As brands and retailers keep up with consumers’ ever-increasing demands for fast fashion, the need for a streamlined, sustainable supply chain has come into clear focus.
To meet this market demand, Resonance, a New York-based venture operating company that enables fashion designers to build businesses, operates its own supply chain for “creator-driven fashion brands.”
Launched in 2015 with the goal of combining venture capital experience, fashion industry insights and proprietary technologies to provide an engine for small brands and emerging designers, Resonance’s structure streamlines and speeds up design processes for online-first, direct-to-consumer businesses. And by functioning through demand-driven production, Resonance operates a sustainable business model that eliminates the issue of inventory.
Founders Lawrence Lenihan, who worked in the retail industry marketing group of IBM and founded venture firms FirstMark Capital and Pequot Ventures, and Joseph Ferrara, the owner of Ferrara Manufacturing Company and board director of Body Labs and Tommy John, teamed up to combine their experiences and build small businesses by way of a new, unprecedented method.
“For these small brands to be successful, they need something different,” said Lenihan, cochief executive officer of Resonance. “And so what we do, as a venture operating company, is partner with brands to create businesses that are as beautiful as their creative vision.”
Lenihan said the company provides capital. “But we provide a lot more,” he said. “We provide the ability for these brands to succeed, to execute and to do something differently [in a way] that they never have been able to do before.” Lenihan said the name Resonance encapsulates the power of what can happen “if you’re connected at the right frequency [and] the amazing things that can happen as a result.”
Brands currently partnered with Resonance include: Tucker by Gaby Basora, which offers apparel and accessories fashioned in striking, quirky and uncommon patterns; JCRT, known for its limited-edition plaid shirts and accessories, designed by Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra; and The Kit, by designer Daniel Vosovic, a Project Runway alum. Its fourth brand, Claw Mini, a unisex streetwear children’s clothing line designed by Pop artist Claudia Gold, is set to launch in November. Resonance aspires to reach 300 brand partners, the company said.
In its New York-based design studio, Resonance works directly with in-house fashion designers to create bespoke textiles and designs through its proprietary software, which is the key to its transparent, streamlined supply chain. Designed by Resonance’s chief executive officer and the cofounder of Resonance Technology, Christian Gheorghe, the software is a trifecta of empathy, trust and radical transparency. Gheorghe, a Silicon Valley veteran, is the former the chief executive officer of TideMark Software and chief technology officer of SAP Analytics.
Gheorghe said the software is different “because I think it requires one to have empathy for the user, and the user here is the creator.”
“We really wanted to focus on the creation aspect of it because the entire platform needs to empower [the designers],” Gheorghe said. The software, called Res.Magic, allows anyone in the organization to see any product at a point in time and follows a garment from its creation to final completion. Every aspect of each garment is communicated on the platform via an adapted blockchain approach, which enables swift production processes and complete visibility.
“When it moves through the platform, it becomes the thing that the creator imagined and in the process it acquires certain properties: Does it work? Is it resonating? Was it done on time? How long did it take? What do we need to do [differently]?” Gheorghe said. At the end of the process, finance bots generate the costs of the garments as they enter the final stages of production.
Via its own manufacturing facility in Santiago, Dominican Republic, designs are received, managed and printed by robots, then cut and sewn by on-site Resonance factory workers. And the team in New York communicates with the factory live via a remote-controlled digital robot. The company employs 22 people in its New York studio and 75 in its Dominican-based factory.
Its digitally designed patterns are printed on silk, cotton, wool, rayon, Tencel, viscose, bamboo, linen, hemp and a range of other materials. Through this manufacturing process, delivered goods can reach consumers in a matter of days instead of months or seasons.
“Now that I can connect directly to you as a creator, I can come up with something really specifically magical for you and me, it’s not just making a pair of khakis.” Lenihan said. “Think about it: You can come up with something tonight, and be selling it tomorrow.”
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