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The Business of Fashion and Fashion Tech

fashion tech

Do investors get fashion? This is the million dollar question. Fashion has been known as one of the hardest sectors to invest in, simply because it’s high risk. However, there’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s called fashion tech! This has been a game changer for the venture capital and private equity communities as we are seeing more investments into startups that focus on fashion tech.

Is this because most fashion tech concepts provide a mixture of style, practicality, efficiency and convenience? Perhaps it may still be too soon to tell, but as stated, we are seeing a huge shift and the investment community is taking notice.

FashInvest’s most recent event consisted of pitches from sixteen startup companies and series of panel. Through feedback from attendees and presenting companies, the most insightful segment was the investor’s panel.

During the panel a key point was brought up: “why fashion businesses struggle to understand the business of fashion.”

Another great panel was the FashInvest alumni, those who presented at a previous conference and raised funding. On this panel, alumni gave advice on what to look for when selecting investors: “Go with investors who see potential with your company; be strategic about where you put your money-it’s about making sure you spend your money well. And have confidence in your product because everything you’ve achieved speaks for itself,” explains Benita Singh, CEO of Source4Style (who has successfully raised funding).

There was also a great fireside chat with Julie Wainwright, CEO and founder of The RealReal (who was also awarded the FashInvest Fashpreneur Award). “After watching a friend snag fabulous deals on a Chanel coat and a Louis Vuitton handbag while shopping at a high-end consignment store, I set out to replicate the experience online,” stated Wainwright. 

TheRealReal.com, which Wainwright launched in March 2011, fulfills the appetite of consumers who want luxury products without the luxury price by offering gently used products online. To date, The RealReal has received $22 million in venture funding and has reported $60 million in revenue. In the chat, Julie Wainwright also discussed the obstacles of getting funding and building a luxury consignment empire. “We understand customer’s desires, demands and satisfy them,” stated Wainwright.

The daylong event ended with final company pitches, the Brand Innovator of the year award which was given to Nick Woodhouse, President and CMO of Authentic Brands Group. Woodhouse oversees the company’s global sales, marketing and digital media strategies, as well as Authentic Brands Group’s strategic planning and execution that will deliver both short and long-term company goals and objectives.

Woodhouse has also created and drove the “360 degrees of success” model, which reinforces retail fundamentals and demands all aspects of project management and execution to work cohesively in order to succeed.

The mission of Authentic Brands Group is to build a global portfolio of world-renowned brands, and to further enhance brand equity, through partnering with best-in-class brand licensees. Over the past year, the group has been very active in merger and acquisitions. The latest transactions consist of Spyder Active Sportswear, Inc., Muhammad Ali Enterprises and Juicy Couture.

The fashion industry has changed drastically with technology; it has brought on a new breed of entrepreneurs who have never entered the world of fashion. The Exceed Network is working to help entrepreneurs achieve their goals with a series of programs and resources.

The organization also has strong network of executives with experience in the fashion and fashion tech industries, which is very helpful for those creating a new startup.

As an entrepreneur, it is very important to a professional support system. At Exceed Network, not only will entrepreneurs have a professional support system, but also advice that will help them stay current in the ever-changing world of business.

For more information on the Exceed Network, please contact us at: info@exceednetwork.org or 718-787-1400.  To stay up-to-date on the latest trends in business, please visit: www.exceednetwork.org

By Lolita A. Alford

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