Poshmark challenges the norms of traditional retail

With its community of millions of buyers and sellers, Poshmark offers a new way to buy and sell clothes, leveraging technology to bring the human element to online shopping. The model might seem unlikely; the initial version of the store didn’t even have search functionality, instead emphasizing the social element of the platform. Poshmark connects buyers and sellers directly, so the business has no inventory. What it does offer is community at scale. Since its launch, community took center stage, with virtual live events — “Posh Parties” — bringing buyers and sellers together. “Each of those things were challenging many of the norms out there in terms of how products and people are connected,” founder and CEO Manish Chandra says.

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The idea for Poshmark — a shopping and discovery platform combined with content creation and community building — came to Chandra and his colleagues in 2008, but the technology wasn’t ready yet. With the release of the iPhone 4 in 2010 — a high-resolution camera in people’s pockets — and Instagram, “everything clicked,” Chandra says. The team made a big bet: Poshmark launched as a full retail experience exclusively on mobile phones in 2011.

The bet paid off and a large community of people embraced Poshmark. Chandra says the platform added 500,000 sellers in the last quarter alone. Now, thousands of conversations happen every day, allowing people to build a connection with different products and the people who sell and/or make them. On Poshmark, every seller has the same set of advantages and access to the same technology and services, so the platform appeals to aspiring entrepreneurs with an overflowing closet, boutique owners and large brands alike.

The result is highly engaged buyers and sellers: Average active users today spend 20 to 25 minutes a day on the app, opening it seven to nine times a day; a typical seller on the platform gets 70 to 80 percent of its business from repeat shoppers. Urban shoppers buy from rural sellers as much as rural shoppers buy from urban sellers. “The human element of really connecting the products to people,” Chandra says, “completely changes the nature of merchandise.”


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“Posh” terminology:

  • Posh Markets: subcommunities based on product categories, like sneakerheads, maternity or luxury.
  • PFFs or PoshFriends-Forever: customers who have made strong connections on the platform and regularly meet up in person.
  • Posh Parties: live events that bring sellers and buyers together virtually.
  • Posh Fest: fashion festival which started with just over 100 attendees and grown to over 800.

Listen to the episode to learn more about the passionate community of buyers and sellers on Poshmark and how the accessibility of the platform is creating a new kind of entrepreneur.

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