s clothing/accessories are fully rolled out (as planned), yielding a two-fold impact that includes significantly more products in an already vast Poshmark network, as well as the addition of a sufficient male demographic.
Overall, the reason for Poshmark’s success – in addition to the sheer numbers side of it such as the fact that retailers are shrinking at a rate of nearly 10%, and that the company never has to worry about inventory, just mediation – is the self-sustaining support that the members give each other. Sharing listings creates a systemic and synergistic empowerment among its base, which includes teachers, lawyers, and cancer survivors who have channeled Poshmark’s opportunities to find fulfillment in not only the financial windfall, but the friendships that result.
Although there is a vast variation in age among Poshmark’s mostly female users, most fall between 22 and 35, and are predominantly college-aged or married with children. Nonetheless, the plethora of benefits are similar, encompassing an array of incentives for those among the community or those looking to join.
Examples of such individuals are Abby Hamer, 24, who flew from Round Rock, TX, to be a part of “PoshFest” and was one of the speakers at the extravaganza and Kelly Ross, 30, who travelled from Coeur d’Alene, ID. Both have been beneficiaries of the built-in Poshmark network, earning a significant number of followers. For example, Ross has 270,000 as of this writing, and Hamer has 112,000.
Suffice it to say, the sudden popularity among like-minded fashion lovers is not uncommon, as Hamer can attest to, whose meteoric success transpired in the last year when she went from 2,000 followers to her current number.
“For me, it has been about using social media. I made a second Instagram account just for Poshmark, and I’ve been up to date with writing my own captions for each of my listings, setting my own prices based on the profit margin I want to make, and constantly referring friends (which gifts a $5 credit to both the referrer and refer-ee). In total, I’ve made around $10,000 doing it and having lots of fun at the same time,” says Hamer.
For Ross, who was a “PoshFest” speaker last year, and has accrued nearly 270,000 followers up until now, earning $150,000 in sales, considers her involvement with Poshmark to have “impacted her family in a huge way,” helping to provide her husband and two children with their “dream home.” Though, naturally, the boon provided by the app wasn’t something she expected at first.
“I started selling on Poshmark as a hobby, and I quickly realized I could make a business out of it. I also had no idea how social the app was. I never imagined that one day I would be mentoring other gals, who would quickly become friends. Poshmark is the way to go in my opinion [for aspiring fashion merchants because] you don’t pay shipping fees, and all of the fees that come with owning your own website. Not to mention, they are bringing the traffic to you. For us [my husband and I], a website was a lot of work. Poshmark makes selling items extremely easy and efficient,” states Ross.
Undoubtedly, the main cause for Poshmark’s ease of use is the interconnected empowerment of the app, and it’s something that continues to be the most valuable key point for Ross, whether she’s working from home or attending “PoshFest.”
“The biggest takeaway for me is the relationships I have started to form with other ‘Poshers,'” reflects Ross. “Not only is it great to have other women to connect with who understand your job, but these women will help promote your business and be there for you along the way.”
Ross’ life-affirming beliefs are a reflection of the company’s credo and culture, which are directly espoused by Chandra himself when he asserts that “to be happy, one needs to grow, and find ways to enable the continuous growth engine of personal development. The motivation to grow with fellow members is what drives Poshmark.”
For more information about Poshmark, visit poshmark.com
For Kelly Ross’ Poshmark Closet, please visit poshmark.com/closet/crazyposh
For Abby Hamer’s Poshmark Closet, please visit poshmark.com/closet/abbyhamer