The Marketplace Boom   //   April 30, 2024

Why brands like Cleobella and Rothy’s are testing out Poshmark’s live shopping platform

When Taylor Lamb, svp of marketing at apparel and accessories brand Cleobella, heard that Poshmark was interested in partnering up with brands for a live shopping event, she immediately said yes.

The southern California apparel company had yet to find the right platform for resale. But during a one-hour live shopping event on Poshmark in mid-April, Cleobella sold off dozens of items for charity and caught the attention of hundreds of new shoppers.

“It was an opportunity to communicate our brand values to some of these people who care the most,” Lamb said.

Live shopping has yet to take off in the United States the way it has in China, with an August 2023 survey from Bizrate and Insider Intelligence finding that six in 10 shoppers have neither purchased an item via live shopping nor been interested in testing it out. But Poshmark, which launched its live shopping experience in April 2023 is one of the spots where it’s beginning to gain momentum. While typically hosted by sellers, Poshmark recently experimented with “Share Shows,” where brands hosted an hour-long live event for sellers auctioning off their items.

In addition to Cleobella, participating brands included Christy Dawn, Pact, Rothy’s and more. Each event featured a representative from the brand hosting from their shop or office who could sell off items. Poshmark users with the brands’ items could sell products, too, with their video popping up on a split screen. While the sellers and brand chatted back and forth about the items for sale, viewers could bid on the items and type in their comments.

For Poshmark, the series was a new approach to expanding how it does resale. The company went private when it sold for $1.2 billion in the fall of 2022. Since then, the platform has focused on building out its live shopping service — in just under a year, the average number of shows hosted daily has increased by 57%, and the average daily watch time has increased by 51%. In its first foray working with brands, the Share Shows tapped companies that have seen increased interest from secondhand shoppers. Pact, for instance, has seen a 95% lift in searches in the past two years, while Christy Dawn has seen 40%. Overall,viewers watched 30,000 minutes of Share Shows across seven events in April.

Vincent Yang, co-founder and CEO and video commerce platform Firework, said the power of live streaming for brands is the ability to build a community with sellers. He said Poshmark makes particular sense as a livestream platform because shoppers come to the app looking to treasure hunt and find something unique. “The more authentic it is, the better,” he said.

Yang also said that viewers will be more engaged if provided the opportunity to ask questions or respond to what the seller has to say. And while nascent, live shopping is still on the rise — Firework’s research showed that there were 26.2 million people who tuned into its brands’ livestreams in the fourth quarter of 2023, up from 16 million the year before. 

Lamb from Cleobella said part of the appeal in participating in Poshmark’s first-ever branded event was that interested shoppers were already there. Searches for Cleobella items have gone up by about one-third in the past year, according to Poshmark data.

Now, Lamb is continuing to operate a Poshmark closet for Cleobella using extras from its sample sets sent to wholesale clients. The company recently became a B Corp, Lamb said, and participating in resale can help ensure its products don’t end up as textile waste. “It’s a cool way to give those samples a second life and sell inventory that way,” she said.

Other brands that participated included apparel companies Pact, Christy Dawn and Whimsy and Row. Rachel Temko, owner of Whimsy and Row, said the live shopping event it put on raised exposure for the brand and helped boost interest in the product; the event went 30 minutes over the scheduled time because so many people were participating. While Whimsy and Row does have its own resale operation on its site, Temko said there’s additional power in showing off an item live — like being able to answer questions about fit and show the drape of the fabric.

She said the experience has her considering how to incorporate more live events in the future.

“Shopping online can be impersonal,” Temko said. “To be in real-time, with everybody commenting and winning the auction … it did make me feel more confident about doing something with our audience.”

Rothy’s held its Share Show on Poshmark on April 21. It brought in 22 sellers who sold off items from their own closets, while the Rothy’s team auctioned off four special items like a limited-edition overnight bag. Proceeds from Rothy’s sales went to the environmental organization Veritree, while sellers could decide where they wanted to donate.

Jamie Gersch, CMO at Rothy’s, said the company hadn’t dabbled in live shopping much to this point. But Poshmark was a good fit because the brand already has fans who resell its products on the platform, Gersch said.

“We always wanted to dip our toe into live shopping, and it felt like the perfect fit, knowing we had a natural community,” she said. Sellers showed off their items hit starting bids as low as $3, while a few members of Rothy’s team hosted from their office and chimed in with background information.

In the end, more than 2,000 people turned in, and all the items sold. Given the success, Gersch said Rothy’s would consider future live events. The strength, she said, was having passionate Rothy’s fans talking about the products and being able to show them off in different ways.

“Until we did it, you don’t realize it. But then you have people actively engaging in the brand and the product and really bringing it to life in all new ways,” Gersch said. “It really let us engage the community in a way we hadn’t before.”

As for Poshmark, CMO Steven Tristan Young told Modern Retail in an email that the platform will consider more brand partnerships in the future. “Both brand partners and Poshmark’s community have expressed enthusiasm around the Share Shows model, where brands and community members are connecting and selling alongside each other, and we hope to create more of these win-win partnerships in the future,” he said.