Virtual design studio Nineteenth Amendment has secured a round of seed funding for an undisclosed amount.
Investors include Brand Foundry Ventures and Paul English. Brand Foundry’s Andrew Mitchell said he was interested in the company in part because it gives emerging designers a platform to do small scale runs and still have design control. He also noted that Nineteenth Amendment helps with back-end sourcing and production capability. English, who cofounded both travel search engine Kayak and consumer technology foundry firm Blade, said the management team “resonated” with him because of their commitment to solving a key problem of upcoming designers: getting the merchandise made and having a consumer base.
Cofounder Amanda Curtis, who started her own line two years ago, knows first hand the issues faced by young designers starting out. “Manufacturers don’t want to work with you on small orders and retailers will consider your line provided you can show them data on who your consumers are,” she said, noting the two problems she faced in trying to grow her line, which is now defunct.
At Nineteenth Amendment, apparel offerings are prepurchased, and once the minimum amount of ten is met, the item is then cleared for production in the U.S., with most factories located in New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Aggregation helps Nineteenth Amendment meet their margin requirements. Currently the site hosts 28 apparel designers from the U.S., but is looking to add soft accessories, men’s wear and expand the designer network to include those from overseas. It has 300 designers that have been accepted for placement on the platform, and plans to introduce them on the site over the next few months. Consumers can also special order an item for immediate production at an extra cost. Either way, the time required for production is about two to three weeks.
The company, bootstrapped with under $10,000 from friends and family, was in closed beta at the time it was a participant in the New York Fashion Tech Lab accelerator program over the summer — it was mentored by executives from Macy’s and Alex & Ani — and its platform became operational in August.
Average price points are in the $250 range. Data analytics show the site gets attention from Millennials, who spend over four minutes each time they return to the site.