When news dropped earlier this week of ModCloth‘s latest funding round, a cool $25 million led by Norwest Ventures, my immediate thought was, what will they use the capital infusion for?
Luckily, Co-Founder and CEO Eric Koger was willing to give me a solid amount of detail when we caught up by phone earlier today to discuss the news. I put most of the details in this post, published earlier this afternoon on the San Francisco Chronicle SF Unzipped blog.
But essentially Koger explained that they’d be expanding the company’s 300+ team in the San Francisco headquarters (good news for all the fashion-tech job seekers out here right now), as well as in Pennsylvania and Los Angeles. Along with extra hires, the big news is that the company plans to begin working directly with manufacturers to produce its own garments. That means it will be able to make a play for the plus-size market, which, in my opinion, sorely needs more options for young women. If you’re over size 12 today, you have a severe lack of stylish, modern, youthful apparel and accessories options. And that simply shouldn’t be the case, especially considering the sheer numbers of women who fall into that category.
The company will also use its new production efforts to work with even smaller labels and just-getting-off-the-ground emerging designers without manufacturing capabilities.
“We can partner with smaller designers who haven’t yet figured out the production side of things,” Koger told me.
There will also be an expansion of the company’s wildly popular (12 million votes and counting) Be the Buyer program.
I’m a big fan of democratic fashion in general, so I obviously applaud the latter. But the thing that captured my attention the most is the plus-size market move. I can think of very few mainstream retailers that have managed to satisfy this population without cordoning them off into some kind of plus-size fashion ghetto and all anecdotal evidence I have points to plus-size shoppers absolutely craving new, fresh, fashion-forward choices. If they can figure out how to make this a viable part of their overall business that’s truly integrated into everything else they do, it will be quite a notable feat.
Head to SF Unzipped for a more official accounting and a few extra Koger comments.
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