- Poshmark is an online marketplace where people can buy and sell clothing from boutiques or their own closets.
- Suzanne Canon is the first seller on Poshmark to pull in $1 million in sales.
- In May, the company announced that it had paid out $1 billion to its sellers so far.
In 2012, Suzanne Canon decided she wanted to make a quick buck on the side while doing the books for her husband's business. So, she started selling clothes from her closet using an app called Poshmark.
Within five years, 39-year-old Canon has grown from selling on the side to setting up her own wholesale clothing business and being the first Poshmark user to make $1 million in sales on the app.
She now sells goods on Poshmark full-time.
"I don't understand how it happened," she told Business Insider. "I went on the app to make a little money on extra clothes."
Canon is part of a community of four million people using Poshmark to sell secondhand clothing or even pieces they've made themselves.
For some, like Canon, selling on Poshmark has become a full-time job. For others, it is a way to make a bit of cash on the side while they look after a family or keep up their day job.
Sellers only need to upload photos of their items from their phone to the app in order to list them for sale. Poshmark takes a $2.95 commission on all sales under $15. It takes a 20% commission on any sales above $15.
Poshmark was founded in 2011 by Manish Chandra, who is currently CEO of the company. The idea for Poshmark came about as iPhones started to explode in popularity and Chandra realized just how easy he could make the process of selling clothing online.
"It marries technology, fashion, and commerce together," Chandra told Business Insider.
The ease of using the service is one of the most appealing parts of the process, Canon said.
"Our generation is so app-based," Canon said. "I don't think I would have gone for it if I hadn't felt so comfortable with the app."
She added that she had felt overwhelmed by other similar online marketplaces like The Real Real and eBay.
The on-the-go nature of the app means that some buyers and sellers often spend hours each day on Poshmark. The average customer uses it for 25 minutes a day, opening it seven to nine times, according to Poshmark.
Canon admitted she would be on the app for roughly five hours a day when she first started out selling secondhand clothing from her closet and from thrift shops. Now that she runs her own label, Infinity Raine, with her business partner, Tiffany Kroeger, she has two employees to help her with the Poshmark selling process.
Part of the success of Poshmark comes down to the fact that it offers a social shopping experience. Canon has a loyal community of customers — 75% of her sales come from repeat buyers, many of whom she has gotten to know on a personal level.
It is common for Poshmark sellers to post photos of themselves wearing the clothing so that customers can get a sense of what it really looks like. Canon reaches out to the customers she knows personally if she has something she thinks could be suitable for them, and she experiments with different accessories and colors so that they can see complete outfits put together.
"People want to see clothes through people," Chandra said. "It's a very personalized shopping process."
The company has also been helped by a well-timed boom in secondhand clothing sales driven by millennials' desire to buy something unique and different and also be more environmentally conscious.
"The sharing economy is taking off. The stigma around using or shared clothing has gone," Chandra said.
And the constant consumer demand for newness is satisfied by new inventory hitting the site each day. Over $100 million of inventory is uploaded to the website each week, which translates to 14 million items daily.
So far, Canon has generated $400,000 in sales from Infinity Raine and around $700,000 from her closet and thrift-store sales.
So how does she do it all?
"Be prepared to work hard. It's not going to be easy," she said as advice for future sellers.
"But anyone can do what I've done."
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