Poshing 101: Poshmark for Beginners

I’m a Poshmark aficionado. A lot of the more enviable items from my closet have come from Poshmark, and I recommend it to all of my friends. The reality is, though, that Poshing comes with its fair share of risk, despite its ad campaign promising “barely worn Louboutin heels” for $100, which quite frankly is patently misleading – you’re not going to find authentic Loubs in good condition for this price, end stop. Any $100 Loubs will be trashed, or fake.

I don’t run a boutique on Poshmark – I just sell items in my own closet that I no longer wear, to make room for cute new things. I thought I’d share my experience in navigating Poshmark waters (mostly) successfully. Here are the pros and cons of the so-called Posh life.

PROS

Please note that items marked with an asterisk will have a counterpoint in the CONS section below.

  1. You will find a lot of what you’re looking for at a discount, sometimes a very steep discount.
  2. You can search by condition and get new or used items.
  3. It will automatically run searches for your feed based on your sizes and favorite brands.
  4. It’s an easy person-to-person sale.*
  5. Unlike Ebay, the buyer pays for shipping.
  6. Most sellers are prompt with shipping, and if they are not, you have the opportunity to cancel your purchase a week later.
  7. Poshmark offers an authentication service for items sold above $500.*
  8. All communication is open – the site/app does not permit private communication.*
  9. Much of what you find will be authentic.
  10. Many/most sellers will offer bundle discounts for multiple items purchased.
  11. YOU CAN NEGOTIATE- both offers and counteroffers.
  12. For the fashionista, you’ll find much better selection than, say, Ebay.
  13. Poshmark requires you to accept your purchase within three days of receipt before they release funds to the seller.*
  14. You can sell luxury items in virtually any condition – someone will want it.*
  15. Poshmark “everyday” sorts of items (like jeans, tees, etc.) tend to go a little more frequently than on Ebay – I think there’s less of a market for everyday wear on the auction site.

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 5.51.33 PM

Check out my recent success – NWT, retails for $208. I count this as a win! All it needed was a gentle press to look gorgeous for work.

CONS

  1. There is a large market for counterfeit handbags and other products on Poshmark.
  2. Poshmark is person-to-person, so corporate is not exactly friendly/helpful for resolving buyer and seller issues.
  3. Poshmark communication takes 24-48 hours and they’re often unwilling to help.
    • I received a Reiss wool blazer that had a sleeve destroyed in transit — Posh insures their mail (and this fell within the brackets of their USPS insurance), but they did very little to help me and didn’t even bother delivering on insurance, even though I thoroughly photographed the damage and the notice from USPS admitting fault (and their saran-wrap patch job). Ultimately they told me to keep the blazer and gave me a $20 credit to just shut me up, but I would have been happier with a full refund. I spent the $20 and a number of hours figuring out repairs. It’s wearable now, but I wasn’t happy with the experience.
  4. Linking to #2 – private correspondence/communication would allow for resolution of sale issues, because Poshmark itself tends to be uncommunicative.
    • For example, I received a 1-star rating from a woman who waited too long to accept/reject the package, then claimed I had misrepresented the sale, even though I had carefully listed and photographed all damage and wear and tear on a high-end pair of boots that required a shoemaker to repair. She had no recourse to return something she wasn’t happy with, and I had no way of privately rectifying an issue with a client without turning into one of those Yelp horror stories of business owners sounding cray-cray and having the buyer post personal information in a public forum.
  5. It’s been argued that Poshmark authentication services are useless- I’ve heard that their so-called concierge authenticators are not properly trained and will seize authentic bags as fake, and will vet replica bags as real.
  6. Poshmark commission rates are a hefty 20%, whereas Ebay’s are 10% (but you pay for shipping on Ebay unless specified in the listing).
  7. Boutique sellers are great if you want fast fashion, but the markup is astronomical for poor quality clothing. Poshmark allows for certain “influencers” to begin wholesaling and starting a business, but it’s unlikely more than a few of these folks turn a living-wage profit, and it requires astronomical work to maintain. Most of the goods are purchased from China, and you can find similar apparel on TaoBao and AliExpress — which in many cases are actually the sources for these items that have sometimes been marked up hundreds, even a thousand percent. No, I’m not exaggerating – I’ve seen an $8 AliExpress dress listed for $99 on a Posh boutique before.
  8. The same way you can sell items in any condition, you can buy in any condition, too… and not every seller is honest/upfront about damage.
  9. Returns are virtually impossible, despite what Posh promises. This is final sale, no matter what.

 

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Caveat Emptor: This bag is a fake. NWT for that steep of a discount doesn’t make sense (Posh takes 20% commission, so this pricing doesn’t seriously benefit the seller, and as such you should question it as a buyer). Seller has only a few “luxury” new with tag items in their Closet, and seller is unresponsive to every single query in comments. Do your due diligence – I can’t find immediate evidence online that the Celine Micro Luggage, even with specialty piping, has an orange heat stamp – most are simply stamped, most embossed with silver and gold. I could be wrong, but the authentic photo they use for the main picture and the photo of the Celine logo (see lower left photo) don’t match. Oftentimes the sale will be cancelled and you’ll be asked to purchase directly from the seller via Pay Pal or Western Union.

So how do you navigate murky Poshmark waters and come out feeling relatively good about your purchases and sales? There are a few tips/tricks I’ve picked up that help.

  1. When possible, buy new with tags. Avoid boutique purchases.
  2. When buying true consignment/pre-owned, inspect photos carefully and thoroughly. Ask the seller for more photos when in doubt.
  3. When making purchases, remember that you can’t return or exchange thing. Be honest with yourself about your sizes and know how the sizing with your favorite brands work.
  4. When purchasing and unsure about sizes, remember that you can resell! Try to shoot for brands and classic designs that you know have good resale potential – brands that sell well and often are Free People, Vince, Joie, Lululemon, Nike, etc. Free People in particular might as well be its own industry on Posh.
  5. Be patient! If you’re selling, you’re not likely to sell a lot immediately after the holidays. You might sell off your handbag collection just before the holidays. You might not sell your winter coat during the summer, or you might not sell a bathing suit in November. You may need to drop your rates a few times.
  6. If purchasing used shoes, inspect soles carefully. Purchase new insoles for yourself for arch support. Use an antifungal spray before wearing for the first time.
  7. Price drop, offer private discounts, and share to Posh Parties regularly. Share to your followers often.
  8. Price compare similar items, what you’re buying and selling. If I see the same Free People jacket, NWT, sold for $45 or $145, guess which one I am going to buy?
  9. Follow as many people who have similar taste as you as possible and share their listings when you can.
  10. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Don’t lowball the seller, which makes them unwilling to work with you. You can reject lowball offers, but if you think they are willing to come up at all, counteroffer to them.
  11. Buy off season. The same way you must be patient as a seller, it’s likely that sellers will be willing to unload off-season items to you for significantly cheaper to get rid of their stock, simply because it’s been sitting in their closet for months. I bought an authentic designer shearling coat mid-summer (when you’re melting from heat, most people don’t consider buying items to stay warm) for $150, new.
  12. Consider visiting higher-end thrift stores periodically to see if there is anything you can turn a small profit on. Some folks make a lucrative business of this, scouring a circuit of stores and professionally cleaning items to mark up and resell. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. For example, I was at a consignment shop and found a pair of Joie jeans that were slightly too small for me, but were new with original tags… for $18. I was able to sell these for $45.
  13. Try to avoid purchasing true luxury items unless you’re confident in your ability to self-authenticate via photos (see photo above). IMHO, not worth your time.
  14. “Like” items and keep them in your “My Likes” for a while. You’ll receive notices whenever prices are dropped (although someone might beat you to the punch, it’s worth it to not spend more than you can comfortably afford– remember, be frugal, not cheap).

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Like everything and monitor! Wait for the right time to buy, and hope for private offers made to you, or public price drops.

 

Poshmark is largely about social networking and getting a taste of what the market is around you. Be patient, be cautious, and do your research before buying. There is no one who wins here besides Poshmark if something goes wrong, so bear that in mind. But if you’re willing to gamble a bit, this is a great way to get things you want at a fraction of the cost.

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