In the Spotlight: Betabrand Puts New Fashion to the Test

Spotlight: Betabrand Offers Crowdsourced Fashion Design and Crowdfunding

Online shopping isn’t normally considered to be a particularly social experience. But Betabrand wants to change that. The fashion brand integrates customers into its product development process. And this has led to some really interesting offerings like yoga pants that look like dress pants and a sweater that uses thermoregulating technology so you can enjoy the coziness of a nice sweater even when it’s warm out.

Read more about the company and its unique process in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Designs clothes with a social component.

Founder and CEO Chris Lindland told Small Business Trends, “Betabrand is an online clothing brand that designs in a uniquely social manner. By inviting customers into our creative process, we make more inventive products much faster. Internet hits include: Dress Pant Yoga Pants, Black Sheep Sweaters, Under-the-Jack Packs, Tennis Western Boots and many more. This month’s top product: Unicorn sweaters.”

Business Niche

Involving customers in the design process.

Lindland says, “We invite hundreds of thousands of consumers to co-create products on our site. Major brands like The North Face, Timberland, Vivobarefoot, and Smartwool have used our community platform to design products of their own.”

Spotlight: Betabrand Offers Crowdsourced Fashion Design and Crowdfunding

How the Business Got Started

As a way to mix social media and ecommerce.

Lindland explains, “The goal was always to create a unique social commerce platform. Some of our first hit products for the Internet were Cordarounds, Executive Hoodies, and Disco pants”

Biggest Win

Creating the Dress Pant Yoga Pants.

Lindland adds, “We’ve sold over 1M pair and expect to sell another million this year.”

Biggest Risk

Taking a unique approach to a womenswear launch.

Lindland says, “We knew we’d have to expand beyond menswear into womenswear but weren’t sure if we could do so in time to hit a fundraising goal. So we made the marketing decision to launch all of our women’s products on models with PhDs and it attracted an enormous amount of traffic to the site. The result: We grew incredibly and now women are our primary consumers.”

Spotlight: Betabrand Offers Crowdsourced Fashion Design and Crowdfunding

Lesson Learned

Take risks.

Lindland explains, “In the clothing business, you benefit from doing one thing really well and building scale off of it. To demonstrate that our platform could create anything, we tried everything and that was sometimes hard to manufacture to. But we always pulled it off, so I wouldn’t change a thing. It would have made things easier, but not necessarily better.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Experimenting with live media.

Lindland says, “I’d pour it all into experiments with live commerce online. I think there’s a fun future in that. And we’re already gearing up experiments for it.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Betabrand

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.