Nineteenth Amendment is looking to bring its techie approach to on-demand manufacturing to a new pool of designers through a partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
The deal marks a big step for the two-and-a-half-year-old Nineteenth Amendment, which is trying to remake how fashion is made and sold through a platform that helps designers pre-sell goods online and then have them produced in the U.S., with no minimums.
Nineteenth Amendment works with more than 500 mostly smaller brands, helping them produce goods at need through about a dozen U.S. factories. The company has developed a pipeline of about 60 other production facilities that can be used as larger brands join the platform.
Amanda Curtis, chief executive office and cofounder, said designers have been coming to her and looking for ways to take a different tack on production.
“Given the current retail environment, what better time to bring this kind of retailing 3.0 or 4.0 to these brands that really want to figure out a better production system,” Curtis said.
Goods made through Nineteenth Amendment are generally made available on both the company’s e-commerce platform and the brand’s own site, with preorders placed up to 19 days before a style goes into production. The more orders that come in, the better price the brand gets from the factories.
Brands and customers alike get updates on the production process making it easy to keep all parties up to date on the process, which gets looks to customers in four to six weeks.
“By the end of the process, [customers] really get an experience, not just a product, and because of that we’ve seen and overall product return rate on e-commerce of 7 percent,” Curtis said.
That’s a very low rate of returns for e-commerce, where customers send back so many looks that it is often hard for brands to turn a profit.
Prices go up for consumers once goods go into production, which Curtis said, “teaches the consumer to purchase in the beginning.”
The average order on the marketplace is $250 and the ceo said sales for some goods on the Nineteenth Amendment marketplace see margins as high as 83 percent.
The deal with the CFDA could help draw brands that are looking to do more of their production closer to home — and quicker.
Many designers, even those with big names, have long struggled to produce goods at a reasonable price, a strain that’s been exasperated by the flight of toward e-commerce and away from traditional brick and mortar channels.
Curtis said many designers are “trying to figure out their direct-to-consumer strategies and, for a lot of these brands, it’s kind of a new frontier for them, but also a risky one” given the inventory obligations in the traditional model.
Nineteenth Amendment takes a 10 percent cut of goods sold through its own platform and charges a fee to brands for use of its production management system.