At first, Kaycie Morwood wanted to get rid of her old clothes before starting college. That’s how her online store on Poshmark got started. Poshmark is a marketplace where people can buy and sell clothes and home goods.
During her first semester at California State University, East Bay, she made only $400 in sales. But after studying trends and sellers’ strategies, she learned how to flip clothing from thrift stores and made her casual side hustle profitable.
Documents looked at by CNBC Make It show that since Morwood opened her store in June 2016, she has made $30,000 on the platform. For five years, she saved those earnings. Last August, she spent $17,000 of them — plus a $2,000 gift from her parents — to cover her entire wedding.
“It felt perfect to have the extra money, some wiggle room in my budget,” Morwood, 24, tells CNBC Make It. “I didn’t have to stress about my wedding putting me in debt.”
Today, Morwood is a full-time biomedical researcher with a salary of $55,000 per year. She commits two hours weekly to her side hustle, earning an additional $7,000 last year. “It takes about two minutes to set up. Then I’ll go watch Netflix, work out, or go to my daytime job,” she says. “Then at night, when I’m lying in bed, I just answer questions, edit listings, and do easy maintenance work.”
Morwood has also done well selling different things on other sites, like Facebook Marketplace and Mercari, which has helped him save an extra $8,000 Here’s how she uses data to navigate those reselling markets and what she plans to do with the rest of her savings.
A very lucrative pink puppy
In her side hustle’s early days, Morwood says she spent months casually selling clothes she already owned and silently stalking other users’ stores to figure out how to expand her own. She also needed a fashion education. Wearing school uniforms through the eighth grade left her out of the style loop, she says.
“I wore the same outfit every day for nine years, so I wasn’t in tune with fashion,” she says. “I quickly learned people are biased toward brands.” In March 2017, she had her first big break with an $8 Victoria’s Secret Pink Princess dog. Another seller was trying to get rid of a set of the logoed, magenta-stuffed pups. Based on her prior research, Morwood figured she could buy the largest one from the group and resell it for $50.
After buying the dog, she did some more research and found that it was going for more than $1,000 on other resale apps. She put it up for sale right away on Mercari, a Japanese site for selling gifts and toys; it eventually sold for $1,200. Morwood later learned that it was one of only 20 ever made. “It taught me that anything is possible regarding reselling,” she says.
Reselling like a data scientist
Even though the stuffed animal cost Morwood more than $1,000, she says she mostly sells clothes. Poshmark has a bigger buyer base; its website says that about 80 million people use it every month to buy things. Last year, Mercari said that it had 19 million monthly users.
When you do a search on Poshmark, the prices of items that sell a lot are also shown. This helps Morwood come up with new ways to sell things. She says that her constant monitoring and use of data helped roughly double her sales every year from 2017 to 2020.
Now that the wedding is over, she says she is putting about $6,000 a year of her savings into a Roth IRA and the rest towards paying off the couple’s mortgage. Drew, her husband, even started his own Poshmark store because of how well the side job did. Morwood says that in their new house, the second bedroom is used only for Poshmark items.
There are hard parts to the work. Some of the app’s features make it hard for sellers to argue their case. Morwood says that when a case is opened against a seller, usually for clothes that are damaged or stained, the seller is put in a group chat with a Poshmark rep and the buyer. Almost always, the buyer wins.
As a safety measure, Morwood says she takes pictures of every piece of clothing before it’s sent out to make sure it was clean and in good condition when it was sold. She says that Poshmark has given money back to the buyer and still paid her for the sale.
The other problem is a lack of time. She says that if she could, she would quit her full-time job and sell clothes full-time. Morwood says, “The worst thing about my side job is that I like it more than my full-time job.”
“I would feel comfortable quitting my full-time job if I could get my business up and running to the point where I could make $50,000 a year.”
Courtesy: CNBC Make IT