Parts of the following are excerpted from the forthcoming “PoshMark’s the Spot”. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. No part of the following may be copied, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission of the author.
It’s as easy as 123…
As simple as DO RE MI….”
This little diddy, courtesy of a wee lad named Michael Jackson and his four bros, is a be-bop addicting tune that denotes the steps of just how easy it is to fall in love…
It’s classic, it’s cute and it’s driving me crazy.
I’ve been singing “ABC” for 2 weeks. Non stop. OUT LOUD. I’m not sure how it got into my noggin, but I’ve gotta write about it. It’s this, or deal with repeated public humiliation. I’m all for private humiliation. Public humiliation, however leads to alienation at the DMV. And let me tell you, those DMVers will take you out in the parking lot and GUT you for far less than singing a Jackson Five song in the waiting area…
My repeated song-stressing has been bad. OscarDog has taken to cowering in his crate. If speaking to a plant inspires growth, I’ve killed all of mine with a single verse. This is worse than the Barney Song. Worse than “Achy Breaky Heart”. And MUCH worse than anything that Styx put out after Dennis DeYoung went all Kilroy on his head-shaking bandmates.
On the 53rd repeat of “ABC” one morning (as I was Poshing over Greek yogurt and granola), I started thinking of how easily one can fall in love… with a really amazing Poshmark closet.
You know the closets to which I’m referring. They’re indelible. You see one covershot and BAM, you know WHO it is. You probably have the inventory memorized.
Poshmark does have some truly AMAZING closets. What’s surprising is how many of these owners started out with ZERO previous selling or boutique experience. Some as young as 14 are already funding future college expenses – while others are well-beyond middle age, thrilled to have extra cash. Looks like it’s time to be the sugar momma, ladies.
Many have never left their home state. Others have gone around the world, wiring their exotic experiences through their closet wares.
Some Poshmark closets are powerhouses of designer fashion. I know I’m not the only one aghast at the manner of high-end designer brands available at bargain prices – so high as to result in a nosebleed just scrolling through.
And yet, many of these amazing Posh closets are just like that old brick and mortar consignment boutique from your college days. These are the “low to median” range closets – $10 sweaters, $15 shoes, vintage, mod, handmade… You could just live there all day and forget about that midterm chemistry exam. These closets warrant no blood loss via your schnozz, no buyer’s remorse and no worry that a bundle could mean a “severe talking to” by your parents.
There’s something about all of these closets that sets them apart.
We know them by username AND first name. They know how to draw the customers in and make the sale. They ooze great service and receive staggeringly positive feedback. They get SHARES. Wowsers, do they get the shares. They have a loyal following and a lot of repeat business. Follower numbers? Some are in digits I can’t even count to, while others just seemed to have knocked it out of the park with their first at-bat.
As Poshmark grows endlessly by leaps and bounds, so does the number of new Poshers flocking into these closets – asking, inquiring, aching for a sign…..a formula to become their own AMAZING closet. These newbie closets are that water fountain in the corner that REALLY wants to vend Coca Cola. Or, at the very least Dasani.
They need and want a formula for success.
I’ve been spending a lot of time researching in some of the more iconic Posh closets to derive such a recipe. I’ve browsed hundreds. I won’t divulge any usernames here – that’s not my purpose. My idea is to blend together what I’ve seen (in the best – of the best – of the best) in order to create a list of characteristics that ALL of these closets possess.
In essence, “9 Traits of AMAZING Posh Closets”.
Why 9 and NOT 10? As soon as you read this and my next two posts, it will make perfect sense.
But be prepared. If you catch yourself humming just a bit, go ahead and let the bubble-gum pop overcome you. You’ll have a better time reading through to the end. But please, don’t hunt me down on Poshmark and toilet paper my listings because I’ve awakened an UNENDING musical interlude in your life. Just move to the groove and feel free to apply these same 9 easy steps to EVERYTHING else you do off Posh….which can’t be very much. 😉
Let’s start with A. A is for “AMAZING” but here I want you to think of A as in “ASK” and “ASSESS”
(Please note: that’s NOT “asses”, but I’ll get to some later….)
BEFORE you list ANY item, ASK yourself two questions:
1. “WOULD I BUY THIS ONLINE without having it in my hands first?
2. “If I did buy it, WOULD I BE SHOCKED AT ITS CONDITION upon receiving it?”
If you said NO to the first question or YES to the second, Amazing Posh Closet survey says: DON’T POSH IT.
Your closet items don’t have to be nosebleed high-end, but without the pull of a designer brand on the label, they should be in at least REALLY good to excellent condition. ASSESSING what you have is key and that means a thorough inspection.
DON’T SELL IT UNLESS IT’S CLEAN!!! Ya gotta take the time to clean or dry clean and ALWAYS remove the pet hair!! If we can’t own Fido due to allergies, we certainly don’t want him in our mailbox. Look for stains (makeup and deodorant are notorious) along with tears, snags, missing buttons, broken zippers. Take a minute to “smell what you sell”. Yep, take a good whiff and see if you have a lingering odor that could offend. If you are sinus congested, hand it to someone else and have them take a whiff. Make a party out of it.
(Btw, if that someone else is your DH, congratulate yourself for having an accommodating one.)
Smoke-based odors are bad, but even the perfume you use can be pungent. Consider a second laundering with natural air drying, but please please please, don’t try to mask a smell with another smell. That’s the teenage boy method of showering. It’s what gives male locker rooms their distinctive “eau de THAT’S NOT RIGHT!”
By the way, that was the “asses” section of this post. Feel free to draw breath again.
Like Sherlock Holmes, Ms. Marple and Inspector Clouseau, you MUST be a tough as nails bloodhound detective on your own items. Yep, even the brand new ones you just acquired but have decided to Posh, must be evaluated using ALL OF YOUR SENSES.
(Ehhhh…. caught me, didn’t you? Right now, you are saying, “Hey, what about the senses of taste and hearing? How do I incorporate THOSE into my Posh detective work?”)
As for hearing, just put your ear to your shoes…
Try on a pair of older shoes, then take a brisk walk in a quiet area. Hear anything? Is there a “squishy squeaking” sound? If they’ve been a favorite pair, your weight and gait may have changed them. If a rotund stalking rodent squeal wigs you out, imagine what it will do for your buyer. And yes, even new shoes squeak. You can still Posh them, but you may want to mention that in your listing.
Aside from handbags, shoes are the ONE item where you need to pull out all stops with regards to assessment. This is why amazing closets only offer shoes that are NWT, NWOT or worn gently – at most twice. And they ALWAYS photograph the back of the heel for you. The heel is the go-to view for shoe condition. Misshapen heels imply heavy use. Scuffs are not a good indicator since they can be caused by improper storage. Sole condition, while helpful, can also mislead because leather soles can appear destroyed with only one wearing. ALWAYS check the heels before you sell. If they appear to have been chewed by that friendly beast that resides in your closet – the one that is staring at you right now – Amazing Posh Closet Survey says: DON’T POSH.
This isn’t to say that flawed items don’t belong on Posh, but you need to give the full 411 – flaws, warts and all, no matter how minute.
As for sense of taste – that’s easy, but it’s a play on words. Amazing closets have great TASTE in fashion. And this is summed in many, many ways. They might have a gift for predicting future trends. Perhaps they can tell vintage Chanel from new Chanel – vintage Target from new Target. Maybe they rely on style with comfort, vending to you boho and grunge and anything that can get “mussed” and still look fabulous.
One thing is certain, these Poshers have the amazing ability to EDIT. They don’t just Posh everything they find. They take a minute to select what should be Poshed and what shouldn’t. To be like them, you gotta think like them. Always ASK and always ASSESS – consider the “Poshibility” on EVERY item. If you REALLY wouldn’t want it yourself, chances are no one else will. Your closet should be built around items YOU WANT, even if you’re SHOCKED to be letting them go.
B is for “BRAND”. Not Russell. He is soooo yesterday’s ex-husband. I’m talking about THIS kind of BRAND.
No, you don’t have to be hog-tied and held down for a branding. Though I suppose there are many Poshers who would rise to the idea of having the Poshmark logo branded somewhere I’d only show on the 3rd date. After all, Poshmark has become a brand. There are multiple selling apps out there, but who doesn’t say, on a daily basis, “Yep. I can definitely “POSH” that”?
Posh closets can be branded as well, and many are now going this route as they’ve taken Posh from part-time hobby to full-time business. Even without the taxed title of business owner, you are marketing yourself and your closet, so it’s important to bring your A-game. You just need to have a niche that you can do easily and do well. And you must stay consistent so your customers can grasp it and then tell others.
Examples are boundless. If I said “shoes”, you probably have a seller in mind that you would seek first and send other buyers to. If you’re hot on vintage, you know precisely which closet to find it. If you want stylish, modern jewelry, “that certain Posher” is your trusted seller. Guess what? These are some of the Amazing Posh Closets I’ve seen.
What if I said “chalkboard listings”, “girls’ name titles”, “world traveler”, “fashion blogger” or “smokin hot mannie”? Closets can brand themselves without even trying. A personality brand is much easier to acquire, but again it will be born out of consistency.
But branding isn’t an automatic given. I know of many established Poshers who are still trying to find a hook that reels them in. The best option is not to fly into it haphazardly. Allow yourself time and don’t be afraid to ask others for input. Branding can be elusive, but it is one goal you will want to strongly consider.
There are almost 300,000 Poshmark closets actively selling – and that figure grows every day. Branding is one way to keep your closet from getting lost in the crowd.
C is for the “COVERSHOT”. Bet you wouldn’t have guessed THAT one in a million years.
It’s the biggie on the list and there are plenty of reasons why….
The covershot, the FIRST picture for your item – the one picture WE REMEMBER most – is SO IMPORTANT it can’t be overstated ev-aaaaahhhhh.
It’s so important, I know more about it than Obamacare. I can’t tell you what health insurance is doing these days, but I can tell you how I’m going to photograph these 20 items I’ve just acquired from a client.
I foresee Covershot 101 being offered at the next Poshfest, or at the very least as a downloadable online course. There are so many considerations it’s impossible to list them all. What ANGLES do you use when your item is too big for the Poshmark picture square? How do you photograph ZEBRA prints without making them look distorted? See? From A to Z. And on and on….
I could just say KEEP IMPROVING your covershots. But that’s such the easy answer, and you’d likely blow me a raspberry for my effort. One thing is certain: amazing closets have the covershot thing down to an exact art. These sellers have their photo areas, lighting and creative juices flowing – and at their disposal – and they ain’t afraid to use them.
While it may seem tedious at first, nailing the mastery of covershot photography can become a natural state of Poshing. You WILL actually reach the point where anything less simply won’t do. So in an effort to rile you up and make you aware of your full CS potential, let’s all steel away our phone cameras and go over:
“THE BASIC RULES OF COVERSHOTTAGE – VOLUME 1, SECTION 1, PART 1, Subchapter 343,504”
No, you won’t be tested on the previous 343,503.
NUMERO UNO. EFFECTIVE COVERSHOTS WILL SCROLL-HALT, NOT SCROLL-ENABLE.
Don’t be an enabler – in anything, generally – unless it’s something that will get me closer to meeting Hugh Jackman.
In terms of Posh, you don’t want us to scroll past – all cylinders clicking with no braking. It’s imperative to halt the madness of our never-ending Posh feed scroll with your covershot prowess. If I’m scanning and your item pops up, it needs to stop me dead in my tracks. You want me to click, right then and there, and be EXTREMELY interested in making that item MINE MINE MINE or at the very least compelled to get my SHARE on with it. And while I’m at it, I think I’ll just check out your entire closet.
The covershot is THE SINGLE most influential way to get a Posher into your closet. The second one is “HEY, COME INTO MY CLOSET!” but that doesn’t work so well when you post it on someone else’s listing. You’ll probably get a reprimand and be stricken from that seller’s Christmas card list. Bummer, dude.
Wanna lure ’em for realz? Give ’em a covershot that knocks their stilettos as far away as Emma Thompson chucked those Louboutins at the Golden Globes last week. And once you get ’em across the threshold, have EVEN BETTER covershots to make them STAY.
2. COVERSHOTS AREN’T CONCRETE.
Once you have a covershot, don’t place all your eggs in that covershot basket. If your item isn’t getting the shares and likes you had hoped for, don’t be afraid to switch photos in your listing. If one pic shows your handbag sitting on a nice background, use that for a while. Then, use picture 3 of you holding the handbag. Even the best covershots do tend to get, well….boring. The same lure doesn’t work for all the fish in Poshmark’s rapid stream. Be prepared to cast a new line every now and then.
3. COVERSHOTS ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR PRODUCT.
Stock pictures are a real draw for many Poshers. These are the pictures found online that show your item when it was new. These pics entice because they are more than likely perfect. The lighting is great, the model has straight teeth, and most importantly – no muffin top. The item looks like it’s been gilded specifically for the shot which looks like it was photographed on the French Riviera.
We get it. They spend millions of dollars on advertising and that makes their items appear to be of the anti-suck variety. We just REALLY want the same from our iPhone 5s and this…15×8 painted wall.
And Lord knows we TRY. We brush our teeth, apply makeup, enlist the aid of Spandex and set up a fan so our hair looks like it’s blown by the tropical breezes we’re only just imagining while standing in our duplex hallway. So what if we haven’t eaten in 10 hours. Where are the children? We’re at the photo shoot. Leave us alone.
But DAMN if that designer’s website doesn’t ALWAYS do a better job.
If you’re selling what they’ve already photographed for you, it’s likely very chill to use that stock pic. If it’s copyrighted, you need permission. One simple way to know this is to right click on the image and see if it prevents you from copying onto your computer. Then look at the site for any mention of image copyrights and attain them if needed. Either way, you need to give a credit in your listing. “pic 1 from macy’s.com”
However, from what I’ve seen in all those amazing Posh closets I’ve visited, sellers generally shy away from the stock image and opt for the DIY route with regard to covershots. Why? Because most buyers are aware of the stock pic thing and want to know what they are REALLY buying. More often than not, the DIY photographed item sells faster.
Still convinced that you want to save time and go stock? That’s cool, but here are a few examples where your covershot photo absolutely NEEDS to be a DIY:
EXAMPLE: You’ve got a green BCBG dress you’re selling but you can only find a BCBG stock pic of the dress in blue. The model is fabulous – long hair, great legs, flat tummy – all the things you aren’t.
If possible, save the blue dress pic for your 2nd-4th listing photo and give us a really lovely composition covershot of your actual green dress. Doesn’t matter that you’re not wearing it. Make sure you mention in the listing that the blue dress is what it is – a representation of what the dress looks like when it’s modeled, but you’re selling it in green. Oh, and your pic came from BCBG.com, of course.
EXAMPLE: You’ve found a photo of brown Frye boots at lyst.com. Your boots don’t look EXACTLY like the photo. Yours are a slightly different style and but they’re brown AND they’re Frye boots. No harm – no foul, right?
To the unsuspecting buyer who’s never seen your boots, this would seem like a fantastic option, except now you have a misrepresentation problem. If she clicks buy, you’re sending her… well, completely different boots. Time to chuck that pic.
Here’s an example of picture usage that gets sticky in the Posh universe: You’re selling a cute tee shirt with a kitten on the front. It’s 2 sizes too small for you and you can’t do it justice by modeling it. Amazingly – Posher X is selling the exact SAME shirt! SCORE! You quickly screen capture her covershot showing HER wearing the shirt. She looks great, btw. You upload it with a few pics of your tee-shirt on the hanger and… DONE!
Hold on, Jesse James. You might want to rethink that tactic. Using another Posher’s pics without their consent is actually covered in the Poshmark TOS (Terms of Service) under Intellectual Property, specifically the Infringement Policy. It can be found HERE.
Just as it is with all copyrighted material, Posher X’s original pics are her intellectual property. Unless she gives you her consent to use them, you are clearly in the wrong to make them part of your own closet. Make it simple for both of you. Ask permission. Usually, Posher X will be flattered that you think her pics are so worthy. And make sure you give her a photo credit in your description. Who knows, she may even start sharing it for you and increase your exposure. That’s good business right there.
And btw, if YOU are Posher X, you can keep the photo thievery at bay by watermarking your photos. Just printing your name across the item in a very faint script does it. Yes, it takes extra time and can sometimes obstruct our view of what you’re selling, but that’s the point of making it difficult for someone else to use, right?
Along the same lines: If you purchased something on Posh that doesn’t fit and you want to RE-POSH it, you can. But it’s a common courtesy to let the seller know that you are going to list the item in your own closet. She may even allow you access to her pics to save you time listing it – if the item condition hasn’t changed since she sold it to you. Be prepared for her to say – “nope, you gotta go through the motions on this – don’t use my body in your closet.”
(Btw, I don’t know for certain that Ryan Gosling, Robert Downey Jr., Channing Tatum and my guy Hugh have absolutely NO QUALMS with us using THEIR bodies in our closets, but it’s PROBABLY fine. Hold on while I attain a verbal ok….)
Pretty things attract. Make sure your pretty thing is ACTUALLY what you are selling.
Whew, that was a long one. How about we move on to our last rule?
4. COVERSHOTS (and all photos) ARE REALLY ABOUT CONTENT, CREATIVITY AND CLARITY
Here’s a challenge: If you already have an established closet, take a minute and approach each of your listings from a viewpoint of someone who’s never seen them. Look at your photos and then look at the actual item. Good match?
How’s that first pic? Are you lured in? Is the lighting good? Can you see the detail? What about the background? Worse thing ever, ladies – unmentionables on your unmade bed just off to the side of that blouse you’re selling. It might have slipped your notice, but it certainly won’t slip ours. This is a classic content mistake. You won’t see that happening in an Amazing Posh Closet.
The CONTENT of your covershot needs to tell us immediately what you are selling without distracting us. Even if you are wearing the item while standing outside on the roof of a building, balloons in one hand – we should know, without asking a single question, that you’re offering us something awesome at a bargain price.
This means figuring out the best way to display your item to showcase it. This involves the background, the lighting, how it is modeled (on you, your friend, a mannequin, or even the floor) and what else makes it into the picture. As they say in FBI training, “always check your corners…”
A naturally-lit item is best, but if you can’t take it outside, find an area of your home and make it YOUR PLACE to take photos.
No, the dog can’t lie there. Nobody better be eating crumbly foods in the vicinity. No running through with muddy shoes, kiddos. Yes, it can be your bed. Made beds in neat debris-free bedrooms ooze organization. Since we can’t visit you personally, you have to make a clear statement to us that you take great care of your wardrobe, so we’ll desire your clothes. Debris and a messy photo shoot makes us wonder what you do with the item immediately after you take the photo. I’m envisioning chucking it into a corner and letting the muddy dog eat crumbly things on it.
Make sure you have the BEST lighting available. If you don’t have the lighting – find ways to create it. I’ve previously posted that an LED flashlight in a dimly lit room can help spotlight smaller items without having to resort to the wash-out flash of your phone’s camera. But keep an eye on how that window light is hitting your item as well. It can cause a glare on your screen and fade out colors in almost the exact same way. This is the reason why the best nature photos are taken on days immediately after it rains. Color pops when the lighting is subdued.
CREATIVITY is your next consideration. When you photograph for your closet, you need to think of every single photo as if it were a piece of art. Let it show your personality. If you’re a minimalist, you’ll stick to a neutral palette. If you are the exhibitionist, you’ll have firetrucks and clowns and fighting matadors and it will be a feast for the sensations. And while we’re on that subject, be careful with TOO much pattern in your backdrop. Especially if you throw a patterned item on top of it. Seizures abound in this kind of creativity. That makes us shut the phone off and swear away from your closet. NOT good.
Looking for a cheap backdrop? Go to your local fabric store and pick up remnant pieces of fabric in neutral colors. You Lady Godivas should grab a small piece of color while at it. Your local discount store also has inexpensive floor length drapery in black and other neutrals that can be hung on a wall (get light absorbing fabrics to aid in photography). Butcher paper works just as well, in brilliant crisp white.
Now it’s time to get those creative juices flowing with the best ways to attract a buyer. Too many examples here, but I strongly suggest you look at instagram stock photos or other closets for inspiration (don’t take their images!) Or just take a gander at a Nordrstom catalog. Fully accept that in photography, the only limitation is what lies between your own ears.
Finally, (yes, finally!!!) we come to Covershot CLARITY.
“OMG, that handbag is GORGEOUS! Wait. Oh, I see – that small set of earrings you’re wearing are the only thing for sale here? Um….your hair is covering them mostly, can’t really see what they look like. Gold posts with…. No, silver with….oh, never mind….”
Be aware – misdirection only works when you’re a magician. Illusions are fun until they turn off buyers. To sell us your item, it has to be at least one of the bigger items in the window. That’s one component of CLARITY.
The other is where you grab hold of your buyer with everything in focus and the item spotlit… without blinding us. And by this, I mean that while I love the graphics apps, it’s so easy to overuse and abuse them. If you’ve run a photo through 3 different graphics programs and then done a special filter through Poshmark and then added 3 more just as heavily graphic-laden photos to make your covershot a collage, you’ve lost me in translation. Where’s the ibuprofen?
REMEMBER, COVERSHOTS K.I.S.S. – Keep it Simple, Sistah. The most beautiful covershots I’ve seen on Poshmark emote so much simplicity it hurts.
Always be editing yourself. If you aren’t sure, ask for someone else’s opinion. In this case, make it another Posher. If she says that she’d be willing to remove organs to wear that dress, you might be on to something.
But if she mentions that your pic looks akin to that of a mug shot, please don’t despair….
Just ask the inmate to return your jewelry and try something else.
Stay tuned for my next post – “The 1-2-3 of AMAZING Poshmark Closets”
Hey, have you seen other distinguishing characteristics of AMAZING closets? Feel free to comment below! And for MORE Posh Q-Tips, please visit my closet at www.poshmark.com/closet/queenmumm