MF 387 : Poshmark update: A conversation with Ashley Waters Gordon (@kensingtoncrew)
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Ashley Waters Gordon (@kensingtoncrew closet) is a third-year med student, wife, mother of 6, and a small business owner on Poshmark! On today's episode, you'll learn how she balances of all of these responsibilities. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Ashley Waters Gordon
Ashley is a successful Poshmark seller based in Atlanta, GA. She's also a wife, mom of six kids, and a third year med student! How does she do it all? I was curious to find out as I'm sure you are. Ashley and I first connected sometime in late February. Earlier that month, I presented on Poshmark for the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association. Ashley, herself a JHU alum, was one of the attendees. She reached out to me afterwards and let me she know that's a fellow Poshmark seller. You can find her store at @kensingtoncrew.
Update: read more about Ashley in the August 11th issue of NextAdvisor (in partnership with TIME)
Ashley has been selling on Poshmark for four-to-five years. She got on the platform after her fifth child was born, following a chance encounter at a local Goodwill in Buckhead, a residential district in Georgia. Ashley always loved thrifting at this particular Goodwill. On this trip, she saw a woman carting around a haul of beautiful clothing. Ashley observed that this person wasn’t simply shopping but “really thinking and coordinating.” Ashley complimented her on her taste to which she replied “Oh, I do Poshmark.” From there, Ashley tried it out as an experiment. Today, that "experiment" has blossomed into a busy store with new listings going up regularly, and Ashley having achieved Poshmark Ambassador status.
“I said I have no idea what this is and she explained it to me and I started it, posting nic nacs and things that I would pick up from Goodwill.” -AWG
Ashley experienced early success selling those items, which let her know this could be a worthwhile venture. In describing her first sale of a tennis skirt, she recalls her exact feeling.
“Oh my gosh, it’s like the biggest rush! It’s like winning a race in track and field!" -AWG
Ashley illustrates how this first sale clued her into a worthwhile market. As tennis skirts are popular in her area due to the popularity of the sport and the temperate climate, she could find inventory at low prices. She invested in more tennis skirts, listing them on the platform, which led to more sales. Moreover, she had great profit margins on each sale.
From fond memories to a memorable brand
As I’ve shared on the series, making a strong first impression counts. Ashley’s store “kensingtoncrew” sounds like the name of a clothing boutique. It’s catchy, easy to say, and highly memorable. The story behind it is equally fascinating. Ashley reveals that for a time she and her family lived in London (Bristol) where one of her kids was born. As a family they spent a lot of time in Kensington. She explains that the place had a special and practical meaning for her and her family.
“We would drive to get the really good peanut butter at the Whole Foods in Kensington. So, I had this connection and we would go and feed the ducks in the pond in Kensington, near Kensington Palace … it was a great time of life for me.” -AWG
The word “crew” is equally meaningful as Ashley recalls growing up in the DC area, and seeing numerous crew teams rowing in the Potomac River. Today, her oldest kids are also rowing crew. Thus, the two words have a special meaning for Ashley, which combined make up the name of her store.
“I think for me it represented a cool sport but also it represented our family which is truly a crew. We could field our own rowing team!” -AWG
From early success to growth
After Ashley got traction with those first sales, she started doing some external research on the platform to see how she could build off her initial success. She wanted to learn more about the algorithm and how to stand out as a seller. What she discovered was a tried and true formula for success: engagement.
“Their whole ethos with community and connecting people.” -AWG
Ashley also credits the woman who first told her about Poshmark at Goodwill. She advised Ashley to start connecting early by commenting on other seller closets and listings. This resonated with Ashley who is naturally a positive person and drawn to any environment that cultivates connection. Ashley took the advice to heart, sharing other seller listings, and highlighting them in addition to her own. This led to a growing follower base, which in turn led to more sales.
"We were all lighting each other’s candles.” -AWG
Ashley also made her side business a family affair. She employed her kids to do a lot of the more tactical steps such as liking, following, and sharing while driving them to their after school activities. Ashley would pay them, thus providing a great first life lesson for her kids, while leveraging those extra hands to grow her store.
Today, Ashley’s kids are a regular part of her Poshmark business. Notably, one of her daughters posts old clothes and jewelry she no longer wears. Clearly the lessons have paid off while simultaneously giving her store another source of inventory.
Joining a robust community
Ashley started on Poshmark as a side hustle experiment. She soon discovered an entire community behind it and that got her more engaged. As I’ve shared, Poshmark is more than a “list and leave it” online marketplace. Success and sales requires diving in, connecting with buyers and sellers, and engaging. For Ashley, this was true online and off. As her business grew, she noticed more sellers in her neighborhood, particularly at the post office, a regular drop off spot for busy Poshmark sellers. Ashley notes that her post office recognized this growing segment and did something particularly unique to help them out.
“All the time at our local post office – they’ve got a bin for the Poshmarkers because it’s so active. I love that most because I really feel a sense of community.” -AWG
Prior to this, Poshmark sellers at this branch had to drive around to the back to a loading dock due to the high volume of outgoing packages. Ashley points out that in designating a section for Poshmark sellers, the post office taking care of an important customer segment. It's a win-win for all.
Juggling it all
I’ve consistently said that Poshmark can be tailored to a busy schedule. Many sellers do this on the side while others make it their full time business. However, it’s one thing for me to say it’s possible, it’s another to see a great example of this. Ashley is as busy as it gets with her many responsibilities, both familial and career-wise. So, exactly how do you manage a Poshmark store when you have so much going on? Ashley answers this with a simple piece of advice that any of us can follow.
“I’m a big believe in if it would take you 30 seconds to do, do it now.” -AWG
Running a Poshmark store is a tapestry of small activities such as listing, liking, following, or sharing. With the exception of listing, most of these can be done in 30 seconds or less. Listing, which admittedly takes a little longer, can be done in a matter of minutes. Ashley’s advice is the cornerstone of running a Poshmark business as a side-hustle. The small activities add up so do them when you have those spare seconds.
Ashley is also big believer in setting time boundaries, whether it’s for family time or study time. Her big picture plan for running a Poshmark store are below and easy to follow with a little work, time management, and discipline.
1. Try to do as much advance planning as possible.
2. If it can take 30 seconds or less, do it now.
3. Take advantage of those downtime moments when you’re not as fruitful or productive.
This third one is notable. Ashley explains that we all have lulls, periods in which our brains are resting and not as productive. She suggests that following the 30 second rule, you can add some easy productivity into those periods by engaging with your Poshmark store. As I’ve shared, you can replace browsing on social media or watching a YouTube video with a small Poshmark activity. Ashley explains that she developed insomnia from her pregnancies. This on top of being a busy med student means her waking hours were hardly typical. Specifically, she found that she was awake from 2 – 4 am. Instead of watching Netflix or staring at the ceiling, Ashley used those moments to work on her business.
“Instead of watching All-Stars of Poker, I think I’d rather do shares and connect with people on Poshmark and luckily Poshmark is one of those 24 hour things. It’s always available.” -AWG
You may be surprised to hear that Ashley’s biggest challenge isn’t time or juggling responsibilities or getting her shipments out on time. Instead, it’s the more nuts and bolts aspects of the business. She mentions “managing the books” and financial accounting. This is a good problem to have. It signals that her business is growing. She isn’t simply selling one or two items but has grown to a point where the 10,000-foot considerations of a business come into play.
To overcome this challenge, Ashley is a self-described “voracious learner.” She isn’t resting on her laurels but instead continuing to learn more about running a Poshmark business. She continues to read articles and listen to podcasts. In that regard, one great tip she shares is to visit the company website to learn what’s new and to get a sense of where things are headed in the future. It’s a very forward thinking way of approaching your business. Clearly, the “experiment” worked out well and now going on five-six years, Ashley has fully integrated it into her already full and busy life. It’s the growth mindset that keeps her investing time, energy, and ideas into her enterprise.
“I’m still learning and I enjoy that learning process.” -AWG
Advice for new Poshers
Ashley’s best advice embodies what she’s shared throughout the episode. She started by asking someone in Goodwill who happened to be shopping inventory for her Poshmark store. She continues to read articles, visit the company’s website, and attend events such as my presentation back in February. Moreover, she wasn't shy about reaching out to me and other Poshmarkers to grow, and learn. Ashley attributes her success to embracing the community aspect of the platform.
“Find a couple people you can bounce questions off of and grow together with.” -AWG
Finally, Ashley recommends leveraging your other social media platforms. She opened and grew a dedicated Instagram account for @kensingtoncrew. This has enabled her to deepen and expand her connections to fellow Poshers, while providing another marketing channel for her store.
“I learn so much from what these other Poshers are posting on Instagram. People are always coming up with creative, new ways to sell their Poshmark items, how to connect social media back to generate sales on Poshmark.” -AWG
Connect with Ashley:
Kensingtoncrew closet on Poshmark
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Watch the video of our conversation on Facebook:
Additional resources on Poshmark
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