Build It and Connect with Users Offline—and They Will Come

Manish Chandra CEO & Co-Founder Poshmark

When we set out to create Poshmark—our app to allow people to buy and sell fashion from each other’s closets—we began by seeding the local market. We hosted small, intimate events at wine bars in San Francisco where women could come together, have drinks, and socialize around fashion and style. We would get to know our potential customers on a personal level, show them how to use the app and hear how they related to their closets. When the event was over they would go home and tell their friends about the app. That’s how our first 100 users were recruited, so I guess you can say we literally built our community woman by woman. The genuine relationships that were fostered in the beginning have rippled and expanded throughout the marketplace—and Poshmark has grown into the largest mobile marketplace for fashion.

Poshmark has millions of users and over $1 million worth of inventory is uploaded into the Poshmark marketplace every day. In 2013 alone, 300,000 Poshmark “closets” have been opened by women across America, where they have sold over 1.5 million items.

The lesson? The “network effect” is real, powerful, and transformative. But you have to start somewhere, even with a very small number of customers, and build something so sticky that those early adopters not only keep using it but also tell their friends.