If you’ve spent any time with your sights trained on New York’s fashion and technology scene, then you’ve definitely run into Third Wave Fashion, the strategic consultancy founded last year by Liza Kindred with an aim to help fashion startups build better businesses or, as she put it when we caught up last week, “Third Wave fashion is 100 percent focused on helping web-based fashion startups kick more ass.”
That Third Wave Fashion even exists is a sign of the times: fashion and technology is a formidable enough space that it’s spawning service-based businesses like Kindred’s to help serve its growing needs. But being able to help those already bridging the gap between two notoriously disconnected industries requires both a certain kind of personality, as well as pretty unique background.
Enter Kindred. With a quick-talking, we’re already-best-friends tone that’s casual but incisive, she’s one of those people who can drop a phrase like “kick more ass” or B.F.F. and still manage to sound like somehow who knows how to run a business. Add her real world experience to her far-from-a-corporate-stiff manner, and I think you can see how she holds special appeal for those in the often-scrappy startup world.
“I love startups. I love taking an idea and turning it into a viable business model,” she tells me.
An entrepreneur who’s worked in both fashion and technology, Kindred brings an array of experiences to the table. She’s opened (and closed) an independent clothing boutique, worked among the fashion industry rank and file as a freelance producer and, most recently, ridden the wave as the first hire at software company Lullabot, where she became a managing partner overseeing a multimillion business before exiting to embark on her current adventure.
With those trials and triumphs under her belt, Kindred and a five-person team are working to bring fashion businesses a bevy of options. Last week, Third Wave Fashion announced Style Startups, a program that offers early stage companies assistance with everything from sourcing beta testers to hiring qualified tech pros to approaching investors.
While the highest service level costs $3,000 a month, startups on a shoestring can join up at lower tiers (they start at $225/month), attend the company’s Master Classes with seasoned tech experts and turn up at regular meetups.
As for the health of the fashion tech landscape in general, Kindred is optimistic about what she sees ahead and bullish on New York’s role in growth of the industry.
“The vast majority of fashion tech is happening in New York City, and I think that will continue to be true because of the proximity of brands,” she says.
Yes, those of us on the West Coast may grumble, but it is true that we’re starting to see an interesting dividing line breakdown between the coasts: more fashion- and trend-focused startups in the East, while many of the new sites and apps with interesting twists on person-to-person buying and selling, resale and the shared economy are popping up in the West.
And speaking of Kindred and the West, you might just spot her and the Third Wave Fashion team roving the left coast sometime soon. Can’t divulge any details yet, but rest assured, they’re not content to be contained by one little ‘ole Big Apple.