The ultimate guide to earning 6 figures on Poshmark, according to star sellers who've done it and gained boatloads of customers
Poshmark is an online resale marketplace and app designed to make selling clothing an approachable side hustle. Some Poshmark entrepreneurs have turned their shops into full-time businesses that earn six figures. Business Insider spoke to three sellers who made more than $100,000 in sales on Poshmark. They gave tips for finding the right products, writing listings, setting prices, and gaining customers. Click here for more BI Prime content.
All it takes to start a Poshmark business is your phone and an overcrowded closet. The online resale marketplace and app makes it accessible for anyone to buy and sell preowned clothing on their phones. But the most successful entrepreneurs aren't just selling old clothes they've "Marie-Kondoed" from their lives — they've forged relationships with wholesale suppliers, gained thousands of followers, and branched out on their own. Business Insider spoke with three Poshmark sellers, or "Poshers" as they're known in the community, who scaled their shops and earned six figures selling on the app. Shannon Welch shops at thrift stores to resell top brands like Free People and Anthropologie, and made $127,000 in sales last year. Elaine Ratner buys, styles, and sells wholesale clothing and has made $1 million in sales since starting her Poshmark shop and subsequent ecommerce site. Shannon Jean, a former tech-business owner, sells designer handbags on Poshmark, eBay, and Tradesy as just one of his multiple businesses. He said he sold about $500,000 last year and estimated that 70% of those sales came from Poshmark. Here are the nine ways they use the app and their tips for making it a successful full-time business. But before we get started, a few terms to know if you've never used Poshmark before:
Posh, is an abbreviation for "Poshmark." Posher, is anyone who creates an account on Poshmark and uses the app. Closet, is a Poshmark seller's online store where they list items for sale. Bundle, is when a seller groups multiple pieces together in one listing.
If you have created a successful side-hustle or six-figure business on Poshmark and would like to share your story, please email email@example.com. SEE ALSO: How entrepreneurs use apps like Poshmark to turn side hustles selling clothes into full-time gigs earning 6 figures or more MUST READ: The millennial cofounders of a phone-case startup reveal how they contact and work with 'micro-influencers' on Instagram to hype their products and boost annual sales to $10 million Sell brands that people are searching for
When Jean started selling designer handbags, he didn't have any prior knowledge of fashion. So he researched what brands would do well and which styles people would buy. Any time he considers buying a new item or brand from his suppliers, he looks at what's been sold on the platform before. "This is a really emotional purchase for my customer. But for me, it's very data driven," he said. He searches the product by style number or brand and how many have sold in the last 90 days. It helps him set a price and estimate velocity of sales. "If it's selling one bag a month of this brand, I can't buy that bag," he said. "But if they're selling hundreds of them in a month, then I can buy it." Welch said 75% of her closet is Free People, which she said most of her customers are looking for because of the brand's cult following. "Kind of my fault because I just really love that brand, but it also sells really well," she said. Research prices based on similar sold listings
It's key to price your listings reasonably on Poshmark — which may be different from other marketplaces or the suggested retail price. The Poshmark community calls this critical step looking for "comps," or comparing a potential piece to ones selling on Poshmark. "So if you pick up an item at the store and you're not sure if you should buy it or not because of the price or the style or whatever, you look it up on Poshmark and see what other people have sold it for," Welch said. Mark up your items to discount them later
Poshmark sellers are looking for good deals, especially since so much of the market is resale, vintage, and preworn. Ratner said she marks up most of her clothes. "It gives me room to put it on sale and also make my money back. I have actually not lost any money on Posh," she said. Jean said he typically prices his bags at 56% off the original retail price. "I can maximize my return and still move a good volume of product," he said. His listings can vary, but he's found a sweet spot between $360 to $400 per bag. "If they don't sell, I just start lowering the price," he said. Once an item sells, Poshmark provides a free shipping label and takes 20% of sales $15 or more. For sales under $15, Poshmark charges only a flat rate of $2.95. Good photos are a must, but can be easy to take
In order to stand out in the Poshmark feeds, good images are essential. They establish credibility and give your entire closet an overall theme, so it feels like a unique store. But high-quality photos are less about the resolution or technicality and more about the styling and props. Many poshers take well-lit phone selfies or lay the product flat on a clean backdrop. Welch takes all her original photos against a plain white wall in her dining area that gets a lot of natural light. "It does make it look clean, and it makes the actual item pop," she said. And if it's a rainy, cloudy day, she waits for a sunnier day to take the best photos. "I model all on my own items because using stock photos just makes you blend in with the crowd," she said. She sets her iPhone up on a tripod to model an outfit, uses a Bluetooth clicker to snap the right shot, then edits the photo with a filter. Keeping a consistent style maintains the look of her closet that draws her customers. "It's very easy for them to find several things," she said. For the items she can't model — like accessories or clothing that aren't her size, she lays them against on a white background like a brick wall or marble tabletop. Ratner also takes all her photos in the same spot, but her backdrop has a signature style she intentionally incorporated into the minimalist-elegance theme of her closet. She models her pieces in front of a white couch and standing plants that look like they were dipped entirely in white paint. You can catch a glimpse of a glass chandelier hanging in the background of most of her listings. "I'm always selling a complete outfit. It makes it easier for the consumer to visualize themselves in it," she said. Establish a style you'll become known for
Poshmark may own the platform you're selling on, but you have control over establishing your own "brand." Maintaining a consistent look and feel to your shop can help you become known for a particular style or product, thus growing your following and boosting sales. "I've treated my closet to a specific customer and ideal," Welch said. "So I know that certain things will sell well and fast and for decent profit." Don't just list anything you can make a quick buck on. If you establish a following for selling certain brands, stick to those brands. If you set yourself apart in the way you style your clothing, don't veer too far from that. Many sellers stand out when they only list what they would wear themselves. Ratner said her customers, who she calls clients, trust her as their own online stylist and often look to the products she posts as a full outfit they want to replicate. "I got to know my clients, I got to know their family, their kids what they do, actually got to know their style, their favorite colors, their sizes," she said. When she lists a new item, she'll tag specific clients she thinks will like it. "I think that's why they keep coming back to me because they feel that not only am I their personal stylist, I'm also a friend they can trust when I'm selling," she said. Quick shipping = customer happiness
Today, customer satisfaction is dominated by two-day shipping, thanks to Amazon and the many companies that have followed suit. Now speedy shipping is not only expected, but it's almost a given. Welch ships orders on a daily basis and said that fast delivery keeps her customers satisfied. "I try to keep the communication as open and active as possible to make sure they know what's going on and that they're happy with their item," she said. Bundle several items to save on shipping
Bundles on Poshmark are like value packs, offering sellers a way to move more product and appeal to bargain shoppers, similar to a "two for the price of one" discount. The buyer gets a deal and the seller only pays one shipping fee. Welch offers bundles to customers who leave a review on their order. She said these bundles make her customers feel appreciated and more likely to come back. "People really like that they're able to do that so easily in my closet and save them money," she said. Engage with fellow 'Poshers' and tap into community support
Sellers say the Poshmark community is incredibly collaborative and friendly — something the founders baked into their ethos when they started the company. "They have these four pillars within the company that really encourage everybody being kind, and being themselves and putting themselves out there," Welch said. Those who are not willing to help others aren't as successful. "The more you're willing to help other people, the more trust you gain within the community and the more people respect you. So you do become more successful in your sales as well," she said. Poshmark even keeps score of how much you promote others. Sellers can become "ambassadors" by sharing at least 5,000 items from other Poshers' closets (essentially like "retweeting" on Twitter) and posting "love notes" (comments or reviews) on listings. Then there's the off-site community. There are countless Poshmark-centric groups on Facebook, where sellers ask for advice about brands that sell and feedback on dealing with customers. The subreddit "/poshmark" has more than 19,000 followers and top discussions cover tips for shipping and questions about coveted vintage items. When Welch first started her Poshmark closet, sales were slow and it worried her. But she turned to other sellers in the Poshmark community on Instagram who encouraged her and told her it was only a slump and things would pick up. "That really was a major turning point in all of this for me, finding other people that were going through the same thing and realizing that it's not just me, I'm not doing something wrong," she said. You get what you put into it
Poshmark's appeal is that it can be either a low-lift side-gig to earn some extra cash, or it can become an all-consuming full-time business to make a serious profit. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Ratner said it takes a lot of patience and work. "It takes a lot of time to build something. So I guess the more hours you put into it, the more results that you're going to get," she said. New sellers may be tempted to sell what's making everyone else successful, but Ratner said that's a big mistake. "I hate selling what someone else is selling," she said. "Don't sell what other people are selling. Sell something that is not on the market." It took Jean a year to find the right suppliers for his handbag business — he reached out to people on LinkedIn and Facebook, asked people to coffee, and was persistent until he got some leads. Now Jean has written a book about Poshmark and hosts a weekly small business podcast. When people hand him the excuse that they don't have time to start a business, he passes on his unyielding approach: "Well, do you watch TV? And they go, 'Yeah,' and I say, Well don't watch TV, then you'll have time." If you have created a successful side-hustle or six-figure business on Poshmark and would like to share your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Amazon employees say they used data from third-party sellers to help the company make its own competing products (AMZN)
In a story Thursday from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon employees said they accessed data from...In a story Thursday from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon employees said they accessed data from third-party sellers to make competing products under the company's private labels. The data employees accessed reportedly allowed Amazon to single out which products had the best earning potential, how to price their private-label products, and what product features they should copy. Amazon has long insisted it doesn't use sellers' data, a claim it's reiterated in testimony to Congress in response to multiple antitrust probes. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Amazon employees say they have used data from third-party sellers to inform their production of competing products, bucking the company's long-standing claims to Congress and regulators that it doesn't. More than 20 former Amazon employees said they had collected and accessed individual sellers' information to figure out which products they should make under its private labels, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. One Amazon employee said it was "standard operating procedure" for workers to pull non-public data that could give the company insight on how to price items and which ones would give them the highest earning potential. These claims are in direct contrast with what Amazon has long insisted. Amazon has consistently denied it engages in the practice of collecting data from third-party sellers, even in response to criticism from politicians and investigations from antitrust regulators. In a hearing in front of Congress in July 2019, an Amazon executive denied that the company used seller data to help favor its own products on the platform. In response to the story in the WSJ, Amazon told Business Insider the company has launched an internal investigation into the claims. "We strictly prohibit our employees from using non-public, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch," an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider. "While we don't believe these claims are accurate, we take these allegations very seriously and have launched an internal investigation." Amazon has responded to past criticism by emphasizing that its private-label brands make up only 1% of sales on the platform. However, former executives told the WSJ that they were told Amazon's private-label brands should make up 10% of retail sales by 2022. Amazon's private-label business includes more than 45 brands, including AmazonBasics, Amazon Collection, and Amazon Essentials. Currently, Amazon is fielding antitrust probes over its use of data not only from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, but also from the European Union's competition commissioner. Amazon dominates the e-commerce marketplace, and accounted for nearly 40% of online sales in the US in 2019, according to eMarketer. Disclosure: eMarketer is owned by Axel Springer, the owner of Business Insider.SEE ALSO: Selena Gomez filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming a gaming company used her likeness without her consent Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
Amazon sellers are reeling from unexpected spikes and declines in sales as consumers stock up on...Amazon sellers are reeling from unexpected spikes and declines in sales as consumers stock up on items like food, toys, and fitness items while cutting back on non-essentials. During a webinar on March 19, Laura Meyer, the founder and CEO of Amazon-focused ad agency Envision Horizons, outlined steps sellers can take to survive turbulent sales. For sellers seeing spikes in sales, Meyer said she recommends buying Amazon ad formats like mobile video and sponsored brands that run in search results. Amazon is also halting third-party shipments of non-essential items through April 5. For sellers that move to fulfilling their own orders in the interim, Meyers suggested pulling back ad spend because items will not be eligible for Prime shipments. Click here for more BI Prime stories. The past few weeks have been rocky for Amazon sellers. As coronavirus spreads across the US and orders for items like food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper rise, some sellers are struggling to keep up with demand while other sellers are struggling to sell less-essential products like clothing. Laura Meyer, the founder and CEO of the Amazon-focused ad agency Envision Horizons, recommends sellers that are seeing extreme growth spend more on ads that zero in on keywords that are driving traffic to a page. But she warned sellers against placing higher bids for ads because it can hurt performance. "Open the budgets for what's working, don't limit them and be on top of any well-performing campaign that seems to go out of budget mid-day," Meyer said during a webinar with sellers on March 19. She said she's advising clients to use Amazon's mobile ad formats that show more creative than Amazon's core text ad formats. Meyer recommended clients buy Amazon's mobile video ads and sponsored brand formats that appear in search results. For sellers like grocers and food brands that are rapidly moving through inventory, Meyer recommended pulling back on ad spend to better manage demand. In addition to sales of household items, she said that products like toys, fitness equipment, and beauty products including hair, skin and nail are increasing from people who are bored and stuck in their house. "It's really varying across categories," she said. Meyer quickly polled webinar attendees about their sales during the webinar. 33% of attendees said that they have seen a significant increase in sales over the past week while 15% said that they have seen a significant decrease. Meyer's clients include Stomp Rocket, a STEM toy for kids, and Oxygen Plus, a wellness product that helps with breathing after workouts. Amazon's fulfillment changes will also change Amazon Prime for sellers On March 17, Amazon said that it would stop accepting third-party shipments of nonessential items to prioritize items like health and household products and baby products for sellers that used the Fulfillment by Amazon program. Amazon also plans to hire 100,000 warehouse workers to help get with the ordering surge. In the interim, Meyer said that non-essential sellers should consider Amazon's fulfillment by merchant program where sellers ship their own products, but said that pricing can be more expensive than the logistics contracts that sellers get from shipping items to Amazon's warehouses. Sellers that ship products on their own are also not eligible for Amazon Prime. Sellers like Amazon Prime because it helps promote products to a wide audience and offers consumers free shipping. Meyer said that conversion rates for ads that promote non-Prime items are typically lower than ads that promote Prime items and suggested that sellers who have to sell their own items in the coming weeks pull back on advertising. She also said that Envision Horizons is working with sellers to ship inventory through Amazon's small parcel program once the ban ends on April 5, which helps speed up how fast Amazon checks in products. Meyers said that she expects that check-in times for inventory will be long once Amazon starts accepting non-essential items again, similar to the check-in times for big shopping days like Prime Day and the holidays. "This is the plan B that we recommend for the time being," she said.SEE ALSO: Amazon to stop accepting all products other than medical supplies and household staples to its warehouses amid coronavirus crisis — read the memo it just sent sellers Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The rise and fall of Pan Am
Amazon is trying to combat sellers who find products in the trash, clean and shrink-wrap them, and sell them to oblivious shoppers
Amazon sellers have been offering items sourced from the trash, according to the new report from...Amazon sellers have been offering items sourced from the trash, according to the new report from The Wall Street Journal. The Journal found sellers who admitted to dumpster diving, and also ran a successful experiment where it set up its own Amazon store offering items its reporters found in the trash. In response, Amazon has updated its policy to forbid selling items that came from the garbage. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. It turns out you really can buy just about anything on Amazon — even garbage. That's according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal's Khadeeja Safdar, Shane Shifflett, and Denise Blostein, who not only found sellers offering items sourced from the trash, but were able to set up their own Amazon store with products they found in dumpsters. Amazon sellers the Journal spoke with described finding discarded items, cleaning them and sometimes shrink-wrapping them to look new, and putting them up for sale on Amazon's website. One seller told the Journal he sold products like humidifiers and keyboards that were salvaged from dumpsters for over a year through Amazon Prime. To test the rigors of Amazon's screening process for itself, the Journal sent reporters dumpster diving behind stores like Michaels and Trader Joe's, finding new or unopened items they could resell on Amazon — and it worked. The Journal was able to sell multiple items through Amazon, including a jar of Trader Joe's lemon curd. In response to the Journal's reporting, Amazon updated its policy to specifically forbid sellers from offering items that came from the trash, which it said "has always been inconsistent with Amazon's high expectations of its sellers and prohibited by the Seller Code of Conduct on Amazon, which requires that sellers act fairly and honestly to ensure a safe buying and selling experience." "Sellers are responsible for meeting Amazon's high bar for product quality," an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider. "These are isolated incidents that do not reflect the high quality customer experience provided by the millions of small businesses selling in our store every day. Any negligent and potentially illegal activity by a few bad actors is unfair to the vast majority of exceptional sellers. We have expanded the scope of our existing supply chain verification efforts including increased spot checks of source documentation to ensure seller compliance with our policies. We will take appropriate action against the bad actors involved, including possible legal action." This isn't the first time Amazon's moderation process has been called into question. Earlier this year, another Journal investigation found more than 4,000 items for sale on the platform that had been "declared unsafe by federal agencies." Of those products, about half of them were toys and medications that were missing labels warning of health risks. Part of the reason why these issues run rampant is the sheer scale of Amazon's seller platform: the company says more than 50% of its total unit sales come from independent sellers. While Amazon polices items for sale using "a combination of artificial intelligence and manual systems," it told the Journal, the sheer volume of items means some products — even those from a dumpster — are bound to slip through the cracks. Read the full report over at The Wall Street Journal.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk unveil his latest plan for conquering Mars