At the end of last year, I moved. And like so many people who move, I had a lot of junk—sequin tube dresses worn to clubs, souvenir T-shirts that seemed like a good idea at the time—to get rid of to buy even more junk. So I toted bags of gently-worn clothing to my local resale shop where I was told they "don’t buy Gap” and mailed three overstuffed bags full of formerly beloved outfits to the online thrift store ThredUp, where I made a whopping $8.75.
For my more coveted items, I turned to Poshmark, where a faux fur jacket I’d worn maybe twice in college earned me $35 and a skirt I’d bought final sale from J. Crew and promptly hated re-sold for more than I’d paid for it. Reselling my dejected wardrobe was becoming lucrative or at least a seemingly worthwhile use of time compared to facing humiliation and a handful of change at Buffalo Exchange.
Since Poshmark launched in 2011, some four million people have have sold more than a billion dollars worth of goods on it, according to the privately-held company, which is valued at around $600 million. “The key to our success was planted years ago when we decided to launch something more than just a resale platform: a platform to support people to start, run and grow their fashion businesses,” explains Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra.
Unlike eBay, where buyers bid on clothing, Poshmark allows users to curate a virtual “closet,” set prices and join parties where similar items are collected in a digital feed. Poshers have distinct identities and styles and buyers and sellers can interact in a manner more reminiscent of Instagram than auction sites.
Users spend an average of 25 minutes a day on the app, with curated selling events (called Posh Parties) and in-person Poshmark events (like the weekend-long shopping conference, PoshFest) helping to grow the community. You can even become PFFs (Posh Friends Forever) with other members.
Some sellers have even turned their Poshmark boutiques into full-time gigs. As someone who continues to refresh the listing on the sad leather skirt suit I just want to Posh-money for, I was curious, how does reselling clothes on an app that pockets 20 percent of sales lead to a livable salary? Here's what I learned from three different sellers.
How to ring up $1,000 a week in sales on Poshmark
Los Angeles-based seller Tijana Lazic (@tijanala) “poshes” everyday—listing, shipping, and sourcing women’s contemporary clothing to sell on the app. She says she typically sells $1,000 worth of clothes per week and has made over $100,000 since she started selling in late 2015.
“In my pre-Poshmark life, I was a manager for an online boutique, and naturally, I had acquired a lot of clothing that I would periodically sell to local second hand boutiques,” Lazic says. Now, she shops sample sales, warehouse sales, and second hand stores to stock stylish inventory.
“I choose pieces based on quality, brand, style and that special feeling I get when I find the right piece,” she says. She’s also mindful of costs, getting free shipping supplies from the post office and having buyers pay for shipping.
Even part-time Poshing can be lucrative
Denver-based part-time Posher Shiela DeForest (@ex_globetrotter) immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in 2012, leaving most of her friends and family behind. She started using Poshmark as a buyer that year, soon selling clothes “that didn’t work for my new life in Colorado,” she says. To date, says she’s made five figures from selling preloved and new items from her own closet and well as friends’ and family members’ items, ranging from suede booties to Kate Spade bags, Zara tops and embellished kids’ overalls. She recently launched a second account (@amihan_artisans on Poshmark) to sell “handmade items from grassroots communities and artisans from the Philippines.”
DeForest says she spends a few hours everyday in the app, following and sharing listings from other users to attract more attention to her own items. “I love the mobility of having access to the app anytime, anywhere.” It has also helped her feel more comfortable in the US. “I was afraid that it would be hard for me to integrate into the U.S., but this community made my transition much easier,” DeForest says. “It gave an immigrant like me the chance to start over in a new country and make friends, too,” she added.
Her advice to new Poshers: “Success doesn’t happen overnight — there may be days that you just want to give up, but keep your closet out there and a sale might just be around the corner,” she says. “Be true to yourself while finding your niche market, and focus on improving your closet instead of comparing yourself with others.”
Using Poshmark profits to pay off your student loans
Recent college grad Haley Gibbs (@haleys_hanger) originally started selling on Poshmark as college was wrapping up. “I went through my closet and decided to list things that I hadn’t worn in a while, and after having so much fun taking pictures and listing the items, I was hooked,” she says. “I had never sold clothing elsewhere before Poshmark.”
Now a full-time social worker, she says she’s made $25,000 on the app in less than two years and used her profits to pay off her student loans. Madewell, Anthropologie and Free People tops (priced around $25-$35) as well as dresses from trendy brands ($45-65) and as well as a scattering of designer and less expensive items fill Gibb’s digital closet.
"Sell things that you like and be generous. "
Gibbs stocks her closet with women’s clothing, shoes and accessories she hunts for at Goodwill, and says she has “a lot” of repeat buyers, many of whom shop weekly. Regular customers allow her to “keep my eye out for things that they would like and let them know when I list something that I think would look great on them.”
The secret to her success? “Sell things that you like and be generous. Even if someone sends you a lowball offer, don’t get offended—simply counteroffer and try to come to a price that you are both happy with,” she says.
“I think that everyone likes getting things in the mail, so I like to take the time to package my sales in a way that makes it feel like the buyer is receiving a gift from a friend in the mail. It’s such an easy way to brighten someone’s day by mailing a package with love.”
Follow Melissa Kravitz on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.