Fashion tech products showcased at Alley NYC

By Dennis Clemente

Last September 12, Alley NYC was transformed into a mishmash of a trade fair’s open layout with cocktails all around, as it held coincided demonstrations of fashion tech products with Fashion Week just a few blocks up Midtown.

Acustom Apparel, Bauble Bar, Gilt Groupe, Hukkster, Makerbot and MaterialWrld founders and staff talked about their fashion tech products along with Buncee, not in the list of exhibitors, showing off its new content creation tool. It looked like a game-fied Pinterest but with interactivity functions.

Nearly 600 people crowded Alley NYC to watch the simultaneous demos going on.

Acustom Apparel is using new technology and a 3D body scanning process to make custom clothing better fitting, easier to purchase and less expensive than traditional methods. A 3-second scan allows you to download over 200,000 data points – combined with our proprietary digital bespoke technology. Acustom can reportedly make Bespoke jeans for under $200. Bespoke jeans usually cost $800-$1,200.

Acustom currently offers custom-fit men’s suits, shirts, blazers, jeans, winter coats, polo shirts, and khaki pants. But how do you get scanned in the first place?

Jamal Motlagh, CEO and co-founder, said Acustom is opening its new retail store at 330 West Broadway this Fall.
The ladies will have to wait.

For those who want to envision a dress they may want to buy or make or share with friends, Buncee showed how its interactive multimedia creation tools can do that.

Not exactly new but still a startup, Bauble Bar is an ecommerce start-up based in New York City “It is building a unique retail destination for fashion jewelry. It closed Series A funding in April 2012 and are backed by Accel Partners and Greycroft Partners.

No introduction needed but perhaps the most visible this year in various meetups, the Gilt Groupe is still the leader in terms of providing instant insider access to today’s top designer labels at up to 60% off.

This year, Gilt spent much of 2013 exploring the exciting world of personalization–releasing test roll-outs of personal sales to make offerings even more relevant to its eight million members. Gilt said feedback shows how Gilt members love personal sales

Hukkster demonstrated its online shopping tool–a bookmarklet that installs in your browser and optimizes your shopping experience online. As you visit all your favorite e-commerce sites you can “hukk” products to collect them in one place for immediate access and be informed via email or text when those select products go on sale. You will also find out about any site-wide promotions or coupon codes!

Perhaps fashionistas can make use of MakerBot the desktop 3D printing service that must be like how sawing machines inspired many back in the day. Founded in 2009, MakerBot has reportedly built the largest installed base of desktop 3D printers sold to innovative and industry-leading customers worldwide

Material Wrld is all about luxury resale. Founded in 2012 by experienced online fashion professionals who love to shop, Material Wrld has been featured in many fashion publications, clearly a win for them in terms of getting the necessary media mileage.

From the Gilt page, 3 female tech founders go their own e-commerce ways

By Dennis Clemente

If Sex and the City were set in New York circa Silicon Alley 2013, they could be tech startup founders named Katie Finnegan, Jill Sherman and Sari Bibliowicz.

Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda would actually have a hard time making ends meet after the economy tanked in 2008, especially Carrie whose job as a journalist would have been disrupted by now by, say, a tech startup?! The TV show is dated.

With these beautiful new tech startup founders, the TV show could just as well be called Tech and the City. Samantha would complete the quorum, although this time she’d be making more productive use of her excess energy. As a publicist, Samantha can help the three women get some much-needed media mileage to promote their sites.

The three she will be promoting are Finnegan, the co-founder of Hukkster, Sherman the co-founder of Modalyst and Bibliowicz the co-founder of Bib + Tuck. They were the panelists at the E-Commerce Alley meetup organized by Ben Stein and Chad Rubin last August 12 at the City Winery in Varick St.

Finnegan recalls her early start when she left her job in corporate retail along with co-founder Erica Bell. The two said goodbye to corporate employee discounts for something much better up their sleeves.

Following Gilt’s success in the subscription-shopping service, the two pushed the envelope with a “bookmarklet”— what you pin on top of your web browser, similar to Pinterest’s system. As you shop for deals online, you press the “hukk it” button or bookmarkelt to start tracking items you want to buy at a reasonable price. Prices are tracked for marked items and email notifications come to you when the price of the item drops. They raised $250,000 in seed funding.

The next panelist, Sherman, had logged in 11 years in the luxury sector of retail and editorial fashion before she embarked on Modalyst with co-founder Alain Miguel. Her love for discovering new brands and independent fashion led to her founding of the online curated marketplace.

From inventory orders, now there’s the experience of collective buying, where boutique buyers can try out new brands with less restrictive minimum orders, raise their purchasing power collectively to compete with big retailers, and buy regularly instead of seasonally.

What’s their marketing approach? Rather than promote the company, they make use of social media to highlight their brands and boutiques. Sherman is most satisfied about the high-touch process of direct personal interaction with boutiques and designers.

Modalyst was funded by family and friends, but they are working on getting in touch with investors..

Barter is sexy for Bibliowicz and the members-only community Bib + Tuck she co-founded with her namesake, Sari Azout, a former trader. “We bring together the hippest people so that each can find the new in another’s old.”

In the last two years, secondhand marketplaces with fashionable leanings have made it increasingly easy to buy and sell secondhand apparel and accessories online.

But where others have little regard for quality, the two Saris said their items are more upscale. The site allows members to upload images of items they would like to barter with an option to exchange for a virtual currency called “bucks.” Bib + Tuck earns from a flat shipping fee paid per item, and it also sells bucks in small increments to members who need more than they have on hand.

Bib + Tuck is making secondhand classy. High-profile names keep the site interesting, which draws interest among those curious to know who want to let go of their precious luxury brands. You know who’s scouring the site if not the Sex and the City women emboldened by the Tech and City women.