On Demand Manufacturing
This is another one of those stories that seems like science fiction, but is actually reality. Retail, distribution and manufacturing are on the verge of rebirth because of a revolutionary emerging technology: 3D printing.
Tech Crunch reports that Y Combinator-funded startup, Fabricly, has raised $400,000 from Atomico Ventures. This latest fashion start-up has lofty goals; Fabricly wants to reverse and improve the current model of manufacturing and product production that is present in the fashion industry.
Like Garmz, Threadless, ModCloth and US Trendy, Fabricly uses a voting process to determine what apparel it will manufacture – hence, crowdsourcing. Great another fashionista-powered voting community…what makes Fabricly different from sites currently using a crowdsourcing model?
Well, it focuses on HIGH-END apparel production.
How Fabricly Works
Step 1. Designers submit their product ideas to the site, depending on the product.
Step 2. The design will either become part of a ‘competition’ where users vote on which item they like best, or it will go straight to a ‘pre-order’ stage.
Step 3. When shoppers place a pre-orders, the site will store their credit card information and see if the pre-0rder production number is met. If the product requirement is met, Fabricly will have the product manufactured. If this threshold is not met, then the order will be canceled, no charges to the shopper’s credit card.
Local, On-Demand Manufacturing
Fabricly keeps manufacturing local, working with factories in Los Angeles and New York to have their items produced. Because Fabricly goods are being produced on demand, Fabricly doesn’t have excess inventory to deal with.
Fabricly founder Ari Helgason told Tech Crunch that users receive their orders in a few weeks and expect steep discounts because it doesn’t have to maintain any retail outlets, either.
How Fabricly Makes Money
The unwillingness of buyers (retailers) to take risks means that many great designs never make it to production. In my experience through attending fashion trade shows over the years, buyers wait for a few seasons before placing orders to see if the designer stays in business and can consistently deliver on time, even when their products are great and likely to sell. Often designers give up before they get a chance to prove themselves. – Ari Helgason
Getting On The Fabricly Train
Some of you may wonder if there is space for another crowdsourcing site such as this, and my answers is “YES.” I think Fabricly is taking a unique approach to the way it is positioning itself for a company using the crowdsourcing model. I’d love to see Fabricly do a collaboration with AHAlife; I’d even go a step further and create an AHAlife curation using Fabricly designs if we were invited to! The Audrey Skirt would be present in this.