It’s been close to a decade since serial entrepreneur Manish Chandra assembled a dream team of fashion and technology insiders — in his home garage, no less — to help him create and launch Poshmark. Now — amid a drawn-out retail evolution, bolstered by digital disruption and rapid shifts in consumer habits — the company is firing on all cylinders.
The social selling platform announced this week that it has managed to double the amount it paid out to seven million “Seller Stylists” in just one year — shelling out around $2 billion to its community of sellers. That’s compared to the $1 billion milestone that Poshmark hit just over one year ago.
And even though the platform has, to date, raised nearly $160 million in funding, hit the elusive unicorn status with a reported $1.25 billion valuation and counts 50 million registered users among its growing selling-buying base, Chandra has remained in full-fledged start-up mode. (Poshmark’s sellers transact with both new and used items.)
“We’re still working very hard,” Chandra told FN, just moments after stepping off stage to deliver remarks to about 200 Poshmark users who gathered at the Grand Hyatt in New York last month for a “Posh Party Live.” Poshmark had launched the city-to-city event series in 2018 as a way to celebrate its community members across the country.
While he’s well aware of the near stroke of luck Poshmark achieved by getting ahead of the resale market boom in 2011, Chandra — who is on his second successful business — has staked his career on creating, predicting and leveraging major fashion technology trends. In 2005, Chandra launched social shopping pioneer Kaboodle in 2005, and she sold it to Hearst in 2007.
“One of the ways I always challenge some of the new [employees] who join Poshmark is to say ‘what happens in fashion if we all stop wearing clothes?” Chandra said. “What if these clothes we’re wearing are just imagined through a chip technology where they’re virtually projected? Think of the future of fashion in that world where fashion becomes completely digital. What happens then?”
According to a 2019 trend report from ThredUp, the resale market is worth $24 billion today and is expected to hit $51 billion by 2023 — with a growth rate 21 times that of traditional retail. What helps set Poshmark apart — other than tennis superstar Serena Williams joining its board of directors last month — is its innovative in-app Wholesale Market that connects fashion brands directly to its massive network of “seller stylists” who are using their social influence to drive sales. It also holds zero inventory, but, instead, connects millions of sellers and buyers, who correspond and transact with the $100 million worth of inventory uploaded to the platform every week.
Poshmark, which launched the home category this summer, collects a 20% commission on each sale; the commission covers backend logistics including payments, shipping and customer service.
(An earlier version of this story appeared in the Sept. 2 . print issue of FN.)
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