Seed funding from Australia's only dedicated investment fund for the creative industries is helping a next-generation online fashion retailer tap into the $6 billion international formal and prom market.
Fame & Partners is a hybrid technology and fashion business that uses a proprietary algorithm to track the latest trends in event wear, offering young women customised versions of these on-trend garments.
Early-stage investment funding from QUT Creative Enterprise Australia's (CEA) Creative Enterprise Fund will allow the company to transform what is traditionally a bricks-and-mortar sector into a clicks-and-mortar, fast-fashion game-changer.
"The formal wear market originates from bridal ranges that are traditionally sold through small retailers who hold onto old stock - they can't keep up-to-date with the amorphous, social media-fuelled, trend-conscious consumer." Fame & Partners founder and CEO, Nyree Corby said.
"Young women are incredibly tech savvy fashion enthusiasts, sharing blog and social posts of their favourite frocks, and I noticed a huge disconnect between what young women wanted to wear to their special events, and what was available to them through retailers.
"I recognised this as an untapped opportunity with huge potential."
CEO of CEA Anna Rooke said she was delighted to support such an innovative endeavour.
"This is the second company we have funded through our Creative Enterprise Fund since we launched it a year ago and our first investment in the fashion industry, which in Australia alone is valued at $3 billion," Ms Rooke said.
"Fame & Partners has spotted a great opportunity in high-transaction-spend niche market, and is using customised manufacture and digital technology to their advantage to provide a distinctly different offering in an internationally competitive market."
Fame & Partners began selling made-to-order formal dresses online in Australia.
The company recently expanded its Australian-based operation to the lucrative US prom dress market. After four months, its US sales were close to outstripping its Australian sales.
Ms Corby said her company's newly developed trend-tracking, fashion-forecasting algorithm would be the key to its international success.
"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.
"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."
The Creative Enterprise Fund was established support creative Australian startups, investing up to $150,000 in emerging businesses with significant growth opportunities and global potential.
The fund exclusively targets design, fashion, animation, digital media, film and television, music and gaming, or online businesses that promote those sectors.
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Anna Rooke, CEA, +61 (0)438 991 263, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nyree Corby, Fame & Partners, +61 (0)421 159 217, email@example.com
Fame & Partners will use seeding funding from CEA to tap into the $6 billion international formal and prom market.
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