Fashion / Shopping

The Not-So Quick Buck: What E-Selling Is Actually Like

Let’s just say I won’t be paying off my college loans anytime soon.


I read an article a couple of months back about one girl’s fairytale story. I’m not talking about the time she bumped into this incredibly handsome, intelligent, and loyal man (can’t forget loyal) and fell madly in love. No, I’m talking about an epic tale of a woman reselling the forgotten styles of her past online, thrusting her into a financially stable life, so much so, that she paid off all of her college loans. The end; she lived happily ever after. I normally don’t buy into these stories, but for some reason I took a strong interest in this girl’s story. What was particularly striking to me was that the article’s tone didn’t illustrate an ‘exception story’, you know, the ones that only happen to one-millionth of the Earth’s population? Instead of portraying this girl as the exception, she seemed to be an average girl with debt like every other kid in college, and therefore suggesting that I could too, catapult my way out of debt. If there was ever a time to want to be like some one else, this was my moment. I was sold.

Just a quick fun fact about yours truly: when I have an idea in mind, I put 500% of my effort into making it happen. I mean, I run with it; I think about it, daydream about it, and write about it. I think it into existence essentially, and that’s kind of what I did with this scheme. So I scavenged the far depths of my closet and drawers looking for unwanted clothing from my punk-rock, 80s hip hop, and Gossip Girl preppy phases in fashion. I don’t know why it took me so long to go through my clothes, but I was glad I did. It not only gave me a large selection of clothes to potentially sell, but I lifted a weight that I had no clue existed off my shoulders and into an extra large, Hefty trash bag.

After one more quick sweep through my now disheveled room, I returned to my bag full of goods and sorted through all of my findings. I dumped anything that looked torn or worn out, and filed the remaining into categories: shirts, bottoms, dresses, and outerwear. But before I could do anything else, I needed a platform to do all of my e-selling on. So I did some research.

I lifted a weight that I had no clue existed off my shoulders and into an extra large, Hefty trash bag.

For the record, there a tons of spaces for ecommerce. There’s eBay, Etsy, and many others that let you sell original content along with vintage or used, hand-me-downs. While I had made purchases from other people on eBay, I thought of the mega-mart (so-to-speak) as a platform for people who wanted to make ecommerce a full-time source of income. I didn’t need all of that. I just wanted a quick place to sell my stuff, make a quick buck, pay some bills, and get rich like the girl I read about. So in the interest of time and lack of passion, I joined Poshmark, a site solely for the purpose of reselling old clothing. Poshmark did take a percentage of your earnings, but it was also the site the girl in my fairytale story used, so I figured it was my safest bet.

Poshmark was easy. All I had to do was set up an account, take pictures of my items and provide a price. I wanted to do this right though. So after making my account, I started following everyone on Poshmark who had a style similar to me. This wasn’t like Instagram to me, so I didn’t really care if my following to followers ratio was unbalanced. I figured the more people I followed, the more likely it would be for me to get traffic to my page.

Where was the money?

I was right. Only minutes after uploading my first ten pictures, I started to get a load of follows and interaction. Immediately, girls started liking the pictures of my faux, fur coat, a sequined dress I only wore once, and my mod, blue dress. A huge grin grew on my face because I knew I was close to the big bucks. Although no one had made a purchase, I knew the likes meant that they were interested. So I waited.

Days went by without a single purchase. Where was the money? I continued to get likes on the different garments, but no one was making any final moves. I was getting impatient as the days flew by. I didn’t understand why people weren’t buying my stuff. Even though these were items I no longer wanted in my wardrobe, they were still very trendy and fashionable. I assumed it would only be a matter of time before some one wanted to add it to their closet. But no one did apparently. I tried entering my clothes into type-specific ‘parties’ to reach a larger audience, but that only increased my likes, not my bank account.

She was thinking long term benefits, while I expected short term benefits with a turnaround of a day or two.

A couple of days later. I got my first comment: “Cute!” That’s all she said. In my head I was thinking, I know it’s cute. I bought it and wore for years! But I simply replied with a “Thanks!” A short period later, I got another comment on a high-low dress I posted, asking me if I could model it. Who did these people think I was? I wasn’t a model, nor will I ever be. I was also a full-time student and didn’t have the time or the energy to come home and take pictures of myself. So I uploaded a picture from the Internet of a model wearing my exact dress. I resolved that issue quickly, but I quickly realized e-selling wasn’t a hobby; it was a job.

Following many more comments of followers and potential buyers asking me to model my clothes or show how I would style the piece with something else, I flashed back to my fairytale story. It then dawned on me that this girl probably dedicated a large chunk of her day to looking for clothing, pricing, modelling, and interacting with customers in order to pay off her school loans. She probably treated it like a job and I was treating this as a get-rich-quick scheme. She was thinking long term benefits, while I expected short term benefits with a turnaround of a day or two.

Needless to say, I didn’t make a single sale. It might have been because I grew irritable with all of my picky followers and only checked my Postmark account if some one mentioned the possibility of making a purchase. To avoid anymore notifications, I closed my account down a month after opening it. E-selling is so much harder than it looks. It takes unimaginable drive and dedication. It also takes great patience. I’m not saying that even in a month I would have been a millionaire, but if I had held on a little longer, I might have sold at least one item. Honestly, I still have hopes of reopening it with a new direction and focus, but I think I would have to prepare myself in every sense of the word for answering comments, modeling clothes, and obliging whatever annoying requests people might have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a lazy person who doesn’t have a strong work ethnic. I just find that I keep momentum and put the maximum amount of energy into things that I am truly passionate about. E-selling is not one of them. While I started out with an exciting idea, I quickly realized my heart was no longer in it. I guess I’ll have to obtain my financial stability a different way.

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