With over 6600 listings and around 96k followers, one can confidently say that Justin and Mary Marantz built a successful Poshmark empire. We talked to Justin Marantz, wedding photographer and e-commerce entrepreneur, about the profitable business he created together with his wife, Mary. Read on to learn about the duo’s key lessons while building up their Poshmark shop from the ground up, what’s crucial to shoot e-commerce content that converts, and why investing in good lighting equipment is fundamental to setting up your business for success.
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What started as a hobby grew into a successful six-figure e-commerce business
In 2019, Justin and Mary started thrifting as a hobby, then photographed and re-sold the items they found online. Discovering some amazing pieces, focusing on jeans, shoes, and other apparel, led them to Poshmark and resulted in a regular sourcing and selling cycle within just a year. Winning Poshmark’s grant program “Heart and Hustle” in 2020 kicked the hobby off into a real business. Since then, the duo has built a strong community of customers and followers, employs a team that does flat lay product photography, and is determined to grow their business to scale.
Optimizing the business workflow to meet ambitious growth targets
From sourcing to prepping, photographing, listing, and getting the items ready for sale – Justin and Mary do everything in-house, backed up by two other team members in production – one lister and one photographer. Focusing on fashion and accessories helps speed up the process. The team of four currently manages to get 30 items per day ready to be sold – from prepping to listing. According to Justin, sourcing items isn’t a problem, but processing can be challenging. To stay organized, the team created a system based on SKU numbers that’s easy to manage across different people if needed. Justin keeps track of his growth targets via a calendar on his phone. The goal is to move into their own warehouse: “Then we can move all the operations under one roof. We can start to scale and can have multiple sets going at a time. My hope is that within a year, we’re able to do 150 items a day.”
Consistency is crucial in capturing great product images for Poshmark
Capturing products efficiently and in a streamlined manner has led Justin and his team to shoot apparel flat lay. Shoes and accessories are shot on table top. When showcasing products on the popular fashion marketplace, it’s crucial to take consistent, high-quality images. “You obviously want to have a great cover image that pulls people in,” says Justin. Getting potential customers to click on your listing is the first step in getting them to buy your product. The next step is giving shoppers an accurate impression of the item by showing details, tags, and potential flaws and defects. Having consistency in your images for one product and from item to item is crucial for Justin. “Everything has a similar feel to it which makes the shop seem more professional and gives customers a lot more validation and trust towards us.” Using Profoto equipment, the team’s photographers can create consistent visual content repeatedly, “being able to have a setup of Profoto lighting and umbrellas set the way you want it, we get that consistency. We get consistency shot to shot in the different product details, but also from item to item.”
Essentials for second-hand product images
- The cover image is key: make it pop out on the listing page
- Show all the details, flaws, and signs of wear
- Create consistency from shot to shot and item to item
Flat lay photography supports fast turnaround times
“We’ve played around with all the photography options. Flat lay is the fastest for us.” For Justin, the most important thing is capturing good images at scale with minimum effort: “the name of the game here is to get good images that can be done quickly and can be repeated over and over again.” Flat lays are optimal for showcasing items in different sizes and make it easy to train another team member to take the product image. To get the perfect shot, Justin and his team work with one Profoto B10, one A2, and two white umbrellas positioned at a 45-degree angle. “It gets the job done in terms of consistency and it doesn’t show off any wrinkles when an item hasn’t been steamed to perfection.” All flat lays are shot on a white foam board raised by cinder blocks and wooden boards. Using this setup, the team doesn’t have to bend over as much and can tuck their toes underneath as they photograph.
Shoes and purses are photographed on table top using a combination of hard and soft light. “We do a soft main light with a 2:3 OCF softbox and usually have a hard light in the back as a header light or off to the other side. That combination looks really nice on shoes.” A 5-feet Octa softbox is used as an ove fill light to bring out product details, show texture, and add highlights. The result is a clean image that perfectly showcases the product.
Advice for those embarking on their own Poshmark journey
“The more you can niche down and focus on one to three categories makes sourcing and listing so much easier” – the more you can streamline, the better. Justin advises always to watch your expenses when sourcing items. “Watch your costs and keep them as low as possible. You can then afford to make mistakes and sourcing wrong items isn’t a huge loss.” For Justin, the goal is quick sell-through. “Show your customers exactly what they’re getting when ordering from you and do so with the best possible light.” Consistency is crucial when it comes to product images. “Having consistency is the bread and butter to our business,” says Justin. The team keeps monitoring how much time the different steps in their workflow take, then they try to improve it. “Even one second matters if you do it often enough.” Being able to speed up your photography workflow means prepping more items and eventually selling more in one day. For that, Justin initiated a photography flow, shooting with a fixed, mounted camera overhead and capturing details with a second camera. Like that, there’s “no need to focus, adjust, crop, and so on,” states Justin.
Justin’s advice for getting started on Poshmark
- Watch your expenses and keep them as low as possible
- Absorb as much info as you can and learn about brands, trends, and styles
- Invest in good photography and lighting equipment
Justin and Mary Marantz’s journey of successfully launching their Poshmark webshop is an inspiring one. By experimenting, learning, and adapting, the duo built a thriving e-commerce presence supported by a strong community, making their webshop a go-to destination for second-hand shoppers.