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.
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.
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.