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New York ecommerce startup Bow and Drape gets a major boost

After launch­ing in Boston in 2012 then mov­ing to New York, fash­ion-tech start­up Bow & Drape is con­tin­u­ing its upward tra­jec­to­ry with a major new cash injec­tion. As the most bat­tle-hard­ened ecom­merce man­agers will agree, rais­ing a $1.2 mil­lion seed round before your sec­ond birth­day is a pret­ty hand­some achievement.

Mass cus­tomiza­tion

Since its incep­tion, Bow & Drape has focused on “mass cus­tomiza­tion”. Ecom­merce man­agers with any famil­iar­i­ty with women’s fash­ion will know that’s not so easy. There’s no guar­an­tee that a size 30 waist on one item will be any­thing like the “same” waist size on anoth­er cre­ation from a dif­fer­ent designer.

Online vis­i­tors are offered a choice of six vir­tu­al sil­hou­ettes, select­ing the one that most appeals and then drop­ping items from the online cat­a­log onto it, mix­ing col­ors, fab­rics, hem­lines, neck­lines and so on as they proceed.

Ecom­merce man­agers who think this is clever will think the next step is bril­liant: to cut down on waste and cus­tomer dis­ap­point­ment, once vis­i­tors have cho­sen their com­bo and select­ed the “ball-park” size they think will work, Bow & Drape sends them three free-of-charge muslin “fit kits” in slight­ly dif­fer­ent sizes. Cus­tomers choose the one that fits and Bow & Drape sends them the real McCoy with­in two weeks.

Recent­ly, it’s been exper­i­ment­ing with 3D-prints of some of its own acces­sories, and some of the new invest­ment will go into devel­op­ing this into new lines dur­ing 2014 (it’s part­ner­ing with fel­low NY start­up Shape­ways Inc. to do the 3D print­ing). But some of the new cash will go into expand­ing its exist­ing four-strong team to sev­en and mov­ing into new NY premises.

Unlim­it­ed potential

CEO Aubrie Pagano said that Bow & Drape intends to “con­tin­ue to bring cus­tomiza­tion and per­son­al­i­ty to life, in ways that mat­ter to our cus­tomers,” and she cer­tain­ly seems to have impressed the investors with her vision.

The round was led by Veg­asTech­Fund, whose spokesman Andy White said:

“Bow & Drape is about the abil­i­ty to rapid­ly deploy goods, and only the goods that are want­ed. It’s also about tak­ing cre­ative expres­sion or cus­tomiza­tion beyond the clas­sic iron-ons, patch­es or bedaz­zling, to do amaz­ing things for a mas­sive base of customers.”

The com­pa­ny, he said, has “unlim­it­ed poten­tial” to scale its ecom­merce cus­tomiza­tion con­cept. Most ecom­merce man­agers would agree.

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