With fashion being ranked 4th in pollution by industry. It’s no wonder people are looking towards second hand clothing to lessen their support of it. With the Covid-19 pandemic opening more people up to thrifting, online marketplaces like Poshmark are thriving. But is Poshmark the eco-friendly answer to an industry pushing fast fashion? Let’s walk through what Poshmark has to offer. The good, the bad, and the weird.
What is Poshmark?
Started in May 10 2011, Poshmark is a publicly traded online marketplace dealing in a vast majority of fashion items. From shoes and jeans to shirts and jackets. If you want it, you can bet someone on Poshmark is selling it. It carries all major brands including Jordan and Louis Vuitton. It also carries niche items like obscure bathroom products and electronics. Poshmark operates in the US, Canada and Australia with independent sellers making up the majority of its merchants.
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Is Poshmark eco-friendly?
Yes, Poshmark is eco-friendly. Poshmark, like most online marketplaces, helps items stay in circulation. Instead of throwing away that sweater that is too small for you, that covid weight affected all of us, you can put it on Poshmark and try to make a quick buck. There are an estimated 9 billion clothing items that are hardly worn just sitting in closets around the world. Those items could make you money and complete another person’s outfit.
It’s a win, win.
For more in our Is It Eco Friendly? Series check out:
Is Silicone Eco Friendly? Here’s What the Research Says
Fast fashion and the fashion industry
Fashion is a beautiful industry built on terrible practices. Fast fashion is one such practice.
Fast fashion is the business practice of hopping on trends. It goes like this. A big fashion show occurs, the clothing producers make similar items that consumers invested in the industry then go and purchase. Then by the next fashion show the old items are “out of style” and thrown away or closeted. Never to be touched again.
This enormous waste only adds to an industry that has doubled in production since the early 2000’s and is projected to triple by 2050.
An industry that:
- Uses 93 billion metric tons of clean water each year- about half of what Americans drink annually.
- Produces 1.2 million metric tons of CO2 each year- in 2018 that was more than France, Germany and the UK combined.
- Is extremely reliant on fossil fuels.
- Polyester is a form of plastic.
- Majority of packaging plastic
Benefits of thrifting
Thrifting could not have benefited more from the pandemic lockdown. People with less money, more time and the internet bolstered marketplaces like Poshmark. Armed with tips from all over the internet, there were over 36 million thrifters in 2020. Thrifting doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. It’s become more than a trend, it’s a mindset shift compared to the old way.
25% of people say they are over wearing the latest trends compared to pre-pandemic. Keeping up to date with the latest styles is no longer a must. People are learning that what makes you feel good is all that matters. Not an arbitrary date or season.
This mindset change has major implications for the environment. Used clothing items have a reduced carbon footprint of 82 percent when compared to new. They also use 8 times less energy and 65 times less water. Yes you heard me.
65 TIMES LESS WATER.
While eco fashion brands are beginning to gain traction, thrifting is still the #1 way to be green and fashionable.
What problems does Poshmark have?
Low balling and resellers
A quick peruse of the Poshmark online groups and you will see many complaints of buyers offering less than 50% of asking price for clothes. This annoys the seller and sabotages the deal in the process. The buyer’s thought process is that those selling just want items out of the house. Which in some cases is true.
But people also use Poshmark to make a living. It’s no longer completely friendly bartering, there are people looking to create a consistent income. Some find great deals in person to sell online and some find deals on Poshmark. The second group then relist the items at a ridiculous mark-up. Sometimes minutes after the deal goes through.
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It’s not all swindlers and sharks looking to prey on newcomers. But it’s something to keep in mind.
Speaking of swindlers, Poshmark had an issue with price gouging during the pandemic. Price gouging is selling necessary items at a ridiculous markup. This usually happens during an emergency. We all heard the horror stories of people buying massive amounts of toiletries and sanitary products during the pandemic. Only to resell them at insane prices online. Poshmark was one such market place where this occurred.
While Amazon and others cracked down on this practice. Poshmark slid under the radar and allowed this to occur. Now their official statement on price gouging is:
“[price gouging] is strictly prohibited on Poshmark for essential items. Sellers listing such essential items must offer them at reasonable prices and are prohibited from unreasonably profiting from increased demand or disrupted supply caused by emergencies or disasters”.
It is unknown when this went into place. Though it was recent enough that people had already profited off the pandemic.
Buyers are nudged not to take the asking price.
This is a small but important issue. As you can see below the biggest options for making an offer are for below asking price. For more pricey items it’s understandable but when you’re selling something for 20$ and the marketplace is pushing for them to offer up to 15% off . It makes those items more of a hassle to sell.
In October of 2021 Poshmark opened its virtual doors to large brands. In a blog post Poshmark Founder and CEO Manish Chandra had this to say.
“We are thrilled to open our social marketplace more widely to brands, empowering them to build loyal, lasting connections with a coveted audience, tap into a new sales channel, and bring shoppers the kind of personalized service that is all too rare in ecommerce”
A lot of buzz words for them saying “ We are letting the big boys in the marketplaces because they will sell more items. Which will make us more money”.
There has been some concern that this defeats the whole purpose of Poshmark. If these big brands can offload their merchandise it pushes a lot of smaller sellers out. Essentially making it an extension of their website. However this hasn’t been the case. Most big brands haven’t made their own closets. So this hasn’t been a big issue yet.
Poshmark is a publicly traded company so their main focus is to consistently perform for investors. This inevitably leads to questionable choices.
Shipping is also a major pain point in the Poshmark community. One, that has only gotten worse with world conditions.
Since Poshmark operates in a few select countries most shipping happens by truck. The trucking industry at the moment is being crippled by diesel prices. Which at the time of writing this is at an average of $5.042 in the US. At this time last year it was $3.083. A 61 percent increase.
While Poshmark tries to keep a consistent shipping fee, they have had to raise it occasionally. The most recent raise was from $7.11 to $7.67. It doesn’t seem all that bad but if shipping continues its costly trajectory the simple items you would want to buy could stop being worth selling. Because the margin is too low for sellers.
How to sell on Poshmark?
Hopefully I haven’t scared you away from using the site. Poshmark, for all its little flaws, is a big asset to sustainability and thrifting. Here’s how to start selling on Poshmark.
If you have used any online marketplace, Poshmark works the same as them.
- You upload some pictures
- fill in the required description boxes
- Set your price
- Decide the shipping. You have a few options.
- No discount
- Discount between 1.50 and 2.70
You can also be a host of a posh party. Posh parties are a virtual gathering on Poshmark. Poshmark itself decides the theme and invites Posh Ambassadors to host it. The ambassadors then look around the site to find items they like that fit the theme. The host can also show up to 10 of their own items. The items are showcased by whoever decided to join the posh party.
Before you can host a party you need to apply to become an ambassador. Here are the guidelines.
- Community shares: Share at least 5,000 items from other posher closets
- Self-shares: Share at least 5,000 items from other posher closets
- New Poshers shares: Discover and share items from at least 50 new closets
- Available listings: Have at least 50 available listings in your closet
- Listings Sold: Make at least 15 sales
- Average Rating: Have an average rating of at least 4.5 star
- Average ship time: have an average ship time of fewer than 3 days
- Leave at least 1 love note for another posher
It is debated as to whether posh parties benefit the host in terms of sales. But they definitely help you get eyes on your closet.
Is Poshmark better than eBay or Mercari ?
Should you use Poshmark over eBay or Mercari? For a small sample of what to expect I checked out each site’s adidas shoe collection. Here’s what I found:
Poshmark generally had lower priced shoes. With a random high priced one sprinkled in. These are usually gently used or new.
eBay has generally mid-priced, brand new items. Until you get to the collectible section where the price skyrockets.
Mercari is mostly high priced collectable footwear with a few lone low priced items.
Now this is not applicable to every item type but gives you an inkling of what you could see.
A quick comparison
Here is a comparison of some of these marketplaces:
- Shipping: Flat 7.67.
- Item Types: Mainly apparel
- Marketplace’s Cut: Sales under $15; $2.95. Over $15: Flat 20% of item listing price.
- Shipping: Depends on the item.
- Item Types: Everything
- Marketplace’s Cut: 12.9% up to $7,500. 2.35% over $7,500.
- Shipping: 3-tiered system
- Item Types: Everything, but pricey
- Marketplace’s Cut: 10% of item price
Is Poshmark good for living a zero waste lifestyle?
Poshmark is good for a zero waste lifestyle. It helps keep clothing in circulation while incentivizing the purchase of quality apparel. However, the full integration of brand closets does threaten the economy of Poshmark. Something to keep an eye on.
Poshmark is a great tool for green living. Though it does have some minor issues, you will be able to sell, buy and collaborate while saving the environment. And with competition from other online marketplaces, the experience on Poshmark should only get better and more refined. I myself am looking to upgrade my wardrobe and cannot wait to use sites like Poshmark.