Quarantine Chronicles: Student Turns Her Side-Hustle into a Full-time Gig Thanks to COVID

On June 4, 2019, I took my first step in pursuing my dream side hustle, by joining Poshmark. For those who might not know, Poshmark is an online community where anyone can resell their clothes, shoes, accessories, and home goods, sometimes in only a matter of 60-seconds. I found out about the platform five years ago and patiently waited for it to come to Canada. During this time, I made sure to do my research to ensure that when it was my time to sell, I was ready for it. Poshmark ended up launching in Canada this time last year.

For as long as I can remember, I have been following other thrifters on Instagram, where I was introduced to reselling clothes online. I have been reselling my clothes since high school, using platforms such as Ebay, Instagram and Facebook Marketplace. Throughout my entire school career, I considered myself to be a part-time clothing seller.

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted my life, as I’m sure it did for many others. I was in my final year of university. It still doesn’t feel real that it ended the way it did. I was disappointed knowing I was going to finish school online, missing out on all the year-end celebrations my friends and I had been looking forward to. I decided to make the best out of my situation, meaning, if I finished school as quickly as I could, I could turn my side hustle into a full-time hustle. Having this to fall back on and provide me with income during the pandemic has been a huge stress relief, and as of March 2020, I have been selling full-time on Poshmark.

The fear of the pandemic mixed with being a new grad was scary for me. It’s hard enough trying to find a job after university, but with the pandemic pushing the unemployment rate up to 13% and the job market being weaker than ever, it was hard not to feel discouraged. I went to Laurentian University for business and graduated with a BBA. Having a background in business and a passion for clothes, I was ready to take on the role of a young entrepreneur. I feel proud to note, since joining Poshmark in 2019 as a part-time seller, I have earned $24,500. Within the first month of being a full-time seller, I made $4,600 after the cost of goods, fees, shipping supplies, and taxes.

I started selling my clothes because I had so many clothes that I was no longer wearing. One thing I love about reselling clothes online is my ability to provide buyers with quality products at a fraction of the retail price. I also get super curious to see where all my packages go and who I’m able to connect with around Canada. I have sent items to every province and territory in Canada, including my hometown, Riverview, NB (pinch me)!

In light of everything that has been going on in the world, the pandemic has definitely increased business for me – and I’m extremely grateful. I sold a little over 300 items in the month of April, where I would typically sell about 50-100 items. I have not been sourcing inventory locally for the last two months, but found other ways to buy products. Along with that, I now spend a lot more time sharing my own, and other people’s closets. I also list a lot more than I used to, which mostly include new items, items I’ve had sitting in the back of my closet, as well as re-listing stale inventory.

 

One of the hardest things about this pandemic is finding connection. I’ve been so lucky to have my online Poshmark community, where we are able to connect through themed parties and coordinated events. One of my favourite events are Posh N Sips, which are local events coordinated by sellers to get together and connect. The presence of the online community has been so important, as we like to support each other and stay creative together.

As an entrepreneur, the biggest lessons I have learned through selling online is that you have to separate emotions from business. I care a lot about what I do and what I sell and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in prices or negative feedback. I am learning to be extremely detail oriented and as long as I am not losing money, I can’t operate on regret of “I could have made more”.

As our world continues to rapidly change, and we all adjust to a more remote lifestyle, I will continue to build my online business. Being an entrepreneur means working hard for what you want, and the results make it worth doing. I can’t be certain what the future looks like, but the pandemic has taught me that I can build a business from wherever I am and create my “new normal”, and that to me, is reassuring.

If I could offer one piece of advice to anyone who is struggling as a new grad or feeling unsure during this global pandemic, it’s this: there is no time like the present to put your passion or side-hustle to the test. Find a mentor, write down your idea and get to work!

Katie Maclellan
Full-time seller on Poshmark

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