Tracy Sun - Geek Girl Rising
Tracy Sun

Tracy Sun

Co-founder, VP of Merchandising

Poshmark

“Learning to be uncomfortable with the unknown and asking the dumb questions are traits that I now count as fundamental to being a successful entrepreneur. “

Job title: Co-Founder and VP of Merchandising at fashion resale network, Poshmark.

Years in tech industry: 6+

What inspired you to start Poshmark?
I launched and grew several fashion start-ups in NYC, and through this experience was confident I had a solid perspective on consumers and their relationship with fashion. I wanted my next start-up to have a wide impact and meaningfully touch people’s lives, so I moved out to Silicon Valley in search of a team of tech visionaries who shared my passion. I was introduced to my co-founder, Manish Chandra, through a mutual contact who believed our interests and perspectives would be complementary and powerful, and she was right. Manish had recently sold his social shopping company, Kaboodle, to Hearst and was looking for his next opportunity. We combined my fashion experience with his product and business vision, recruited technical co-founders, Gautam Golwala and Chetan Pungaliya, and launched Poshmark from Manish’s garage in late 2011. Together, we made a huge bet to build an end-to-end fashion marketplace entirely inside an easy-to-use mobile app with two simple guiding principles: buying and selling on Poshmark should be simple and fun.

Biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, business leader and co-founder, challenges are part of the daily grind. Early in my career, I switched my focus from neuroscience to fashion, which was a quite a challenge. I had to learn new skills, make new connections and learn new vocabulary. I had to be confident enough to ask the basic questions which everyone around me seemed to already know the answer to. But here’s the thing, learning to be uncomfortable with the unknown and asking the dumb questions are traits that I now count as fundamental to being a successful entrepreneur. I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn that early on.

Biggest success to date?
My biggest success is co-founding Poshmark. Being part of a movement that empowers such a large group of entrepreneurs is a dream come true for me. It’s the connection and impact on people that I am most proud of.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
One skill set I learned early on which has contributed to my growth as an entrepreneur is to recognize when an assumption behind the business, project, or decision has changed. At Poshmark, we like to say, “the cheese has just moved.” Once you recognize that the cheese has moved, it frees you up to stop resisting this change and focus on taking a moment to evaluate, calibrate, innovate, and move forward.

Who are your role models?
My parents. My dad gave me a piece of career advice when I was young that I still remember to this day. He said, “Whatever you do, make sure you do it well.” I really liked that because I believe we should all take pride in what we do, whatever it is.

If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self?
When I was a teenager, I had a hard time with rules. I was always questioning them and wanting to understand the assumption behind them. I never could seem to just accept the status quo. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self, “Hey, one day that’s gonna serve you well.”

Flats, heels or kicks?
Kicks.

What do you do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family. I also love getting outside with my border collie, Bixby.

Best work-life hack?
As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking to stay efficient. One work-life hack that keeps me sane is to take all the big projects I need to tackle and decompose them into bite-sized pieces. I then schedule the individual pieces as tasks and make sure that I can only see the most relevant or critical tasks at any given time.  This helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed and instead move quickly through large, complex projects.

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