CEA Startup Fund invests in Fame & Partners
QUT Creative Enterprise Australia today announced their investment by its Startup Fund in Fame & Partners, a next generation online fashion retailer tapping into the $6 billion formal and prom dress market.
Fame & Partners is a hybrid technology and fashion business; using a proprietary algorithm to track the latest trends in event wear. They then leverage a real-time supply chain set up to offer customisations to these on-trend garments.
Anna Rooke, CEO of Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), announced the investment saying “We are delighted to be investing in Fame & Partners, an innovative Australian fashion tech venture with a talented team who are targeting a growing global market. Digital disruption is changing many markets, and the fashion industry is undergoing significant change with new brands targeting niche client verticals as well as moving from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar. Fame & Partners have spotted a great opportunity in high-transaction-spend niche market, and are using customised manufacture and digital technology to their advantage to provide a distinctly different offering in an internationally competitive market.”
Fame & Partners founder and CEO, Nyree Corby, explains how she started the business. “The formal wear market originates from bridal ranges that are traditionally sold through small retailers who hold onto old stock. They cannot take a fast-fashion approach or keep up-to-date with the amorphous social media fuelled trend-conscious consumer. Teens and young women are incredibly tech savvy fashion enthusiasts, sharing blog and social posts of their favourite frocks, daily. I noticed a huge disconnect between what young women wanted to wear to their special events, and what was available to them through retailers. At the same time I recognised this as an untapped opportunity with huge potential.”
“We started selling made-to-order formal dresses in Australia, where we were able to fine-tune our online customer purchase path and supplier and shipping arrangements,” says Corby. “We’ve experienced strong sales in Australia since startup, so we recently opened up our offering up to the lucrative US prom dress market. Within four months, our US sales are already close to exceeding Australian revenue, so we can see huge potential for expanding Fame & Partners there and in other markets globally.”
Nyree Corby added “The formal and prom dress market has been crying out for a better online solution, and we think with the investment from the Creative Enterprise Fund we’re in a strong position to expand our business rapidly. We’re delighted to be working with CEA and their Creative Enterprise Fund. For any startup founder the ideal investor is one that brings domain expertise, networks and commercial experience to the table. In that respect CEA is certainly has a lot to offer us, with their fashion industry expertise and connections in the tech and startup industries.”
The CEA Startup Fund was established by CEA to support creative startups in Australia by investing up to $150k in emerging businesses with significant growth opportunities and global potential.It exclusively targets design, fashion, animation, digital media, film and television, music and gaming, or online businesses that promote those sectors. Over the last 3 years, CEA has provided a dedicated Fashion Incubator which works with emerging brands and labels to support their business growth through mentoring, technical and production support. This is the first investment by CEA in the fashion industry which in Australia alone is valued across the clothing, textile and footwear industry at $3bn.
According to Corby, technology such as their newly-developed fashion forecasting trend tracking algorithm will be the key to Fame & Partners success. Real-time data feeds into their range development ensuring Fame & Partners designs are always ahead of the curve. “Data-driven features such as our star-profiling algorithm that connects girls to the dress that will suit them best, and with the help of our free online fashion stylist they can create a look that is unique to them,” says Ms Corby. “Our ‘Twin Alert’ feature means girls can avoid the ever feared fashion clash – because we prevent two girls at the same event from being able to purchase the same dress.”