In a bid to deliver fashion as rapidly as possible to the end consumer segment, the fashion industry welcomes supply chain innovation. Historically, these innovations have been important to the success of brands like Zara and The Limited. In other areas, however, the fashion industry has lagged others in adopting new technologies.
While attending a ProVisors meeting at Expert Dojo, I heard about FABFAD, a new firm at the intersection of tech and fashion. It’s a platform that allows users to quickly design and print custom fabric in small quantities—a minimum order is just five yards.
Expert Dojo has invested in FABFAD, and FABFAD is currently raising a seed round of capital, with plans to grow revenues from the current $1 million level to around $10 million in 2019. I took the opportunity to tour the new Los Angeles factory and chat with Sean Saberi, CEO of FABFAD, who shared his vision. Sean explains,
“Our vision is to develop technologies, hardware and software to be able to achieve low-quantity, zero-waste factories around the globe. I’m not trying to build a business that just delivers only the bottom line. I want to transform the industry and do this with a new culture of sustainability that didn’t exist before.”
FABFAD works with a wide range of B2B customers, and has innovated order processing. Some of the orders in process when I visited included leggings for ski resorts, specialized scarves/bandanas with filters for firefighters, and headphone covers. While the company specializes in any custom-print synthetic fabric, its greatest initial success has been in the $29B leggings market.
“In the beginning, we couldn’t process all the orders. Believe it or not, customers were bringing in CDs, and sometimes couldn’t open the files on them. We needed to fix this problem in order processing. So, in 2018, we invested in FABFAD’s platform. The goal is to go from concept to closet. It does everything from design to fulfillment. Most orders are shipped within 24 hours. We want to be the McDonald’s of small-scale factories, and the Shopify of manufacturing”
It’s a big vision for industry transformation, and I look forward to seeing how the firm develops and delivers against it in the next few years.