Side money experiment: selling on Poshmark
August 29, 2016
Background: 2 years ago November, J. Money and I had a quick chat that spawned this post on earning side money and then I started tracking our earnings publicly because it’s always more fun that way. PiC is our resident Craigslister and I’m the resident Try Anything Once-er.
One of my challenges in the Great Wardrobe Curation has been getting rid of clothes that need to exit stage left. They normally still have plenty of wear in them, don’t fit quite right but aren’t worth the cost of tailoring, or that I can’t tolerate wearing any longer, like heels. It doesn’t make sense to keep them and getting both space and money back would be double the fun.
With plenty of encouragement from Penny to give it a try, even with my decidedly unfancy wardrobe, and armed with her quick tutorial, I quickly made up an account on Poshmark and listed a handful of shoes. One pair of heels I’ll hold on to, for faking professionalism until I get better flats, but most of them can go.
At first it didn’t seem like it was meant to be. It took 4 hours to download the app. First, I never remember my Apple ID so downloading isn’t the breeze that it was from my Android. I mean, sure, security but sometimes you just want to be able to get your darn free app! Then it wanted 3 hours to think about downloading. Awesome.
Once the app was running, it was pretty simple to start listing things. They encourage you to list 10-12 items to start but in reality there was no requirement to do that so it seemed like the perfect way to tiptoe into selling a few things at a time. I just can’t commit to a huge overhaul in one go.
I created an account (I loathe creating usernames) and started snapping pictures. It only took 20 minutes to list four items, and most of that time was spent looking up the information and coming up with useful descriptions.
It was easiest to start with shoes since I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. There was immediate beginner’s luck with a rash of sales, and three sales and three weeks later, I’m still waiting for more real nibbles.
What I learned
Most people want to negotiate so set your prices a little higher than you’re willing to sell for. That way you can compromise more.
You don’t need to bargain in the comments, your potential buyers have the ability to make an offer which you can ignore (it expires in 24 hours), counteroffer, or decline. If you decline outright, Poshmark will send you an email suggesting that you counteroffer so that there’s dialogue. Declining the offer means that attempt at a sale is over.
USPS ships you free shipping envelopes and boxes, as Penny had pointed out in her very helpful post. They’re really slow, though, and only ship in packages of 10 items each, so if you’re not dropping by the post office to pick up a box or two, it’s a bit of a commitment.
I’m incredibly impatient. I sold three items in the first 4 days of selling using existing packaging and then it’s been all quiet. After the first sales, I ordered a few basic shipping supplies from USPS and now I have STUFF sitting around the house, waiting to be used. I knew I should have waited!
You’re encouraged to package your sold items nicely. This means wrapping things in tissue paper, and adding a note for your buyer. As an inveterate recycler, I dug into my abundant stash of used tissue paper, sealed them up with thank you labels from one of my last labeling projects, and shipped in repurposed Amazon boxes while waiting for the USPS shipping materials. All were accepted by the buyers quickly and happily.
Speaking of acceptance, the buyers have 3 days after the package delivery to officially accept your shipped product or to file a report if they feel it didn’t match the selling description. You should be really specific about your items to make sure that your buyers know what they’re getting. I take pictures of any possible flaws for the item profile to be sure.
As a seller, you’re given a week to ship, but they like you to ship sooner. I didn’t have a problem with shipping within 2 days since I’m selling such low volume.
Total earned: $37
I won’t say this is a flop, it’s only been a few weeks, even if it feels longer. The early success certainly raised my expectations unrealistically – I always knew that I didn’t have a ton of saleable items but it was worth the try. Other than the Poshmark fee which I wouldn’t have paid if I didn’t make money myself, and some time obsessing over pictures and listings, I didn’t lose anything.