Vator held its second ever Splash London competition last month and online fashion boutique SilkFred walked away the crowned champion. Past Splash winners have gone on to do big things, so we thought we’d take a moment to get to know SilkFred and ask a few questions—starting with the name.
“We loved the idea of a creating something that felt ‘connected,’ like a silk thread,” said SilkFred founder Emma Watkinson. “We changed it to SilkFred because it felt snappy and it meant we could focus on creating a real brand personality rather than a super denotative name that could have dated us quickly. Picking something original also meant we could climb Google rankings without having to invest too much.”
If you’re not familiar with SilkFred yet, the crowdfunded startup is a rising star in London’s £21 billion fashion industry. Like a Nasty Gal for a variety of independent designers, SilkFred identifies the hottest up-and-coming designers from London Fashion Week, graduate showcases, and launch pad initiatives, and sets them up with their own boutique on the site, through which they can showcase their designs.
“We work really hard to discover the coolest designers and invest in building relationships with them so they can scale alongside us,” said Watkinson.
It’s an interesting approach to online branding and fashion at a time when the supply chain has become cheaper and easier than ever to manage. Brands like Nasty Gal and Warby Parker have built their brands entirely online through social media marketing, and they’ve garnered hundreds of thousands of fans. It means bigger profits, but it’s a lot of work to be the designer, the marketer, and the retailer all at once.
It’s a win for designers, who are essentially handed a turnkey solution for setting up their own boutiques online and gaining access to an instant customer base, and it’s a win for customers, who can shop the site for a variety of different designs and styles, rather than just one. And customers can shop different boutiques and put everything in just one cart.
Currently, 38% of SilkFred’s user base is returning to the site each month, and the average purchase includes 1.6 items. Particularly impressive: SilkFred’s return rate is just 18%. Currently, as many as 30% of all Internet purchases get returned.
Last year, SilkFred raised £145,610 in crowdfunding to grow its business. Altogether, the company has raised £292,000.
“We are working on adding more designers to our platform, expanding our business internationally and we are about to release a beautiful sexy new mobile experience. Bigger plans include our current fundraising to keep ramping up our growth,” said Watkinson.
Interested in learning more about SilkFred? Connect with them on Vator. vator.co/silkfred