Having launched in 2011, Poshmark was one of the first mobile, community-driven resale shops to hit the App Store. It's grown steadily ever since and now boasts more than one million sellers using the marketplace to both (re)sell their gently worn clothes and buy new ones. And after raising $25 million in Series C funding in April, it's just made its biggest expansion move yet.
A brand-new wholesale portal, which goes live on Wednesday, allows 12 fashion brands to sell new items from their inventory within the app. Sellers that have been prequalified by Poshmark can now buy items from these retailers at wholesale and sell them in their own profiles for a profit. Once a seller buys an item from a brand, the brand receives prepaid packaging in which to send its merchandise to the seller.
Many of the app's amateur sellers are already building substantial businesses with their own merchandise, and the company sees the wholesale portal as a way for them to grow their personal boutiques beyond the items in their closets. "To [the users], it's not just about selling or transacting," Tracy Sun, Poshmark's co-founder and VP of merchandising, tells Fashionista. "It's all about being creative and being able to express themselves. They want to connect with their peers digitally, and they know how to do it. As we've watched them grow, we wanted to extend our platform for them."
To foster the growth of these mobile mini-businesses and jump-start the new wholesale program, the company is also introducing the "Poshmark Fashion Entrepreneur Fund," which will offer financial grants of $500 to 50 sellers as a seed investment for recipients to make their first purchases in the wholesale portal. A panel of judges will select the grant's recipients based on "the most compelling vision for their retail stores in the platform," according to a release.
For the uninitiated, Poshmark's display mimics that of an Instagram, Pinterest or any other social media platform's mobile version. Poshmark encourages interaction, which is why its user profiles include numbers for followers, shares and listings. Some sellers have up to two million followers and 11,000 listings. Clearly, the company hopes brands and retailers will be eager to tap into that influence.
Sun says Poshmark's wholesale portal has been in the plan all along. "The people who heard us give our very first Series A investor pitch can say that this has always been a part of the model," said Sun. "Resale, to us, was our way for women to participate."
There's much more in the works for Poshmark, too, though Sun is staying mum on any specifics. "This kicks off the first of many expansions," she teases. "We have many more in the works. In the last three or four years, we've built a really strong foundation with our sellers, with our buyers and with our technology, and it's now just ready to scale. This will continue to grow and have legs where our sellers can become the largest sales force for the retail industry."