Fashion Playtes raises $4 million

Faith Merino · October 11, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/128b

The clothing design website for girls is backed by Fairhaven Capital Partners

Fashion Playtes, a clothing design website for girls aged 6-12, just raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Fairhaven Capital Partners, with help from New Atlantic Ventures, Launch Capital, and Golden Seeds. This recent round of financing brings the Salem, Mass.-based startup’s total funding to over $5 million.

Founded in 2009, the company targets the “tween” demographic, and the site’s user base has grown exponentially since its inception, boasting over 35,500 unique monthly visitors today, compared to 5,700 in August 2009.  Founder Sarah MacIlroy has utilized her background in game development and marketing with Midway Amusement Games and Atari to make the site a success.

“Fashion Playtes is a personal passion,” writes MacIlroy on the company’s website. “I'd like to offer girls the chance to create something unique and build their confidence and self-esteem in the process.  Our business offers tween girls an opportunity to design clothing and have it produced to wear at a reasonable price.”

The site offers over two million design and color options for girls to choose from to create T-shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, headbands, jackets, belts, and handbags.  After setting up an account, a user can design an item on Fashion Playtes’ virtual sketchpad, save the design in an online portfolio, share with friends and family, and purchase the item to be created and shipped to her home address.  Prices range from $7 and up, depending on the amount of embellishments and the number of items.  For example, a T-shirt might cost $20 while an ensemble coordinating tops and skirts or an outfit with a matching denim jacket might cost $100. Items are delivered within three weeks of ordering.

“The whole point is to give girls an outlet to express themselves, to give an amazing experience for girls,” MacIlroy said in an interview with BayStateParent.  MacIlroy also suggested that the company may expand to include offerings for older girls as well as boys.   

To keep re-engaging users and ensuring that girls return to Fashion Playtes, the site has added a number of features, including a Wall of Fame contest that girls can submit their designs to, and allowing girls to create their own clothing brand (complete with personalized labels).  Some 200,000 items have already been created on the site, according to the company.  And to give girls a richer online experience, the company teamed up with SecretBuilders, a site that allows children to create their own virtual worlds where they can “build” a house, play games, design clothes, and chat with other users.

Other sites like Stardoll similarly target the tween demographic by offering a space where girls can design clothes, chat with other users, and read up on the latest celebrity gossip.  But while Stardoll allows users to design clothes for virtual paper dolls, Fashion Playtes allows girls to design real clothes that they can wear themselves.

As a former tween girl, I find this very cool.  Designing clothes was fun, but designing clothes that I could actually make and wear was so much more fulfilling (and seemed like a much more efficient use of my limited tween time).  The site also offers gift certificates ranging from $20 to $100 that can be sent via email to the recipient.

Image source: fashionplaytes.com

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs

Stardoll

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Stardoll is a virtual paperdoll community site for everyone who enjoys fashion, design and making friends. At Stardoll you can create your own MeDoll or choose from our ever growing collection of celebrity dolls and dress them up in our wide selection of fashions. Every celebrity doll has a wardrobe full of unique clothes and there are new dolls released every week. The membership is completely FREE and most of our members are girls between the ages of 7 and 17. Stardoll is one of few places on the Internet developed with an emphasis on girls' self-expression through fantasy and fashion play. Stardoll is a great place to spend time with friends and to meet other kids from all over the world. We are committed to Stardoll as an inspiring, safe and creative environment.