When sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe first blossomed in the early 2010s, many questioned the staying power of brands based on crowd funding. Some found it nearly insane to think that enough consumers could have blind faith in a product that they would actually pay for it before anything had been produced on a larger scale.
After all it is difficult to have faith in clothing that doesn’t even exist yet. I don’t know about you all, but I like to see and feel almost any garment that I purchase before pulling the trigger–especially when it comes to denim.
That being said, a few brands are making waves in the denim and internet spheres that have found success in basing their sales exclusively through crowd funding. This way exactly the right amount of each garment is made, ideas that consumers do not like are not brought to fruition, and no money is lost on back stock that ends up unsold. Here’s a quick rundown on three brands that found early success in crowd funded denim and have chosen to keep doing it: RPMWEST, Gustin, and Flint and Tinder.
Owned by one Manuel Rappard, RPMWEST operates out of California and uses crowd funding as a way to provide its customers with raw Japanese selvedge denim at a reasonable price. You would never guess that the brand has only been operating for about a year after viewing the reviews and response that they have been receiving through the blogosphere and internet.
For each Kickstarter, the brand offers different builds of Japanese denim. They’re currently pitching six fabrics available in their two fits, the New Classic and Slim Straight. On their most recent campaign the brand has raised about $96,000 from over 700 backers to produce their jeans. With responses like that, there’s little chance they’ll want to change up their business model.
Gustin arrived at crowd funding for many of the same reasons as RPM. The brand had existed for around 8 years and initially sold its products through traditional retailers. After some contemplation, the brand found it more logical to withdraw from having these retailers sell their products at mark-ups and sell directly to the consumer at wholesale prices. The brand began on Kickstarter but has since implemented their own fundraising system directly into the shop tab on their site.
Prospective buyers see the products and fabrics that Gustin js offering for that cycle and put their money down to reserve one. Once a product is fully funded, Gustin sends it into production and ships out their goods a couple months later. Currently they’re funding a variety of American and Japanese denims from a variety of well known mills. Interested in seeing more of what we think about Gustin? Check out the review that our writer, Young Lee, did on their Loomstates back in December.
Flint and Tinder
Reality TV personality Jake Bronstein started Flint and Tinder back in 2012 to produce high end American made underwear. The initial response that his campaign received brought the brand to the attention of the likes of Zappos CEO, Tony Hseih. From there the brand kept gaining steam and was eventually able to open a webshop with their own domain and produce a full line of mens and womenswear. Despite their success, they still chose to return to Kickstarter to fund their latest cycle of raw denim last month.
Aside from underwear, their most notable item is their raw selvedge jeans, which have been the subject of multiple Kickstarter campaigns. The jeans are your standard 13.5 oz. Cone Mills raw selvedge that we have all come to expect from Made In America-type brands.
So, what do you guys think? Do you think that crowd funding is a viable option to sell product through or is it just a flash in the pan trend? Sound off in the comments below, we would love to hear what you guys think!