Retail veteran Jenny Ming first downloaded the Poshmark app last spring.
The former chief executive officer and president of Charlotte Russe and founding brand president of Old Navy had been in contact with Manish Chandra, founder and ceo of Poshmark, and wanted to see for herself what the platform was all about.
“You can’t be in retail and not know what’s going on,” Ming told WWD.
After receiving positive feedback from her daughter and even helping a friend sell some dresses on the site, Ming decided to set up her own account.
“I am certainly going to be a buyer and a seller on Poshmark,” she said. “Because I have a lot of shoes that I need to upload and sell on Poshmark. So, anyone in size 7 shoes will get a great assortment.”
But that’s not the only way she will be engaging with the resale site. Ming is the latest addition to Poshmark’s board.
Ming, who’s resume includes a number of traditional retailers, like Gap Inc., Barneys New York and a current spot on the board of Levi Strauss & Co., said it was the California-based start-up’s potential — and ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences — that attracted her to the company.
“Poshmark is more than just an e-commerce platform,” she said. “It’s really about social networking and interaction. It’s a very exciting business model.
“We don’t like to think of ourselves as only resale,” Ming added, referring to the future of Poshmark. “If you are just stuck with one channel — like brick-and-mortar — that’s how most brands have failed. You have to evolve to where consumers are excited to engage and where they want to buy. And what’s exciting about retail is that it’s not limited to one platform or channel. That’s going to keep growing and it’s going to keep evolving. I think Poshmark is the kind of platform that can evolve with the consumers’ demands.”
At present, the apparel and accessories resale platform has more than 50 million active users in the U.S. and Canada. But Ming said the company might go further abroad, in places like China and the U.K., in the future. The resale site has also recently expanded into home decor.
But the lucrative resale market is one many industry experts and traditional retailers have their eyes on, not just Poshmark. That’s because the resale market is expected to grow to somewhere between $41 billion and $51 billion — up from around $20 billion — in the next five years, depending on who you talk to. Even department stores, like Macy’s and J.C. Penney, have begun experimenting with resale.
Ming’s addition to the Poshmark board makes her the seventh member, following the news of tennis star Serena Williams joining in February.
“We’re incredibly proud of the board we’ve built at Poshmark,” Chandra said in a statement. “Each member contributes a unique perspective that will help us scale our community of shoppers and sellers. Jenny Ming will be instrumental as we continue to diversify our social commerce platform and expand our retail and geographical footprint.”
Other board members include Chandra; Navin Chaddha, managing director at Mayfield; Hans Tung, managing partner at GGV Capital; John Marren, senior managing director, North America at Temasek, and Jeff Epstein, former chief financial officer of Oracle and DoubleClick.
Meanwhile, rumors began swirling in the spring that Poshmark plans to go public, but Ming would not confirm or deny. If the company does go public, it will join a growing list of brands, retailers — and resale sites — to do so, or plan to, in the last year, including The RealReal, Levi’s, Revolve, Farfetch and, most recently, Cole Haan.
Either way, Ming said shoppers — particularly younger ones — desire for newness, coupled with an increased interest in sustainability, are what has allowed Poshmark to continue to grow so rapidly.
“That’s the great thing about fashion — it changes constantly,” she said. “Our own tastes change constantly. To be able to enable a consumer to change clothes so frequently is really a winning formula.”