Tip of the Week
BetaBrand is a San Francisco-based Internet clothing store—with a twist. The first twist is that their clothes tend to appeal the perpetually relaxed set, the type whose idea of dressing up is wearing a T-shirt with no holes.
Working from home, I can relate to that. Though I avoid video Skype sessions—I don’t have to even discuss it with the ladies but the men are sometimes clueless that we actually don’t have to see each other to talk—when I’m forced to switch to video mode it’s a safe bet I’ve thrown a presentable shirt over my PJs (or swim suit, as the season may dictate).
So with their “pinstripe executive hoodie,” “gluttony pants,” and “dress pants sweatpants”—check them out, they look like the pants Joaquin Phoenix wore in the film “Her”—they’ve had a devout following not only because of their aesthetics but also because of their business model.
They do all their designing and prototyping onsite, and it’s no big deal for them to mock up an idea and make the finished product before lights out that same day. That means out-the-door turnaround time is under two months.
Take that, Kickstarter!
Which relates to the second twist: Last year they added a crowdfunding component to their site. Now not only in-house designers can see their inspirations worn by BetaBrand devotees but all you aspiring fashion designers can submit your creations and if they’re successfully funded you stand to earn as much as 10% of the profits.
Another benefit similar to the current crowdfunding model, those who buy-in early stand to save big when the item goes into production. The think tank component is where new ideas are presented to the crowd for voting. If the crowd loves your sweater tuxedo idea, for example, the product is turned over to the crowd—and BetaBrand turns it into a real product that you, I, and all our slacker, comfy-clothes-wearing friends can buy!
All you arm chair fashionistas can now get up and throw your hat into the ring. But don’t delay; the word is BetaBrand is hoping their model will attract celebrity clothing lines.
Take that, Target!