Lessons I’ve Learned on Poshmark

There are numerous reselling platforms, but this article is specifically about Poshmark, the online reselling website and phone app. I’ve mentioned before how I came to be a Poshmark seller: essentially, I needed to pay off some retail therapy. Whatever your motivation, here are some lessons I learned during my first few months using the platform to sell (mostly) gently used clothing. I hope this information helps you start a smoother Poshmark journey.

Don’t Run Out and Buy A Bunch of Clothes From the Thrift Store

So, this is how I got into this situation, right? I spent too much money shopping. While those thrift haul videos on You Tube are intriguing to watch––I’m obsessed, actually––don’t hurry to your local thrift store to do your own haul until you’ve assessed the situation at home.

What do you already have? List that. Not only is your cost of goods zero (if we forget how much we paid retail for the item), but clearing out your closet is therapeutic.

Poshmark has a men’s and children’s market, as well as a home market. In fact, they’re coming out with new markets every day it seems. It’s all fair game! Don’t let things hang around that might go to a better home and help put gas in your car next month.

Love it or list it? That is the question.

If you don’t think your items are trendy enough or are not name brand, it is okay. List anyway. You didn’t spend money to source them. You are adding items to your closet and getting practice at using the Poshmark platform. Anyway, you will be surprised what people buy and what they don’t buy. A lot of people purchase mall brands, such as J. Crew, Lucky Brand or Chicos, because it’s what they like to wear. I’ve even discovered that certain Old Navy items sell well (in my experience, their Pixie Pants). It’s true that these types of brands don’t sell for much, but sell quickly because of brand name recognition. So, go ahead and gather up what you can and get listing.

List Daily

I recommend listing a few items each day, instead of listing all of them at once. It will keep your closet active in the feeds. If all you can manage is listing one item a day, that’s fine. It can get overwhelming in the beginning, until you develop a system that works for you. I hear of sellers listing a hundred items a day and I look at how long it takes me to list five items, which is my goal, and I am floored (and in no way envious). Just do what feels comfortable to you.

Once you get all of your own items listed, then venture out to see what you can source from your local thrift stores. Ideally, you will use the money you earned selling your own clothing to fund this little adventure.

Brands Matter

My first few hauls, I grabbed several brands I recognized, several I didn’t recognize, thinking about what other people might like. Therein was my mistake. A few months later a lot of those items were re-donated, because they never sold.

To avoid making the same mistake, my suggestion, then, is to identify brands you want to find and take that list with you. If you’re like me and don’t pay attention too much to what is trending, then you will have to do a little research. Watching hauls and What Sold videos on You Tube from successful Poshmark sellers can net a tremendous amount of knowledge about brands that sell well. Take note.

There is talk of curating your closet to fit a particular style of customer. While I think that is an excellent idea, in the beginning focus on identifying brands that sell and then curate later. A simple place to start is to see what brands are allowed in the online parties Poshmark has throughout the day. A small number of brands can be shared in specifically themed parties.

While some of these “posh parties” allow all brands that fit inside a specified theme, others are brand specific. Usually there are about twenty-five brands cited in the guidelines of that particular party. Write those brands down and take that list with you to the thrift store.

Be strong! Until you learn to recognize labels, or identify trends, only buy brands on your list. It might mean you walk out with five items or even walk out with nothing. That’s okay. That is better than spending money on items that will probably sit in your closet for months or, worse, forever.

Of course, if you happen to come across an Alexander McQueen crepe cocktail dress in perfect condition, grab it! Always pick up a luxury brand if you recognize it and there is no damage.

Then bring your items home, give them another close examination, wash, steam, iron or whatever you do, and start photographing.

Take Clear, Bright Photos

People want to be confident in what they are buying. They already know the item is used, so make sure your photos are clear and bright. Take as many photos as you need. Poshmark allows up to eight photos and I try to use them all. Get a full front and back image at the very least.

I like to photograph the tags and close ups of any interesting design details that might help sell the item. It is also equally important, if not more so, to photo any damage to the item, no matter how slight. This includes stains, pilling, pulled threads, any rubbed edges or signs of wear. Photograph these as best you can and mention them in the description of the item.

Price Items to Sell

Don’t worry. It took me about a month to make my first sale and I’m sure this number varies with every individual. Even after that first sale, I went two more weeks without a sale. It takes time. Don’t give up.

Given the nature of the platform, you will generally want to keep your items priced reasonably low, but this is especially important in the beginning when you are competing with veteran resellers who have spent a few years earning their followers. You need sales and reviews if you want your closet to stand out.

So, with that in mind, when pricing an item take in to consideration the following questions:

What did the item retail for?

Customers who purchase on Poshmark are going to the application to find designer clothes for much much less than in a retail store. Be reasonable. If you don’t know the retail price, a quick online search will usually come up with a similar item in that brand and you can estimate the retail value.

Here is a general formula I use as a guide:

  • Retails for less than $50, list for $15-25
  • Retails for $50-100, list for $25-35
  • Retails for $100-200, list for $35-65

This is not a set in stone formula. Something that retails low, but is trending, might list on the higher end; something that retails high, but is out of date, may not even brush the lower end of that scale. It really depends on supply and demand.

What condition is the item in?

Obviously, something that has flaws will need to be priced lower than something with no flaws, or is in like new condition. If I see a flaw in the store, I almost always pass. I don’t have time to mend clothes or work out stains. If I see a flaw when I get home, I swear a lot and then determine if I can fix it quickly. If not, it goes in my reject pile.

Is the item already listed on Poshmark?

Search Poshmark for your item. More important, in my opinion, then the retail price is what similar items are being listed and sold for on Poshmark. This is called comps (comparable prices). You might be surprised to find––like I was––that your vintage 501 Levi High-rise jeans are selling for $75.

If there are already several items listed, you will want to price competitively, on or around the same price point, even if the item retails for much more. The fact is a buyer will buy it as low as they can get it. If the next closet has it listed much cheaper, they are going to buy or send an offer to that person first. I would and you probably would too. This is also why taking good photographs and being descriptive is important. Get all the advantage you can.

When pricing also consider these points:

  • Buyers will often make a lower offer. You can counter if you wish, but my suggestion is to accept all offers unless you have a hot item and know for certain, for certain, you will get a better offer. I still lose sleep over countering the $70 offer on a Stella McCartney dress I paid $8.99 for because I thought I could get it for over a $100. I still have not sold that dress.)
  • You will use the “Offers to Likers” feature. This is also known as a private sale and reengages interested buyers who have viewed and liked your item in the past.
  • You will drop the price. This is also known as a public sale. You will probably do this at least once, even if you put it back to its original price the next day. Who doesn’t love a sale? This is a good way to bring back previous Poshmark customers who have liked an item and who might have been on the fence about buying or might have forgotten about the item.
  • Some customers will bundle multiple items. When this happens, Poshmark has a useful feature where you can offer a discount on multiple items when they bundle.

If your item is priced too low you can not make use of these selling tools without basically giving the item away. Remember that Poshmark takes 20% commission on all items over $15 and a flat $2.50 fee on items less than $15.

Here is an example of how you might price an item if you want to earn $10 above your cost of goods:

$4.99 (cost of goods) + $10 (the minimum profit I want to make) = $14.99

$14.99 + $2.99 (20% Poshmark Fee) = $17.99

Now, consider that you may want to give a 10% discount using Offer to Likers: $17.99 + $1.79 (10%) + $1.80 (minimum shipping discount) = $21.58

Poshmark only lets you do whole numbers, so round that to a nice $22 or, for even more wiggle room, $24.

Ideally, someone accepts your Offer to Likers or sends you an offer for $18 or more. Many times you may find yourself letting items go for less. Sometimes, you’ll get a buyer willing to pay the listed price. It is a bit of a juggling game.

It will take some time for you to get your thumb on the Poshmark pulse, but eventually you will learn what brands sell quickly and what is the best price point to draw your customer in.

Be Descriptive

If you are utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keywords, you will be delighted to see your items pop up as one of the first few images in search engines. Be specific in your titles and in your descriptions and use trending words or phrases, if they fit.

Honestly, you can’t list too much information. It may sometimes sound like a mouthful, but it does help search engines find your item, as well as within Poshmark’s own search feature.

Lastly, list measurements. People will ask for them, so do all of that while you have the item out the first time. You will waste time dragging it out again to list and may lose the sale because of it.

Share Often

Remember when you became a Poshmark member and were asked to select a few brands you like and to follow those brands? You can follow up to fifty brands. When I share my Banana Republic item, it will appear at the top of Banana Republic’s feeds as a newly listed item. For how long, I don’t know. Probably not long, as I imagine a hundred thousand other people are also sharing their Banana Republic items. Nah, its not that bad, but it will only stay near the top for a few minutes at most.

No matter how many followers you have (500 or 50,000), when you share an item it appears refreshed in that brand’s feed, so it shows up in feeds of people who are following that brand. They don’t have to be your follower, so it is okay if you only have a hundred followers. If you are listing top brands, then your items are still being seen by thousands of people.

Take Advantage of Poshmark Parties

Likely, there are more people using the site during these times (at least that is what the Poshmark blog claims). Share to the parties if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t share during that time. Do what you can.

I try to share at least three times a day: early in the morning, mid afternoon, and before I go to bed at the 10 PM EST party. At a minimum, if you want to stay active in the feeds, share once a day.

Don’t Keep Dropping the Price

If an item is not selling, don’t panic. Take a closer look at it. Are the pictures good? Is the description good? Is it priced too high or too low? Is it worth your time to keep sharing it? Sometimes, patience is required to find the right buyer.

So, while occasionally dropping prices is necessary, don’t keep dropping the price each week. You put time into finding, cleaning, photographing and listing that item, so don’t give it away unless you are tired of seeing and sharing it in your closet. Eventually, someone will see the item and like it and buy it, maybe for a lower offer, maybe not. I’ve had plenty of items that sat for weeks with no attention until, finally, someone bought it outright without even making an offer or accepting an “Offer to Likers”.

In the beginning, I dropped my price, then dropped it some more as anxiety grew. There is no need for that. I wish I hadn’t lowered the price of some of my items so much, sometimes taking a loss even, while others I was happy to just make my money back.

Accept the First Offer

In the beginning, it is important to get your sales numbers up and get reviews. Don’t lose a sale over a few dollars. This is another reason I recommend padding the price when you list. Most of my sales are from offers, either Offers to Likers or a customer sending me an offer.

Let’s say I listed my shirt at $24. Someone sends me an offer for $20. That is a no brainer. Accept it. I am in my margin of profit and they are sending an offer that negates shipping costs, for the most part. That will happen a lot.

Now, my goal is to sell the shirt for $18 or more and I get my first offer for $15. Accept it. There is no point––I repeat, no point––in losing a sale for a few dollars. At the very least, you get your cost of goods back and maybe make a few dollars. Maybe you won’t pick up that item, style or brand again. This industry is so fluid. What was in last week is out this week. It’s all part of learning the industry, the customers and the tools you have at hand.

What if my first offer is $10 on the shirt I listed for $24? There are buyers who send in low offers, expecting you to counter somewhere in the middle, however, I have found that most of them walk away from my counter offer. Your response depends on how bad you want to let the shirt go. If I’ve had the item for more than a couple of weeks, I generally accept the offer. It also depends on what the item is, so here you have to use your gut. If you feel like someone, somewhere, is going to want that shirt, counter with your lowest possible offer. They might accept it. They might not.

Let’s say they offer $5 for your $24 shirt. I don’t have time for those people. First, that’s just rude. If they know anything about Poshmark, they know you would only get $2.50 for that sale. I counter with my lowest (if we’re using the aforementioned example, my lowest is apparently $10 that I’m willing to sell the shirt for). If they counter $6, I counter again with $10. I have had that type of person counter with $6 again or $7 and this is the only instance where I decline an offer. I don’t have time for that game.

You Made a Sale!

Poshmark allows three days to ship your products. Get the package shipped as soon as possible. Your stats will reflect your average shipping time and customers want their items ASAP. Plus, the sooner they get their item, the sooner you get paid.

Take Pride in Your Products

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t throw a wrinkled shirt into a crumbled box and send it off to your buyer. Fold and wrap your items nicely. It doesn’t have to look cutesy or fancy and there is no need to write a letter (unless you want to). Use tissue paper or the back of old Christmas wrap (Actually that is a great idea. I’m going to look in my attic as soon as I post this).

Include a thank you card or sticker or even simply write the words “Thank You” on the wrapping paper. There are numerous ways to be thoughtful without breaking the bank.

Poshmark uses USPS Priority mailing and guess what? They will send Priority Mailing boxes to your house for FREE if you order online at the USPS website. I also reuse Amazon boxes.

It’s Work

As any online reseller will tell you, if you want to make money reselling, you have to put in the work. Whether that is a few hours a week or eighty hours a week, you will get back what you put into it. Take pride in your items and others will see their value as well. You took time to source, present, photograph, and list the item so that someone else could browse from their phone and find exactly what they wanted at a deep discount. And, that is added value.