Photography by Atisha Paulson
By Christina Najjar
Hi, my name is Christina and I’m addicted to Poshmark. It’s been three weeks since my last sale.
It started innocently, as most bad habits do. I was cleaning out my exploding closet while my amused roommate watched. It was like every single closet-montage scene in every single rom-com, except instead of drinking Veuve and dancing to ‘80s music while trying on last year’s Dior, we were drinking a $14 pinot, listening to Drake, and laughing at the amount of Tory Burch paraphernalia I had accumulated. I knew I shopped a lot (too much, perhaps), but the pile at the end of my purge was sizable, and it was my first step toward turning over a new leaf. As I reached for trash bags that I’d later drop off at the local charity, my friend asked why I wouldn’t try re-selling some of it online. An app just for re-selling? I’d experimented with consignment stores before, but this was next-level. A quick account registration on Poshmark and another half-bottle of wine later, all my unwanted wares were listed. I went to bed feeling hopeful.
I woke up the next morning and looked at my phone. I had 29 Poshmark notifications.
“What’s condition of the soles??” “Can u model it?” “Hi wud u consider trading?” What was this strange alternate universe I had entered into? Why wouldn’t anyone type out “you” in full? Why had I picked such a dumb username? I answered the questions as best I could. Later that day, I made my first sale. I eagerly took myself to the post office and sent off an old pair of True Religion jeans to Fashungirl337 and made $30. I felt extremely pleased with myself.
Six months in and I was a self-crowned Poshmark queen. I had 3,000 loyal followers and had made over $4,000 selling random old stuff from my closet. The money was great, but the rush was even better. When someone buys from you on Poshmark, they’re validating your choice. Am I overanalyzing it? Maybe a little, but there’s something about someone wanting something you wanted that makes you feel really gratified. I felt like a one-woman retail tornado. Photographing items, describing them (“this dress will change your life — it changed mine,” I wrote of one 11-year-old Bebe frock), bargaining, selling, and sending them off gave me the greatest thrill. I was obsessed and tried to convert anyone who would listen. When a friend signed up, I felt proud, like I had successfully persuaded someone to join my underground cult. “I’ll share some of your items to get you started,” I would say magnanimously.
Before long, it became clear to everyone but me that Poshmark was making my shopping addiction worse, not better. Firstly, making money on Poshmark gave me the illusion of having an easy out. Final sale online? No problem — if it doesn’t fit I can always resell it. Top I wore once and decided I hated? On to Poshmark it goes. Secondly, I became addicted to a high turnover rate. I would set myself goals: Make $300 this week and you can buy a new dress for the weekend. This led to me hastily selling things for way under their value just to make my self-imposed quota. I sold a pair of perfectly fine Jimmy Choos for $35. I sold a Reformation dress with the tags still on for less than what I bought it for. I was high on selling — and in denial about how much money I was losing. If I went a few days without a sale I would go on a binge, tearing my room apart looking for new items to list.
Photo: Getty Images
My addiction came to a head during the Balmain x H&M collaboration. I was manic leading up to the release, but not because I wanted the collection personally. All I could think about was how excited my Poshmark followers would be if I obtained some of the styles, and how much money I could make re-selling the pieces. There was so much hype around the collection, I knew I had to get my hands on as many of those overly embellished tunics as humanly possible. Before the collection hit stores, I went to H&M on a recon mission. To my horror, there were tents outside; people had already started to line up. I was furious: Why hadn’t I thought of that first? I went home and posted on Taskrabbit. “Need 2 hire someone for next 36 hours ASAP, will pay top $. Needs to be ok with sleeping outside.” Reading over my shoulder, my boyfriend commented I had “officially lost it,” but I scoffed. I would make the money back.
I paid a nice woman $40 an hour to wait in line for me. Giddy, I showed up at 6 a.m. to take over. When the doors swung open I was nearly in tears. Practically frothing at the mouth, I grabbed everything in sight, a total of more than $1,500 in merchandise. I texted my dad frantically saying I had used his card for an “emergency investment.” When I arrived at work late, toting bags stuffed full of Olivier Rousteing’s finest, my coworkers were both captivated and horrified. I skipped meetings to list my items immediately. While my Poshmark followers were impressed, I was horrified to find that after 24 hours, I had only sold a few items. The app was flooded with the H&M capsule collection, and other sellers priced me out. Not only did I not make up the money I had spent on my Taskrabbit, I had velvet blazers and gold pants up to my eyeballs and not a customer in sight.
That weekend, my roommates had a Poshtervention. They pointed out that my room looked like a FedEx depot, and that I had started referencing my fellow Poshers as if they were real friends. “HighHeelsHelen doesn’t care about you like we do,” one roommate gently offered. “I saw you posted that sweatshirt I got you for you birthday on Poshmark,” said another. After the briefest of protests, I gave in. I realized I had gone too far, and my harmless side hustle had become an all-consuming, money-losing disaster.
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Am I saying all Poshmarking is bad? Absolutely not. It’s a fantastic way to give clothes a second life and make some extra money. It’s an incredibly warm and fun community. (See, I’m reverting to pitch mode just thinking about it.) Some users make full careers out of Poshmark, which I find remarkable. This is simply a cautionary tale of one girl who couldn’t handle the full power of this app. I still sell clothes that no longer suit me. I still bargain like my life depends on it. I still get a rush when I get a five-star rating. I’ve simply recognized that Poshmark — like most everything else — is only validating, fun, and worthwhile…in moderation.