Crowdfunding is now a popular alternative to traditional funding, but is it right for you and your fashion business?
Luevo has teamed up with Startup Fashion and put together a detailed and resourceful guide and workbook for fashion businesses interested in crowdfunding. It took us months and we accumulated hundreds of hours in research and in writing, but hereit is available now to fashion entrepreneurs around the world.
The 77 page guide includes 7 chapters from how to choose the right platform, how to prepare for a crowdfunding campaign, how to market it and what to do once the campaign is over. To make things easier, we’ve also included templates, checklists, extra resources, budget tools and sample social media messaging. Basically, everything independent and emerging fashion brands need to know to successfully launch and manage their crowdfunding campaigns, on any platform of their choice.
Check out the table of contents!
Introduction to Crowdfunding Is Crowdfunding Right for You? Choosing Your Crowdfunding Platform Preparing for Your Crowdfunding Campaign Marketing Your Crowdfunding Campaign Before Your Launch Marketing Your Live Crowdfunding Campaign What to Do After your Campaign Has Closed
Tools and Bonus info:
Pre-Launch Campaign Checklist Social Media Resources Social Media Sample Posts Email Templates Project Budget Template Fashion Industry Interviews 8 Tips for Positioning your Brand for Funding 12 Tips for Continued Business Success
If you’ve used our crowdfunding guide let us know how it helped you and your fashion business via Twitter. If you’d like to apply as a designer on our platform, please do so here, our platform is now open for any designers located in USA and in Canada.
https://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/crowdfunding.png767958Ana Carahttps://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/luevo-logo-2x.pngAna Cara2014-12-08 11:23:002015-02-19 20:15:39Learn how to crowdfund your fashion business
Maybe By Catalfo was created by Sarah Catalfo, an emerging Canadian designer, who’s fun and playful designs are a thorough reflection of her personality. This sweet and spunky girl is no stranger to the fashion world and her story is an inspiring one! It’s the kind of story that makes you want to take a chance on yourself. Those are the ones that turn out to be the most rewarding after all. I had the great opportunity to meet Sarah and learn more about her story and her brand “Maybe by Catalfo”.
Growing up in Orillia, Ontario, Sarah always felt the need to be different and stand out. She explained to me that the Fashion scene in her town was pretty one dimensional and no one really took risks or expressed themselves through fashion in the way that she felt the need to. Fashion was more than just putting clothes on. It was a way of life, a way to express herself. She was the type of girl that would rock of pair of great stilettos and red crinoline to third period Math, without even batting an eye. Very Pretty in Pink-esque if you will! Being a risk taker from a very young age, taking the risk to pursue a career in the fashion industry was second nature to her. “I wasn’t sure about fashion as it was a risky industry to get into. I went to school for Fashion Management and got hired as an assistant buyer. I learned a great deal there but I wasn’t being fulfilled. I had to go back to my roots and at least try my hand at designing.”
Designing has always been a passion of Sarah’s. She began designing right in the comfort of her own home as most designers do. Printing out blank Archie comics and creating fun designs for Betty and Veronica, was one of her favourite things to do as a youth. Her actual career in design however, really started when the time came to find a dress for her 10th grade semi formal. She decided she wanted something unique that no one else would have. As any girl would, she evoked the help of her mother, who had always been an amazing seamstress, and the end result turned out exactly the way she wanted. Her mother, who worked a full time job and still found the time to make that beautiful dress for her daughter then said, “Alright, now next time you’re making your own!”
Sarah loved the idea; to be able to wear something that was genuinely hers lit a spark in her heart and the rest was history. “After that I started working at Fabricland, so I learned a lot of old lady tricks and learned a lot about fabric that I was never taught in school. Looking back it was a great move. To this day, I have to be around fabrics to get inspired.” As the years progressed, Sarah created dresses for herself and even went on to work on a freelance basis, creating dresses for others who took a liking to her unique designs. She has even designed for the famous Canadian artist Lights, who wore a Maybe by Catalfo dress to the 2009 Juno Awards!
The Maybe Story
What is the story behind the sweet and simple name “Maybe”?
It really started as a school project. The assignment was to create your own line, with all the details that a real line would need. It was a very creative project. I knew I wanted to make dresses but I thought about naming it “Catalfo” since no one has that name. But I came across the word “Maybe” and it really struck a chord and grew on me. It reminded me of classic foot pop like “maybe ill go out with you”, “maybe ill go to the school dance”, that kind of cutesy feel. It has now evolved from that, into a more sophisticated feel, catering to everyone from young girls to young women.
As such a young designer I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy road. What obstacles have you had to face and overcome to get where you are today?
Everything from being at work and feeling like, “is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Why am I doing this?”. A huge obstacle was getting caught in a full time job, how do you adjust a stable life to that of an entrepreneur? Making that transition was hard but it fell into place. I take it as: whatever happened was meant to be and it was a huge blessing that I was able to make that transition. I saw people who were older and stuck in jobs that they hated. I didn’t want that to be me. There will always be challenges when starting a business, obstacles don’t discourage me. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing well, if anything it means you’re doing things right.
The Choose Your Charity Program is a very admirable thing to take part in. What made you want to take part in such a philanthropic endeavor?
I didn’t want to start promoting Maybe without looking at the bigger picture. To be able to impact something bigger and put it towards these efforts that are for a good cause is important to me. Success is not about how much we make. Essentially, I want to make more dresses so that I’m able to make bigger donations. I want the Maybe girls to feel like they were helping the world. It’s great to work with local charities for fashion. It always keeps you aware and appreciative of all the things you have. At the end of the year I look back and I realize how all these little efforts made a big difference and it puts things into perspective. Clients and customers have things that are dear to their hearts and if they care about it, we want to show that we care too.
The Luevo Collection
All of your dresses are very unique and portray a completely different style. What inspirations did you draw on to create this collection available on the Luevo website?
What really inspired me was the fabrics, it’s always the fabrics that inspire me and inspire the dresses I make. Each fabric could be for a different girl, each colour could be for a different girl. The collection is something so diverse that you could wear every one for a different life event. The day to day outfits you can make from them are countless. I wanted party wear but also something easy to wear. I’m always looking for a reason to dress up and it’s better to be given a reason and to have fun with what you wear!
Describe the “Maybe Girl”, who is she to you?
The Maybe girl doesn’t care if she gets attention as long as its the right attention. The Maybe girl is reminiscent of the young me; flirty, fun, not afraid to take a risk or have fun with fashion. When I was in school, my friends and I would go to American Apparel, get something great and go out just to be able to show off that new outfit! That’s what the Maybe Girl embodies. She’s carefree, she doesn’t take life too seriously, and that’s why she likes to have fun with what she wears because as long as she feels beautiful in what she’s wearing, that’s all that matters.
What is your favourite dress on the Luevo website right now?
I don’t have a favourite! I would need them all in my wardrobe. Date night, party, day to night, they are all necessities.
Sarah Catalfo’s story is one that embodies perseverance. It’s okay to take a risk if it’s for something you truly believe in and what’s more important than believing in yourself? You could end up with everything you want and more, as long as you’re willing to work for it.
In a web 2.0 generation, the ‘crowd’ is synonymous with the buzzword, crowdfunding. This collective effort of the crowd or “wisdom of the crowd” has become a mainstay for the creation and success of many early stage companies, startups and digital platforms.
From the many successful crowdfunding campaigns through Kickstarter and Indiegogo it seems like this trend won’t be disappearing anytime soon. While, we may think crowdfunding is an easy and simple effort in actuality it requires extensive thinking and planning. What makes a crowdfunding campaign successful? Many would ask. To explore this question, let’s look at five tips for crowdfunding success.
Do your research. When planning a crowdfunding campaign, research is a crucial step that shouldn’t be overlooked. Research provides the building blocks to understanding your key demographic, competition, and place in the market. By doing your research, you can stumble upon other successful crowdfunding projects, which could lead to inspiration and ideas for your project. Additionally, you’ll need to research relevant media and keep an ongoing list of people who may be interested in your project.
Define the specifics: Defining and knowing your brand is important. For instance, spend time planning out your goals, missions, and any descriptions that resonate with your product. Here, you should consider the perks or incentives that will encourage people to get involved and support your campaign.
Communicate your brand: While, knowing your brand is important you’ll need to communicate it to others. In order for potential backers and media to support you, and the crowd to follow, make sure your pitch is genuine and well articulated. Simply telling people about your product won’t lead to success, you’ll need to create a story for your product. Resist the hard facts and tech specs, and opt for a story that connects with people in a meaningful way. Add in some creativity and weave in videos, images, and anything that will catch people’s interest.
Leverage your social networks: The words ‘hype’ and ‘buzz’ should resonate with your ambitions for a successful crowdfunding campaign. Get heavily connected to social channels to help spread the word about your crowdfunding efforts. You’ll want your crowdfunding project to be promoted to people in your personal social networks and beyond. By reaching out such as through a tweet, you can connect to like-minded and tech-savvy people to start channeling the interaction about your efforts. In addition, you can generate a lot of buzz by reaching out to bloggers, journalists, and reporters for potential press coverage and media recognition.
Always recognize your contributors and supporters: Have a ready to go list of core contacts that can help promote your crowdfunding efforts. These contacts will help contribute and make the project successful, and also give you the extra confidence and positivity needed for launching. Even after the initial burst of energy after launching, you’ll need to stay engaged, which requires frequent updates to your contributors and supporters. These contacts can do wonders for your campaign, but you’ll need to find ways of returning the favour to make them feel important and appreciated for their effort.
Article written by Raylin Grace aka the Red Curl Owl with Luevo. You can follow Raylin at@raylingm
https://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2013-05.png550960Ana Carahttps://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/luevo-logo-2x.pngAna Cara2013-11-15 14:45:042014-12-11 16:01:13Five Tips for any Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
Clearly emerging fashion designer Bishme Cromartie of Baltimore, MD was born with the fashion bug; as a little boy he used socks and scraps of fabric to make clothes for his toys. At the age of eight he began putting his creative visions on paper sketching designs for women’s clothing. I would love to see the early designs of a young and uninhibited Bishme with his own imaginings of what the female should look like.
[two_third]February 9, 2007 was a defining moment for the 16 year old Bishme; destiny knocked on his door and he showcased his work at his first solo fashion show. His designs were remarkably chic and very well made for someone of his age. Word spread quickly about this wiz kid designer on the rise. Today Bishme’s architectural-looking creations are modish, vibrant and over dramatic; and have been featured in Elle Vietnam and on Vogue Italia’s website. R&B singer Ashanti wore his design on a “Good Morning America” appearance. Who says dreams don’t come true, in the “Emerging Designer” category? Bishme showed his exhilarating pieces at New York’s Fashion Week 2013!
Bishme’s collections are strong and beautifully sleek sultry works of art. They are eye catching with exaggerated shoulders and hips. His collections absolutely tell a story of strength and are not for the faint of heart. Women who wear his clothing must not be shy or afraid of having all eyes on her.[/two_third][one_third_last] [/one_third_last]
[one_half]Bishme is never afraid to go against the wind with his line, so he is inspired by designers that are the same. One of his favorite designers is Giambattista Valii, who is known for being dramatic and paying the upmost attention to detail. When asked what was so special about this designer, Bishme told the team at Greedmont: “[he] is never afraid to go against the norm and it is a very pleasing thing to see such creative work from [him]”. [/one_half] [one_half_last] [/one_half_last]
You can view Bishme Cromartie’s full collections on his personal website.
This is part 2 of a two part interview with Toronto based independent fashion designer Lois Laine. Lois designs eco-friendly clothing with fabrics and labour sourced in Canada. If you haven’t already, check out part one of this interview here.
What do you hope your consumers see when they are attracted to your brand? I want them to see that it’s unique, but not showy. It’s unique and subtle, just something that they want to grab on to every day.
What are some of your fashion goals? You know I really know that I should have it more defined, but my main goal is to be able to keep doing what I do. I have envisioned a couple of different scenarios: I think generally people have to get bigger to sustain their job in this industry, for me that’s not the most important thing; if I need to get bigger I’m happy to do that. But if I can keep going like this where I have been up till now designing for the upcoming season, and I really enjoy doing that and I can take advantage of doing those limited yardages and I can be more on the season because its coming right up. But if I go into the wholesome market, which is generally how you get bigger then I need to be able to order a 100 meters of something and so I won’t be able to do some of these other nice little treaty things. So my plan is to do two fall/winters this year, so that I can get into the wholesome market and see how that goes. I’ve been in contact with Ana Caracaleanu from Luevo and I am very excited about their idea, the platform would allow me to keep going with the fabrics that I can just grab onto and do small scale or big. That is just very exciting to me. I’m still doing some artisan sales like: the Wearable Arts Show in October from the 24th-26th at 918 Bathurst St. Also, I’ve been invited into the Fresh Collective in the fall (August/September).
https://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Headerpt2.jpg6821024Ana Carahttps://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/luevo-logo-2x.pngAna Cara2013-06-15 19:40:362014-12-11 15:02:57Sitting Down with Lois Laine – Part2
When it comes to local talent, Toronto does not fall shy of exciting and diverse artists, and Lois Laine, independent fashion designer is no exception. Possessing a precision for architectural elements coupled with feminine subtlety, she began her self-titled eco-friendly line in 2011. Her journey began after having earned a degree in interior designing and spending years studying pattern drafting. Thereafter, she concluded her education in Costume Studies and worked as a freelance designer. With a brief and inspirational trip to India in 2010, Lois’ calling was finally put to rest when she decided to set up shop. Today she is working passionately within her studio walls listening to spiritual music and drinking tea.
[two_third]Where do you draw your inspiration?
Nature and life for sure. You know there is that architectural element and there’s the subtlety. I really love the subtlety of nature and I aim to try to put the scale, like there’s the bigger scale of the sculpture and then there’s the small detail within it. I just love that and the hard with the soft and the shiny with the matte. The first collection is really very light and airy, that was like my first one, so it was like an upward spiral and it was spring and everything had to have this feeling of exalted. That’s how I wanted to feel when I finished it, that there was this sort of delicacy and wonder. There was a woman who had a drawing and I had remembered her stuff, and she did these whimsical drawings and I was like yeah, yeah this is it, this is the whimsy and the lightness and so I actually had her painting up on the wall for most of the collection. With other fashion, I love Annie Thompson, but I also really love minimalist designers as well. I guess I am in between. [/two_third] [one_third_last][/one_third_last]
[two_third]What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion for me is being aligned with the energy of the time, it’s not my strongest strength. My strength is more in the abstract part of design. I try to blend the two; I research the trends, go to trend forecasting and be watchful. Then I’ll marry them with the more timeless sense of proportion and sculptural shapes. My collections are outside of the trends but they have current elements, which makes them wearable for longer. [/two_third]
For more information on Lois Laine collections please go to the designer’s website: loislaine.com
https://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Image-1-Lois-Lane.jpg6821024Ana Carahttps://www.luevo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/luevo-logo-2x.pngAna Cara2013-06-07 22:06:082014-12-11 15:03:15Sitting Down with Lois Laine - Part 1
We are so excited to have seen a wonderful 2014/2015 season with so many amazing collections being funded on our platform!
Here is a short list of FAQs to prepare you for the application process:
Q1. I am fresh out of school can I still apply?
A1. Yes. Your acceptance depends on a combination of factors: experience, education, skills, awards received, uniqueness of products. We are looking for talented individuals that have the potential to grow when using our service.
Q2. I am a somewhat established independent fashion designer, what can I get from your service?
A2. As an established designer you can use the Luevo platform to test the market desirability of your new products. Better yet, you gain more followers, pre-sell your collections and further strengthen your brand!
Q3. Can I just post my design drawings?
A3. Unfortunately, no. Our customers want to see exactly the final product they will be buying. You will have to produce a sample and post high-resolution images that show the details of your product.
Q4. Is Luevo manufacturing my products once they are successfully funded?
A4. NO. You as a designer are in charge of your own production.
Q5. Do my products have to be handmade?
A5. NO. This is not a site for handmade products only. You can choose to make your own production or outsource. We encourage using local manufacturers and suppliers.
Q6.What happens with the returns?
A6. You are responsible for accepting returns and refund the customer.
Q7. Do I have to compromise on price because I am pre-selling my products?
A7. You are responsible for determining the appropriate price for your products, based on your costs and required profit margins. If your minimums are high then it makes business sense to reduce pricing accordingly.
Q8. Does Luevo own the rights over my designs?
A8. NOPE. You own full rights over your designs, products and brand.
Q9. Do I have to be based in North America to post my products on Luevo?
A9. YES. Currently we can only launch US and Canada based designers.
Q10. Do I have to pay to have my products on Luevo?
A10. NO. It is free to post products and request pre-orders. We only make money if you do, after you successfully fund your products.
If you are a fashion designer ready to crowdfund your next collection, please use our online application HERE. And if you’d like to learn more, don’t forget to check out our free tips and sign-up for courses and webinars.
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Yet another week of fashion extravaganza stormed through our city, and many emerging fashion designers have had the opportunity to mingle, network or even launch their collections.
I am a big follower of everything that moves in the fashion industry: bloggers, stylists, designers, fashionistas and pretty much anyone that cares and is involved in the local fashion scene. I lived every moment of the fashion week by digesting Twitter feeds , Instagram pictures and Facebook posts.
And here is tip #1: If you are an aspiring or emerging fashion designer – you must stay connected to your local fashion influencers! Twitter is a good place to “stalk” them and stay up-to-date with latest news and events in the fashion industry. Find bloggers, stylists, fashion publications and organizations that will surely overload you with the latest fashion news.
Indeed, during fashion week it can be a little overwhelming with all the media hype around the big established designers and the runway shows. But learn to listen and filter to what is of real value to you
Tip #2: Attend smaller events where you can get valuable networking done.
Best part of fashion week is the high concentration of fashion influencers, but you will have to find the appropriate event to network with them. One of these opportunities was the speed-networking event organized by Fashion Group international and Fashion Takes Action. This event is typically sold-out, and you can meet with potential clients, HR recruiting firms specializing in fashion, bloggers, boutique owners and mentors. I recommend these types of events to anyone starting up in any kind of industry, and make sure you bring tons of business cards!
Tip #3: Enroll in industry specific organizations before the fashion week.
You are very lucky to be able to start a fashion business in a city like Toronto. Bigger metropolitan cities typically have fashion hubs that come with non-for-profit organizations, incubators, and an abundance of mentors. Being part of these will give you access to latest news, reduced ticket prices to fashion events and more networking opportunities.
Here is a short list of organizations that as an aspiring or emerging fashion designer in Toronto you should seriously consider:
Toronto Fashion Incubator – an innovative and highly respected non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing small business entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.
Fashion Group International – global non-profit organization of executives, designers and entrepreneurs in more than 30 chapters around the world. Toronto is their only Canadian chapter.
Fashion Takes Action– Canada’s premier non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry.
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In one of our previous posts we highlighted some of the challenges that aspiring fashion designers encounter when starting up their businesses (you can find the full article here). To sum up, here are the top three problems: INITIAL FUNDING – FORECASTING DEMAND – GETTING PRE-ORDERS
Let’s be honest, the fashion industry does not take full advantage of the advancements in IT, and the designers have to be very creative to overcome their challenges. Many resort to major online marketplaces to sell their creations. These work for designers offering custom made products – and they can sell one item at a time based on customer’s requirements. On the downside, the designers can’t source materials in large quantities because of the unpredictability in demand and they end up sourcing expensive supplies and pass that cost to the buyer. Furthermore, it is very difficult for the buyer to find a particular designer as these marketplaces become more like a universe of everything for everyone (For example, Etsy reportedly has over 800,000 active shops).
What we’ve recently noticed is that independent fashion designers are now appealing to the public to support their businesses and they do it on crowdfunding websites. Still, the fashion category on Kickstarter has the lowest success rate. We believe this is because the existing crowdfunding platforms don’t make for an elegant e-commerce solution. Consumers can’t really shop the designers’ products, but rather “donate” in return for different types of rewards. Crowdfunding works for fashion retailers that sell single products (such as the super-famous pebble watch); however, they don’t work as well for fashion designers that sell multiple products.
Finally, a lot of new designers try crowdsourcing their designs, which takes care of the second obstacle they encounter – forecasting demand. By using a voting, liking and sharing system you can learn from your potential buyers more than if you were to investigate yourself. You can choose to produce only the most popular products or modify your collection based on consumer’s feedback. Still – desirability doesn’t necessarily translate into orders, as the potential buyers are not required to commit to a purchase.
At Luevo, we are working hard to develop a new kind of crowdfunding solution specifically targeted at aspiring and emerging independent fashion designers. We will use a combination of best practices from existing crowdfunding and crowdsourcing business models to create one solution to a designer’s top three challenges. We understand that as independent fashion designers you have certain production requirements. On our platform you will be able to obtain the pre-orders you need by crowdsourcing your demand.
You can find out more on how our fashion crowdfunding platform works here.
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We are a team of marketers, strategists and storytellers. We want to empower emerging fashion designers with access to free tips and tools to manage their business. More so, we offer consulting services, webinars and online fashion courses. Our deep understanding of crowdfunding principles and technology allows us to help designers meet their crowdfunding goals on any platform