There are many more uses for Kickstarter than simply funding Veronica Mars movies or raising capital to buy Rob Ford crack videos. These days, small business owners are turning to the crowdfunding platform to jumpstart their budding ventures, particularly within the fashion industry.
E-tailer Everlane markets itself as a new kind of retail experience, one that exists 100% online and bypasses all middlemen to create beautiful designer goods at truly disruptive prices (with no retail markups). They offer some of the bestselling tees on the market, the U.S. market that is, because up until now they didn't have the capital to migrate north.
"We want to come to Canada, but we want to do it right. So many retailers enter new markets with little knowledge of whether there’s excitement there. As a young company running a lean business, we want to tread carefully and be smart about our next moves.
There were many discussions around the launch. In one of our team meetings a young engineer said, 'Why don’t we kickstart this thing?' And it just felt obvious. We see this as a unique way to bring rewards for those who join early, while testing demand."
So, Everlane took the logical step of asking the unwashed masses for help funding its expansion on Kickstarter. And guess what? They did it. Exceeding their $100,000 goal by $18,095, promising a bounty of free credit to investors and finally breaking into that tricky Canadian market. A happy ending all around, but Everlane isn't alone in crowdfunding its fashion empire.
Canadian startup Knix Wear, a lingerie company that sells high-performance underwear, recently pre-sold more than $36,000 of its goods on Indiegogo. They aimed to raise $40,000 in 44 days to help fund their first production run and, within 24 hours of launching the campaign on May 2, the company had already surpassed 20% of its fundraising target. Their innovative product line and novel approach to raise funds was even profiled on Forbes.com.
Knix Wear investors — depending on their contribution — receive a free pair of underwear, featuring the new Fresh Fix Technology they tout as being able to wick away moisture, naturally eliminate odor, while keeping you feeling fresh and dry all day long. With less than $4,000 and four days to meet its target, the Canadian startup may just succeed, but has crowdfunding reached its tipping point?
If the Rob Ford Kickstarter debacle has taught us anything, it's that investments can go down the drain, so what do you guys make of the innovative way small fashion business are getting off the ground? Would you invest? Maybe you already have, in which case, do share your experiences in the comments section below..