Real Poshers, Real Opinions on the Wholesale Portal

In December 2015, Poshmark decided to launch a new feature: the wholesale portal. Since then, it has experienced mixed results. Sarah and I have had our own experiences on the matter (“I” being Sarah’s significant other), ranging from “not very useful” to “this is harming retail on Poshmark.” As a retailer on Poshmark, we have noticed a few trends:

  1. The prices on the wholesale portal are ridiculous.
  2. A lot of retail closets we’ve seen have a “strange” amount of identical items.
  3. This has led to a lot of retailers slashing their prices.

While we have other supplier sources, the success of the greater Posh retail ecosystem means greater success for us.  Its a classic case of clustering. If the retail environment is good on Poshmark, more people will shop retail on Poshmark, and retailers benefit from it. So we wanted to take the opportunity to examine the wholesale portal.

Poshmark’s Take

Poshmark has several reasons for creating a wholesale portal. According to this article on Fortune.com, the company sees this as a shrewd business move.  They estimate that 10-20% of the items sold on Poshmark were originally purchased through wholesale. They, eventually, take a percentage from the wholesale purchase, then another from the retail purchase.

Poshmark also views this as an opportunity for users according to Fashionista.

…the company sees the wholesale portal as a way for [the users] 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.”

Retailers getting access to wholesalers seems like an obvious boon. Being able express themselves and strengthening the Posh community also seems to be a great idea. So what do you need to be able to purchase wholesale? The requirements are pretty simple:

Who is qualified to access the Wholesale Portal?
Sellers with 10 or more sales, 4.5+ average rating, and completed retail certification are qualified to access the Wholesale Portal.

How does buying work?
Purchase inventory within the Wholesale Portal just like you would a normal listing on Poshmark. Press that big, blue “Buy Now” button!

Poshmark does not publicly state how one gets on the wholesale portal, but from our own efforts with our Bare Anthology brand, we think it comes down to having items personally designed for wholesale and the ability to move a large quantity of items. Take this with a grain of salt though. From talking with other Poshers, it seems to be more of a case by case basis where those requirements can be bent or waived entirely.

What do Poshers think of the portal?

Without our own experiences in mind and an understanding of Poshmark’s goals and requirements, we wanted to touch base with the Posh community to see what they thought. 348 people participated in this survey so thank you ladies, it really helped us! Now here are the results:

(If you feel the tone of the writing in this post changed a little, it probably has. It’s back to me writing. Can’t get the BF to do everything aye?)

Colors:

  • RED – hate for portal
  • GREEN – love for portal
  • BLACK – neutral
  • ORANGE – mix of love/hate

1. Right now, how do you feel about the portal?

Q1

The results for this survey question were a little surprising to me. Most of the time, people tend to not take very extreme views when it comes to answering a survey. I expected “dislike” for the portal to follow the same bar chart pattern as “like” for the portal but a significant number of people actually responded with “Hate it so much and wish Poshmark would shut it down”. There were a total of 223 “hate” responses vs 58 “love” responses.

2. Have you ever bought from the wholesale portal?

Q2

3. If you’ve never bought from the portal, why not?

Q3

No surprise here. Many Poshers can find portal items elsewhere for cheaper. It is called Google reverse image search and REAL wholesalers.

Some replies in the “other” section include

  • There are far better wholesale retailers on other websites + shady business practices from the retailers in the Wholesale Portal (such as charging more than it costs on the retailer’s website.)
  • There’s too many selling the same thing and it’s not moving in my closet
  • The portal is completely unfair to those who have obtained legal sales and use licenses to do business with wholesalers, not to mention, the prices are marked up and the general public is none the wiser. Unethical on Poshmark’s side
  • The items can be found elsewhere online cheaper. Plus, Poshmark is completely saturated with the same items being sold in the portal, that only the rock bottom prices sell, therefore the investment isn’t worth it. Many are just trying to get rid of merchandise purchased even if they loose money. Which is what is unfortunately happening.
  • Oversaturation of the market with poor quality overpriced merchandise
  • It’s too expensive; I don’t like the brands and HATE that PM values them more than the users who built PM

4. Do you think Portal stores reselling wholesale bought from already established vendors deserve to be featured or should they only be independent designers?

Q4

Poshmark also needs to weed out portal sellers that are not designing their own items. In all my emails with PMHQ, they *insist* only designers are allowed but then still allow portal sellers (who do not design their own items) like Fashionomics and April Spirit to operate.

Some comments in the “other”

  • They should NOT be allowed to sell at all. They are not independent designers. They are not wholesale sellers. They are just buying & re-selling for 2 to 3 times what they paid, April’s spirit, some of 3 birds nest & many more of them, if not 99% of them. But I don’t think the portal should be there anymore anyway. Nor should anyone buy from it that doesn’t have a tax ID # & DBA certificate.
  • Poshmark needs to separate its wholesale division. It was originally a place to shop each others’ closets. It should stay that way. Create a separate retail Poshmark site and return Poshmark to its origins.
  • Only if Poshmark broadens all of their featured brands. They shouldn’t only promote Portal brands, like “Tea & Cup” in parties. That seems like a form of nepotism. They should have bimonthly parties that feature brands such as Wildfox or “Vintage” (which isn’t a brand, but is what most vintage sellers use as a brand) equally featured on the app
  • Not sure what I think about this
  • I’ve seen items in the wholesale portal that are easily obtainable for less on eBay. Buying from these sellers is just silly. I don’t know what they deserve, but I won’t buy from them.
  • I wasn’t sure I understood this question. Are some of the “wholesalers” in the Portal actually reselling inventory they purchased from a larger wholesaler? If so I didn’t realize that was the case. I would consider these sellers to be retailers in that case.
  • I think if Posh is going to have a wholesale portal then use wholesale distributors not people who have stores and have purchased from a distributor prior to reselling.

5. Which are your favorite portal sellers? Does not matter if you have ever bought from them. (this is not an exhaustive list. if you have a favorite not listed, please add in “other”)

Q5

April Spirit & Function and Fringe seem to the favorite choices.

In the “other” section, many Poshers chose to answer “none”.

6. Which are your LEAST favorite portal sellers? Does not matter if you have ever bought from them. (this is not an exhaustive list. if you have a LEAST favorite not listed, please add in “other”)

Untitled

EDIT: I apologize for my previous chart, I had duplicated the data in the previous survey question.

Most Poshers have chosen the “I hate them all” option. This number differs from the previous question because I am taking data from 348 instead of 312 responses (I made all the charts when it got to 312 responses). Looks like the least favorites are T&J Designs, WILA and Classic Woman PM.

In the “other” section, the most common comments are:

  • Three Bird’s Nest
  • I don’t dislike any
  • i dont hate them but i think they lack good customer service its half united …even thou i love theyre items and what they stand for i dont like being ignored when i ask a question.that is what happened with half united, they should reply to customers promptly due to the fact that these are potential buyers.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you TRUST portal sellers?

Q7

Trust levels average to 4.3/10.

8. For resale/consignment closets, how do you think the Portal has affected your sales?

Q8

9. For retail closets, how do you think the Portal has affected your sales?

Q9

10. For closets selling your own items, how do you think the Portal has affected your sales?

Q10

For questions 8, 9 & 10, a large majority of people feel that the portal has affected their sales negatively and only a small minority feel their sales have improved since the portal release.

In the “other” section, Poshers mostly commented that they were unsure how the portal affected their sales.

11. Do you think portal sellers should be promoted as heavily as they are right now?

Q11

This is pretty self explanatory. A large majority feel that portal brands are being promoted too much.

12. Do you agree with the current requirements (10 sales + 4.5 rating) to shop the portal?

Q12

Most Poshers feel that requirements should be more stringent, mainly because wholesale prices should not be accessible by buyers/customers.

In the “other” section, comments include

  • You should have an actually business license to shop the portal! This is not fair to REAL wholesale buyers/retail businesses.
  • Ridiculous you should be able to buy what you like.
  • Not only should requirements be more stringent if you have to keep the portal but only REAL BUSINESSES WITH TAX ID #’s & proper papers should be allowed to even view the portal and only REAL WHOLESALE VENDORS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO SELL IN IT.. But again I think it should be done away with anyway. It’s not cool to the women w/real businesses and the portal isn’t real wholesale anyway.
  • No requirement benchmark! Can see all prices on Internet anytime, any wholesaler
  • No anyone should be able to become a retail closet

13. For those ladies who have bought from the portal…

a. If you have bought from the portal before, what led you to purchase?

Q13a

Most people felt that Poshmark was pushing the portal hard (the more you see an ad, the more likely you will be to act on it. A large majority also did not have their seller’s permit and so the portal provided easy access to wholesale.

In the “other” section, some comments include

  • i purchased to try to be supportive of Poshmark’s new feature (the portal) but quickly learned how bad it was and the complete and utter negative impact it’s had on Poshmark and all the sellers, real businesses that have posh closets that is 😦
  • The ease and inventory arrives/is shipped quickly
  • My sales dropped completely as soon as this was released. So I figure I would try to sell retail but now I haven’t even sold any of those items either! No Sales since May!
  • It was an exciting new feature and I couldn’t wait to use it…because of the ease of purchasing wholesale with my earnings from poshmark
  • I was trying to get featured as a Boutique.
  • I was curious to see if it was a good option for me

b. Were you satisfied with the quality of the items you received?

Q13b

Most feel pretty neutral about the quality of items they have received. Others feel some brands have better quality than others.

c. Have you been able to sell your inventory bought from the portal?

Q13c

A large majority of Poshers were unable to sell their portal inventory. I should have had a follow up question as to why they think this was happening, but that slipped my mind. If you think there is a reason why your inventory is not selling, let me know in the comments section.

In the “other” section, some comments include

  • nope but i doubt it since it’s not popular and it will never will! i would rather buy well known pieces like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Lanvin, etc. rather than those ugly shit
  • Yes, some at good profit, some at small profit. People do not want to pay near at all to full retail price. They expect a bargain, even at the seller’s expense.
  • Personal use, had no intention to resell
  • Only have one item that’s retail, and I haven’t sold any of them yet. I’m waiting a while before I make a judgement.

d. What is the average profit you’ve made per portal piece sold?

Q13d

Most portal items are being sold at $1-$10 profit, which by the way is pretty low. Most retailers use keystone markup, which is 2x of the cost price. Most portal clothing items are sold between $10-$20 (especially from April Spirit, Fashionomics) and earning $1-$10 a piece is not even using keystone pricing. Understand that you need to cover the time you spend photographing, listing and sharing too. Are you saying your time is worth $10?

In the “other” section, some common comments include:

  • haven’t sold it yet
  • ZERO. Not 1 piece has sold.
  • Thus far I’m in the negative as only 1 item out of the few “packs” I purchased have sold so I’m about $800/$900 or more in the negative

Actually, the most common comment is $0.

e. How many purchases have you made from the portal?

Q13e

f. Do you regret purchasing from the portal?

Q13f

Majority regret purchasing from the portal but many are still undecided on this.

14. Rate the portal selection

Q14

Average rating 3.23/10 for portal selection

15. Rate the portal prices

Q15

Average rating 2.33/10 for portal prices

16. How much do YOU think Poshmark cares about YOUR OPINION on the portal?

Q16

Ok Poshmark, time to up your game and listen to your largest supporters because we are definitely not feeling the Posh Love.

Thoughts

The results seem to indicate a very negative opinion of the wholesale portal.

Only 32% of responses say they like it or are neutral on it. Granted, most said they had never purchased anything from it. Of those that have (130), 56% say they will not purchase from it again. Those who have not purchased from the wholesale portal should not be discounted though. 70% of those who do not choose not to do so because they know where to find a better price, because its too expensive, or have wholesalers already. 104 out of 186 (56%) retailers reported that their sales have dropped. That is pretty high! Especially compared to the 25% who report no change, 9% who report changed unrelated to the portal, and the 9%, and 10% who report an increase in sales.

So it seems to generally be not so useful, or damaging. Largely matching our own experiences.  A big surprise was how people felt about the wholesale portal. The average rating on the selection was a 3.3 out of 10. The average rating for the prices was a 2.4 out of 10.  Poshers also feel it is being promoted too heavily and don’t even trust portal sellers.

Given that Poshmark wanted to help retailers, encourage expression, and make some money, the results are bad. It hurts retailers, hurts the individuality of retail closets, and those two together seem like a bad way to make money.

Note: Some of the figures listed in the “thoughts” paragraph differ from those above. Charts were made before writing this and actually had more responses in the time between.

 

— The Posher and her Survivor

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26 thoughts on “Real Poshers, Real Opinions on the Wholesale Portal

  1. You are spot on with your numbers and findings. I have basically stopped selling and buying on Poshmark because of the attention and promotion given to the Portal Sellers. I am now selling on Facebook ( no fees paid), and to my neighbors/friends ( no fees paid).

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on TonisTwinkles and commented:
    This is everything I wanted to know, could not express because I am an E-Fund “winner” and the numbers do not lie. If PMHQ wants to keep the Portal, then it would behoove them to make a separate Retail only closets section. While I am very grateful to have won the E-Fund scholarship, I’m not able to move this merchandise that I bought from the Portal. The ONLY exception to this is Salt Lake Clothing and I had to custom order to move those without marking them down drastically. While the “wholesale” to “retail” is great in theory, in reality it needs an overhaul. IMHO. More later. Thank you Sarah for the insight!

    Like

  3. I Reblogged rhis with my own opinions added. In a nutshell, while I had high hopes for Retail when I won the E-Fund, I cannot sell these wholesale items unless it is for a pittance. Very disappointed. My best selling items still tend to be bought at my local thrift or are from my own closet. Please read the rest on my TonisTwinkles blog….

    Thank you.

    Like

  4. I was a retail veteran winner for the Posh Entrepreneur Fund. I had high hopes for the portal but nothing is selling. I am officially done. I have a wholesaler that gives great deals, great items, and great customer service outside of the portal and I’m staying there. I purchased 3 crochet rompers from April Spirit for $60+ship. I JUST FOUND THE SAME ITEMS ON MY WHOLESALER SITE, but get this FOR 6 FOR $60. I could’ve gotten double the inventory for the same price…. Additionally, a “Tea N Cup” bodysuit is selling in the portal 6 for $80….low and behold found it on my wholesaler site 6 for $40.50. That’s a dollar short of double the price!!! Items are the same quality, same look, same fabric. Exact same.

    Liked by 2 people

    • How do you find wholesale vendors outside the Portal? Some Poshers seem to have made deals with outside wholesalers and their sales look good. Thoughts?

      Like

  5. I truly hope Posh takes this information into consideration. Not only is it clear that the opinion of the consensus is negative on the portal and it’s profitably, but i feel it has negative effects to the Posh experience as a whole. Posh is unique from other resell sites for many reasons. There is a personal level of our social interactions and transactions. I personally am thrilled when I purchase something that I cannot get anywhere else (like a vintage dress or the Lulu pants that they no longer make). Shifting through closet after closet, and having my feed bombarded, with the same items over and over changes the overall experience. It’s no more personal or exciting than shopping Amazon. It is tragic to take a site that is so unique and implement (and over promoting) a change that creates a generic and impersonal feel. It is evident that sellers are not significantly profiting. Are the designers and Posh? I would guess YES!
    I am a avid and loyal POSH-AHOLIC and will be terribly disheartened if Posh is not responsive to the feedback of their loyal, active users.
    Thank you for the survey and providing a tangible way to deliver our emotions to the powers that be! You (and the boyfriend) are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Real Poshers, Real Opinions on the Wholesale Portal – TonisTwinkles

  7. Thank you for putting this together! From the chatter i’ve heard it does seem to reflect what poshers experiences have been. My personal finding is that Poshmark’s promotion of all the retail “boutiques” has taken away so much from us vintage and resalers. Why not promote those sellers as well? I personally feel that the heart of Poshmark is being lost, and that is the greatest disappointment of all. I hope Posh takes truly listens and responds appropriately!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Posh should change this practice ASAP. It was kind of obvious from the start they were over charging and profiting twice at seller’s expense and of course people are going to talk about that sort of thing. The more people know Poshmark is essentially ripping their retail sellers off through the portal, the more Poshmark as a whole, as a “brand” will be seen as a rip off and send buyers to other sites. Not good. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I stumbled upon this article because of an angry google search “poshmark wholesale ripoff”. Glad I did because this echoes my feelings on the matter! I wanted to give wholesale a try and I purchased what I thought were cute, simple circle necklaces, 5 for $36 from Shop Wila. I thought it seemed like a great way to make quick money and if they don’t sell I could give them as gifts. Received the package and the necklaces are horrible quality, not as pictured and one was broken. These necklaces were extremely cheap, barely worth $2 a peice and the msrp was $28 each!!! I could never sell these necklaces in my closet for $28 nor would I ever, as I would be ripping off my customers. After contacting Poshmark to voice my concerns and frustrations with wasting my money, they told me they would make an exception and credit my account $10.. so I recouped $10 of the $36 loss and will not be selling these necklaces as they are not even worth $5

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moral of the story – regret purchasing from wholesale. Given false hopes through Poshmark propaganda that retail would kickstart my closet. Will never purchase from wholesale again

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well stated! The only one benefiting from this is Poshmark who gets a cut when you buy wholesale and again when you sell. The prices are ridiculous. You will make a very small profit assuming you can sell the item for full price.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is so well written! I received a $60 Posh Credit (after buying a fake makeup palette) So I thought I would give the Wholesale aspect a try with that money. I bought two packs of shirts from The Blossom Apparel that were stated as having an MSRP of $30. I haven’t sold a single one. I really need the money and thought this would be a good route to go, but there is pretty much no way I will actually make any money because NO ONE is going to pay $30 for a shirt on a app that is expected to find you a bargain. Just stinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has nothing to do with the price. My retail price range is between $45 to $85 and I do constantly sell within this price range. You have to choose what you buy very carefully and make sure you are buying best sellers.

      Like

  12. I refuse to buy anything that is “boutique”on Poshmark after I bought a top( my one and only “boutique” purchase ever) that was boutique and it was the cheapest piece of shit top I have ever gotten. It looked nothing like the pictures and it was three sizes too small, at least. Even the cheap China crap on Amazon is better quality than this garbage. I was furious that I wasted $20 plus the ridiculous shipping fee of $5.95
    When I have to share back and all someone has is that crappy boutique stuff it is upsetting. I think less of people who I see sell boutique because Poshmark has ruined it with their garbage portal. Sad for those sellers who do not source from Posh. I wish it was gone totally.

    Like

  13. The whole retail pricing because you bought it from a wholesaler make no sense since poshmark is constantly telling sellers that something in perfect condition with tags is still expected to be marked down 50% like you would find on clearance at the store and yet they want people to sell for retail price because suddenly it’s a boutique? Isn’t the reason all of us are on poshmark to avoid paying retail prices?

    Like

  14. Was there a response from Poshmark when you sent them this info? I’m new to the site and have gotten somewhat generic responses to my inquires thus far.
    Thx!

    Like

  15. I completely agree with the findings, the portal sucks! I was excited to gain access to the portal at first, but I was quickly disappointed with the prices and lack of diversity. There’s not very much to choose from and the prices are radiculous. I’ve never purchased anything from the portal, not do I plan to. I don’t even bother looking through it!

    Like

  16. Wow, this is incredible research. As a Merchant by trade and a retailer on Poshmark, I find this extremely essential in understanding Posh’s initiative around this feature. Thanks for all your work with this. Really well done.

    Like

  17. Thank you for this extremely informative article! I’ve been debating on whether or not to invest in a few boutique items just to have a boutique/closet. I figured even if they didn’t sell well or quickly I’ve at least noticed boutique items get lots of likes shares and comments and I’d be able to participate in the boutique parties. I use posh to sell my old clothes and finds and have had success doing this on the side, but in real life I am a retailer with a brick and mortar store and yes I think the portal items are overpriced. One thing I’ve noticed is that boutique items Msrps are so high and then I see people selling them on sale for what they originally paid for them. You’ve confirmed my gut feeling to stay away. Thank you.

    Like

  18. Reblogged this on bohobouchic and commented:
    As a Poshmark seller myself (although halp-hardly after opening my own shop) I thought this was an interesting view point that we don’t see through the app. Any Poshers out there, how do you feel about the wholesale access with no business license nor credentials whatsoever?

    Like

  19. I have a retail license etc., but it was not obtained for fashion related items. Although fashion has always been in my blood, so when I saw that I could create a boutique, I began to get curious as to the viability of such a store. I watched for a long time. Then I decided to take the plunge and experiment. I justified it as this; brick and mortar retail has been largely affected by online shopping. My dreams of opening a boutique, have been put aside for the most part due to this, so PM looked like an option to live out part of that desire. Yes, their fees coming and going are high and cut deeply into any profitability, but then again, I don’t have leased space or lights or employees or insurance to pay among the numerous other expenses of having brick&mortar.
    I decided to stay away from the clothing to begin with because after careful examination, I could clearly see that it appeared many of the “wholesalers” were selling the same or similar items. In fact what was so obvious is the models were even the same! Instead, I bought some jewelry that not only satisfied my inner hippy, but was hand made by the wholesaler. I liked that idea. Original and boutique! I bought over 1,000.00 worth and sold 2 pieces! They have been in my closet now for well over a year. The reason… wholesale prices are too high. There is no room for profit. So even the designers themselves selling as wholesalers are having to jack up their prices to pay the PM fees involved. No one wins here. I have continued to study their market place, I think still believing there is some hope of making some extra money here on POSH as well as satisfying a little piece of my boutique dream, but the more I look and watch, the more hinkystinky I see.
    It could be a great platform for individuals to launch an online business due to the already established market, but the way it’s set up, the only thing that happening, is people are getting ripped off and PM is getting richer! “Just sayin!”

    Like

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