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Fabricly raises $400,000 to crowdsource style

Fabricly flips fashion on its head, making the masses decision makers on what is hot and what is not

Technology trends and news by Katie Gatto
November 19, 2010
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/13e9

Fashion is usually a top-down process, with designers telling the masses what they should like. One company is looking to flip that model on its head, and give the power to the people. 

Fabricly raised a $400,000 seed round from Atomico Ventures, to crowdsource style. Founder Ari Helgason
tells me that the team plans to use the funds to "start putting out more collections and bring in more designers."

Fabricly is a New York-based startup, that was initially incubated in Y Combinator.  Its process works a bit like this: Fabricly will hold a contest (it plans on launching them next week). When a designer submits a sketch users will vote on their favorite. When an item is popular enough its goes to a ‘pre-order’ stage.

This pre-order works in a manner similar to Groupon’s. All of the customers credit card information is taken, and stored on a server with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, but they are only charged if the piece reaches a minimum order number. At that point the product is created and shipped.

This model works well for a few reasons. First, it avoids the overhead of a retail store and the cost of inventory. Both of those are traditionally large expenses for a business. Second, it assures that every item made is guaranteed to sell. The only people who may have an issue with the deal are designers, who get up to 10% of net sales of the designs they create. When you consider that all they have to do is sketch their ideas out and promote the designs, that figure suddenly seems much more reasonable.

Fabricly, which launched this year, currently has only nine items available for pre-order, but expects to have more designers added in January. Items on the current pre-sale will not ship until late December. Fabricly is currently hiring for several positions, including a creative director.

Believe it or not, Fabricly is not alone in this model. A Vienna-based startup Garmz has a similar model. The main difference is that with Garmz designers can set their own selling price and cuts per sale.

Fabricly was not available for immediate comment.

(Image from Fabricly)


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