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One night inRachel Petersen was up at 3 am, trying to rock her six-month-old daughter to sleep. She was exhausted. In the morning she would start another hour shift as a nurse at a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But more than fatigue, she felt overcome with worry and stress.
She had worked part time at the hospital for seven years without a raise. Meanwhile, they had an older child, a toddler, who was beginning to show signs of autism. As she sat in the rocking chair in the dark nursery, she scrolled through Instagram on her phone, where her eyes alighted on the hashtag resellerrevolution. She saw post after post of women bragging about flipping thrift-store clothing for a profit. The women struck her as independent and in control of their lives.
Many of them were using a platform called Poshmark and tagging their posts girlboss and poshboss. She fell down the rabbit hole, until two hours later, when she left to start her shift at the hospital. That day, she used every break to look at more posts. She had credit cards to pay off and a glimmer of an idea that her three huge bins of ill-fitting clothing could help. After spending a couple of months learning about designer brands and taking note of trends and prices on the site, she tried listing her own used items.
Then she started buying more clothing to sell from nearby thrift stores.
She was a natural. A year later, she quit her two jobs and went all in on Poshmark.
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Petersen had stumbled into a growing trend. Several companies now help people sell their old clothes online, but Poshmark, a San Francisco—based startup, is the biggest of the bunch. It has 60 million registered users, mostly women, living in nearly every US zip code. Some women claim to earn tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through it. When entrepreneur Manish Chandra started Poshmark inhe envisioned the app as a marriage of Facebook and eBay—a shopping-oriented social network.
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The echo is intentional. The app grew quickly. Other retail sites, such as ThredUp, Vestiaire Collective, and The RealReal, buy used clothes from consumers and then authenticate and resell it. On Poshmark, users do all the work themselves—but in return, sellers can make more money off each item they sell.
Advertisement Petersen quickly distinguished herself on Poshmark with her lush photography and distinctive branding.
She set up a photo shoot space in her bedroom with a backdrop and ring light. She spent time editing the photos so they were bright and white, adding in her favorite flowers, peonies. She made YouTube videos and built how to make bitcoin legally Instagram presence.
Eventually she started driving two hours to Nashville and Atlanta, kids in tow, to rifle through Goodwill clearance bins. She enjoyed the thrill of the hunt.
Rachel Petersen quit her job as a nurse to sell used clothing on Poshmark full time. Portrait courtesy of Rachel Petersen Poshmark belongs to the ranks of companies that speak to a missing element in the labor market.
But as Petersen discovered, there was only one problem: the hours. She estimates she spent 16 hours a day, seven days a week, fully engaged with the app. Her home was a mess, with bins overflowing with clothing and accessories.
There was packing and shipping to be done. She slept between 2 am and 6 am.
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Her husband sometimes watched the kids while she thrifted. It was a triumphant milestone. She made a YouTube video with tips on how to make more sales. But her exhaustion was hard to hide, even behind her perfect makeup. In the video, her smile is a bit too stiff. In a recent speech, Chandra, the founder, reinforced the emotive messaging. Poshmark is not just an ecommerce platform, like eBay, Shopify, or Amazon.
Sellers who engage aggressively with the app are more likely to get noticed by shoppers and therefore close a sale.
Poshmark and its sellers promote an image of female entrepreneurship. Sharing is basically a marketing tool for sellers, and it takes time to do. Participating sellers have to be on the app answering questions and negotiating offers.
To make sales day after day, sellers end up having to take multiple pictures of every item they list, answer questions from potential buyers within 24 hourshaggle with shoppers over the price, reach out to shoppers who like their listings, do market research on the price, and promote their listings on Instagram.
Of course, if you want to be in charge of your own business, you have to put the time in to market it. Most is it fashionable to make money on the Internet the women who have decided to make a go of selling on Poshmark understand that.
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But there was one quirk of the app that seemed especially pointless: To get noticed, sellers found they had to reshare all of their own listings to their own feed. One by one.
Every day. By Nitasha Tiku Poshmark sellers have been complaining about the menial, time-intensive aspects of the app for years. Sharing first thing in the morning. Poshmark says that some of its most successful full-time sellers are people who sell so-called 'boutique' items, which is it fashionable to make money on the Internet they get their inventory new, often from Amazon or Asian wholesale websites. She works 40 hours a week. Some women say they value the flexibility and freedom of running a digital store on Poshmark, even if their income is modest.
Poshmark says one out of five US sellers on the platform self-identifies as a full-time Posher. But when sellers post about options trading strategy reviews success on the platform, they usually share only their gross revenue, not their profit after expenses nor the hours they put in to get there.
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When a would-be seller asked on Reddit for advice on how to go full time, the answers were disappointing. I do this almost every day