MF 216 : Working with a business partner on Poshmark
In this episode, I take a look at working with a business partner on Poshmark, including the three most important factors: 1) communication, 2) dividing responsibilities, and 3) trust. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Part 1: Traveling back in time with classic films
Lately, I’ve been binging a lot of black and white films. A month ago, I talked about 12 Angry Men, which is still streaming on Prime and one of my favorite legal dramas.
I tend to go through phases when it comes to black and white movies. Most of the time, I stick to more modern fare but every now and then, I go through weeks when the classics call out to me.
Of late, I’ve revisited Inherit the Wind, another one of my other favorite legal dramas, and two weeks ago, I was introduced to Chaplin in The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator, both which I highly recommend. This past weekend, I revisited Key Largo, one of the first black and white films I saw as a kid and the one that introduced me to the timeless romance of “Bogie and Bacall,” along with the masterpiece, Citizen Kane. Oddly, I was not a fan the first time I saw Citizen Kane because I watched it in a high school film seminar that met well after 3 pm. By the time it was over, it was close to 7 pm and I was annoyed that Orsen Welles’ gigantic head kept me from having dinner. Since then, I’ve watched Citizen Kane numerous times and while it’s not my absolute favorite, it is an incredible movie; each time offering something new.
Are you a fan of black and white films? If so, I’d love to know what some of your favorites are.
Part 2: The three cornerstones to a good partnership on Poshmark
Today, we take a look at partnering with someone to run a Poshmark store. Throughout this series, I’ve been sharing our journey, the key word being “our.” You may recall, and if you’re new here, I recommend that you start with episode 202, that my Dad and I got onto Poshmark after trying out many e-commerce platforms. Our goal was to make my Dad’s retail business more competitive and current. We discovered Poshmark in May, 2018 and since then, have been investing more time and energy into it as a driver of sales and brand recognition.
So, what does our day-to-day look like? How do we as a duo work together on Poshmark?
Schedule-wise, I work with my Dad once a week at his shop, typically Wednesdays. On those days, we dedicate time to creating new listings, averaging around 15-30 per week. We also do inventory spot checks, making sure that what we have listed matches what we have in stock.
The rest of the week, it’s all about text messaging and phone calls to manage the store.
If you’re selling on Poshmark as a side hustle, you may be thinking about working with a partner. The advantages range from increasing your inventory to doubling your coverage and time that you can spend on the app. As I’ve talked about over the past months, engagement is key: immersing yourself in the community through Poshmark parties, sharing listings (yours and others), and answering questions. This is what drives sales.
Having been on the app for just shy of one year, I believe there are three important cornerstones for making a Poshmark partnership work.
As mentioned above, my Dad and I only work in person together once a week. This means, the rest of the week we communicate regularly with one another with texts and phone calls. As the front-facing part of the Poshmark store, I handle most of the in-app stuff: communicating with potential customers, engaging in Poshmark parties, and negotiating offers. My Dad is the subject matter expert. He knows clothes and he knows his products. When I get a question that I don’t know the answer to, I text or call him to get the answer. It’s a delicate balancing act since we’re both very busy. Sometimes, I have to wait for an answer since he’s attending to other business. My Dad also provides important guidelines for negotiating offers; giving me the guideposts on the “zones of agreement” for listings so I can close a sale at a satisfactory price (for more on this, check out episode 213). Communication between partners and to your customers is the foundation for a great Poshmark experience.
Best Practice tip: If you’re not able to answer a question right away, send a quick reply that you will follow up within an hour or as soon as you can. You can create a standard message and stick it in your notes app, which you can copy and paste as a standard reply. This way, you’re acknowledging the customer’s inquiry and letting him or her know that you will follow-up.
This is another important factor for a Poshmark partnership: who does what. My Dad and I split up responsibilities as follows. I handle most of the in-app engagement, while he handles operations management and distribution. To illustrate, when we close a sale, I let him know that we sold an item. Even though we’re both on the app, I still let him know, providing redundancy in sales notifications by texting him a photo of the item and style number. The mailing label goes straight to his email. Since all of the inventory is at his shop, he finds the sold item, packs it, prints out the shipping label, and takes it to USPS for shipping. Once that’s done, I confirm shipment on the app and let the customer know we have shipped out his or her purchase. We both enjoy what we do. My Dad loves the physical packing of the item, printing out the labels, and taking trips to the post office, while I enjoy negotiating and closing sales on the app. This is just one way to divide your responsibilities. You and your partner may follow a similar work-share or do a 50-50 split on both activities. Figure out what works best for you both by leveraging your strengths, availability, and what you enjoy doing.
Best Practice Tip: Have Poshmark emails forwarded to your business partner’s account as well yours. You can do this on most mail providers by creating a rule (e.g. have all emails with the word “Poshmark” forwarded to this address). This way, you both receive sales notifications and copies of the mailing label.
This is the throughline for factors 1 and 2. Whether your partner is a family member, friend, or someone you’ve decided to work with, make sure you trust one another. If you decide to be partners on Poshmark, you are sharing access to the same store, the same login, the same information, and financials. Treat it as if you’re sharing a joint bank account. Trust is paramount.
If you’re thinking about taking on a Poshmark partner, figure out the logistics and day-to-day responsibilities. Have the hard conversations before you enter into a partnership. How do you handle disagreements and conflicts? How do you divide responsibilities, how do you allocate your time (how much time do you have to allocate), as well as how you divide up the responsibilities and rewards. Consider all of these before you decide to take that Posh leap together.
Part 3: What I’m reading / read
The Library Book by Susan Orlean (****1/2). A fascinating book that covers several time periods within the history of the Los Angeles Library, including the 1986 fire that nearly destroyed it and the person suspected of starting the fire; and the overall role of libraries in our society and culture. Last year, I saw the book trending on Goodreads with rave reviews, not knowing what it was about. As a bibliophile and library aficionado, this book hooked me from page 1. Although I grew up a kid of the 80s, I knew nothing about the 1986 fire. As Orlean reveals, that’s because it was overshadowed by the Chernobyl crisis that occurred just two days before. The book reads like a mystery combined with a fascinating historical and sociological study. I highly recommend it.
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