Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding- Not Just for Start-Ups

Christina Binkley reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “J. Peterman, the ‘90s fashion retailer made famous by ‘Seinfeld,’ is back and acting very 2016. The company has turned to Kickstarter to raise $500,000 and is asking consumers for their design ideas as well.

Crowdfunding for fashion, where people place orders before an item is produced, and crowdsourcing, where the public weighs in on a product’s design, were initially explored by startup companies. These days, they are among the many experiments established fashion brands are trying to design, deliver and pay for products.

The aim, in part, is to draw consumers closer to brands. Ideally, in the brands’ minds, consumers will be more loyal once they’ve taken the time to help build a product or invest. The companies, some of which might have difficulty raising financing in more traditional ways, also seek to fine-tune inventories by not making duds, and smooth their cash flow by taking preorders.”

The Journal article pointed out that, “Crowdfunding can work in several ways. Kickstarter campaigns seek pledges of money that are funded if a project meets its financial goal. At Betabrand, consumers place orders for a product that they’ll receive by mail.

“Project September, a fashion app launched in April, allows people to post photos with products they like and to follow other people who post, too. The idea is that the app will draw stylists, artists, bloggers and others with big fashion followings—such as Nicole Ritchie—to set up their own visual storehouses of products. Photos of currently available products are clickable, taking consumers to the Web pages of affiliate brands and stores.”

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