The True Value of Poshfest

The cray of Poshfest - where PFFs become IRLs...

The beautiful cray cray of last year’s Poshfest – where PFFs become IRLs and IRLs strengthen bonds… (not sure who snapped this pic, but full CRED to you, GF!)

 

Be emotionally warned: the following describes a very REAL side effect to POSHING: the delightful moment you become what is lovingly referred to as a “PFF IRL”. 

This simply means we Poshers have had the extreme good fortune to meet our PFF…

…wait for it…

In. Real. Life.

This unbreakable bond, created virtually on an app (an app, of all places!!) is either revealed or solidified at our annual Poshfest.

The inaugural Poshfest was, without question, our most chilling.  It was a watershed moment for the app, in a time before anyone hosted a local Posh meetup or a “Posh ‘n Sip”.  In the Fall of 2013, 200 not-yet-PFF-IRLs descended on Las Vegas, and Posh history was made… 

 ******

When I boarded my flight out of Nashville on that chilly Wednesday in October, it was only the second time in my life I had traveled alone.  The first was to visit family in Colorado.  Though I had been to Vegas previously, this trip both thrilled and terrified me. Ten months after discovering a Poshmark app that changed my life, I was finally headed to my very first Poshfest.

Little did I know, as the plane departed the gate, I was off to meet family.

Shortly after checking into the Cosmopolitan (PF’s HQ hotel) my initial OMG encounter was with a small group of neatly dressed women in the lobby.  They were hugging and laughing. Some were crying.  I approached and screamed “POSHMARK!” at the top of my voice, arms outstretched.  The ladies turned to me in amazement and one said rather thinly, “I’m sorry. Who?”

Here is my first lesson of Poshfest:  In Vegas, bachelorette party attendees outnumber Poshers by about 16,000 to 1.  That said,  these women AREN’T Poshers.

I admit, I set myself up for a bit of heartbreak. Poshfest was 2 days away, and I suffered from a severe lack of finding Poshers.  I didn’t yet know how PF attendees arrived in waves up until the opening Saturday session, with most arriving Friday evening.

I also didn’t realize that apart from tagging in the app, I had no contact information on anyone. All of those Posh Facebook groups had yet to be formed.  Very few of us were acquainted well enough to divulge phone numbers.

I strolled different areas of my hotel, wishing aloud that closet usernames were tattooed on foreheads.  It would at least provide some chance of telling Posher from non-Posher.  One guy overheard my grumbling, resulting in a recommendation of the best tattoo parlor in town. For a second, I almost caved.

*****

On Friday afternoon, I emerged from my hotel room after a self-imposed 36-hour exile.  Subsisting on a diet of mini-bar, I was delirious but desperate to locate a Posher in the flesh. I had nearly given up when a tag appeared in my closet:

@Mizfabulousity “I’M IN VEGAS!”

I responded in one rapid tag, “Yes, I’m here too!  Where are you! OMG, we MUST meet at once!  Are you in the lobby?  I’ll come to you!”

“Miz” stated that she had just arrived after an extremely long drive from LA.  She was staying at the Elara across the Boulevard. At present, she was post-nap, sans makeup and would see me soon at the Chandelier, a Cosmo bar where numerous Poshers were planning to converge later that evening.

No, I insisted.  I needed to see her immediately.  It was essential I find a Posher as soon as possible, to resolve a plaguing curiosity.  Seriously, did we REALLY exist outside this app?

Miz responded that if I wanted to come over to her hotel, she would meet me in the lobby for a coffee right away.

I sprinted the entire way. Appearing breathless in the Elara lobby, I whipped out my phone and confirmed in a tag to Miz that I had arrived.  I plopped down in a large chair, grinning at what could be the quintessential Posh moment of my life.

And then my mind began to wander…

There I sat, anxiously waiting to meet someone I knew only from an app.  Yes, Miz and I had spoken numerous times. There were pics of her online: an adorable petite blonde modeling fashion in her closet. I just couldn’t confirm any of this was real.

I had never given serious thought to online predation, but this was different.  I was alone in a strange hotel and highly suggestible from a lack of real food.

OMG, I thought.  What if Miz is not who she says she is?

What if she ISN’T a SHE??

What if Miz tags me and says “hey, come upstairs to room 509 and let yourself in….” while HE hides behind the door with a chloroform-soaked towel and a bedside drawer full of newly sharpened knives?!

I nearly jumped out of my skin when my phone flashed a new tag notification.

“Coming down in the elevator now.”

This is it, I thought.  I nervously scanned the lobby for reassurance. I was within sight of both the concierge and 2 boys holding pool noodles. Safety in numbers…safety in numbers.

The elevator door opened.  I tensed.  A petite woman emerged wearing a huge smile and waves of blonde hair twisted up in a clip. Her real name, she said, was Anna.  And OMG, she was perfect.

Meeting @mizfabulousity - my first PFF IRL!

With @mizfabulousity – my FIRST PFF IRL! And she’s wearing the Union Jack? OMG KISMET!

@mizfabulousity was the first.  And she will always be my LONGEST Posh hug. What’s more intriguing is how she took this first IRL with me and channeled it into a veritable cornucopia of Poshmark networking moments. I now consider Miz the undisputed queen of the Posh Meetup.

*****

Back at the hotel that same evening, I arrived early yet again in the Chandelier bar to stake a good spot and find more Poshers.  I wore a flashing crown on my head because I figured the forehead tattoo idea would be a bit too gimmicky.

Tags popped up on my phone.  More Poshers on the way!  Michelle (@gordomom) told me she would be arriving via escalator, wearing a black racerback tank.  Seconds later, I spotted a girl in black walking away from the escalator, her face hidden. I began screaming, “MICHELLE! MICHELLE!”

Second lesson of Poshfest: People who aren’t Poshers wear similar clothing to those who are.  Confirm facial identity prior to making an ass of yourself.  That said, this ISN’T the Michelle who would one day become the “Mom” to my “Mumm” and a west coast shoulder of strength during my sleepless central time zone nights.

As I embarrassingly returned to my seat in the bar, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to a tall, impeccably styled woman with glowing skin, long hair and a brilliant white smile.  In a melodic voice, she cooed “Hello, Brenda!”  This was the moment I met the divine Shiela (@ex_globetrotter). In the not so distant future, Shiela would become my roommate at an Arkansas Posh meet up, introduce me to pho, and serve my husband and me an exquisite homemade apple pie in her newly remodeled Denver kitchen.

Over the course of that Friday evening, women emerged one by one from a crowded lobby.  Anna, my first IRL, arrived in makeup and I fell in love all over again.

Then Crystal (@lilmscrys) strolled in, wearing a Heisenberg tee-shirt. I flipped.  We hadn’t met in the app, so she was shy, but determined. She hailed from Albuquerque and had met many of the “Breaking Bad” TV cast.  I flipped again.  She smiled and handed me a small paper bag filled with crystal blue rock candy.  It was a cute take on her name and figured into a great gag when I accidentally left my “bag o’Crystal blue” in the bar that night.

Amazingly, I would “marry” Crystal 24 hours later in a hotel restaurant to ward off a tacky drunk moocher named Jim.  We’ve been wifeys ever since, depending on one another through good times and bad. That IRL with Crystal was for me, a Godsend.

Note to new Poshers: yes, you may end up with a “Posh Wifey” one day.  It’s all in good fun, completely innocent, and it reveals just how addicted you are to Poshmark. Best wishes finding her SOON!

Many women walked into the Chandelier that night: LyAnn, Evelyne, Jody, Charis, Robin, Hannah, Lynn, Bertina, Kathy and Christine – to name a few – and yes, even MICHELLE! MICHELLE!

We squealed and hugged, clasped hands to look into each beautiful face, squealed and hugged again.  I realized I didn’t need tattooed closet names.  These were exactly the women I had pictured in my mind.  Only now I had real names to etch alongside those visions.  They matched perfectly to their photos, their style and their way of speaking (or writing, to be more precise).  More importantly, they had that “Posh” personality.  They literally shined…

Giddy with the evening’s developments, I carried away momentarily to the second floor hotel coffee shop, where the cinnamon rolls were the size of watermelons.  As I stepped out with my latte, I bumped into the one Posher I didn’t expect to see so soon.

Manish Chandra, CEO of Poshmark, grinned warmly, extended his hand to shake mine, and motioned to my still flashing crown, “you must be Queenmumm”.  At that moment I knew I had arrived at Poshfest.  And btw, Manish – you really should consider carrying on your person some smelling salts or an AED or a pre-measured dose of adrenaline. Just sayin’.

*****

PFF IRLs celebrating pre-Poshfest, Cosmopolitan Hotel roof, 2013

PFF IRLs celebrating pre-Poshfest 2013 on the Cosmopolitan Hotel roof.

Night turned into day, with miles of smiles the next morning at our premier Poshfest session. A crowd of women – all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds – converged in a ballroom to exchange greetings like decade-old friends. I still recall the gasps from those finally meeting a mentor, a protégé, the closet owner whose style they worshipped, the gracious seller whose sales they coveted, the icon whose beauty and mystery were so perfectly defined by her “enigmatic” name.

The remainder of that weekend was just as poignant.  We giggled, we learned, we partied until the wee hours.  We danced with a Poshmark Team who made each of us an honorary member of the PMHQ family.

There were other surprising moments.  I met Stacy (@mommalaughing) and our minds were blown to find out we live just 4 miles from each other. Four freakin’ miles! In Las Vegas, 1800 miles from home, Poshfest had finally aligned us.

Finally, I met the “other” Brenda that night. @bschuler and I jokingly raised fisticuffs over our shared name, then laughed and hugged. Brenda (2.0) has become my IRL “twin” and an incredibly affecting soulmate.

On Poshfest Sunday, many Poshers – including @lynnsimmons @Missbertina and @dkcasey0920 – held onto the surprisingly comfortable familiarity by staying an extra night. Just like girls at a slumber party, we didn’t let go of the euphoria even after dawn creeped back ‘round to find us.

*****

That first Poshfest was one of the most amazing, most inspiring trips I have ever taken.  I returned home relieved and blessed with more family than I could have imagined.

I’ll be attending my 4th Poshfest in a few months because I know it won’t disappoint.  Again I’ll fly in alone.  And again I’ll leave with so much more.  I expect many more IRLs coming my way and that’s a lovely given. It will be a weekend which presents all of us with something invaluable, probably bigger than any bargain we’ll find in the app.

Poshmark teaches us how to share our closets, but Poshfest, ahhhh… Poshfest is where we learn to share ourselves.

*****

MEET ME AT POSHFEST! Comment below or in my POSHMARK CLOSET and let’s plan on it!

Cheers! 🙂 QM

Poshfest means the best slumber parties EVER.

A final takeaway: Poshfest means the best slumber parties EVER.

 

 

Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille…

I’ve always dreamed of being on the big screen, and with Poshmark, dreams really do come true!  This is a special “Saving you Money” segment from Nashville affiliate Fox News 17, November 2013.