L.A.’s fashion scene and tech boom create fertile ground for startups.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
In the ever-changing world of fashion, one trend that’s “in” to stay is digital. That was very evident at this year’s Silicon Beach Fest—a four-day conference that celebrates L.A.’s unique tech, entertainment and startup community.
Formerly JustFab, TechStyle has more than 400 employees in its 120,000 square-foot office in El Segundo (near Los Angeles International Airport). The ecommerce and fashion business has shot to $650 million in revenue much faster than its bricks-and-mortar counterparts.
TechStyle changed its name from JustFab to reflect technology’s increasingly central role in the company. Today, it’s a platform for testing, launching and scaling ecommerce brands—among them ShoeDazzle, FabKids, JustFab and actress Kate Hudson’s company Fabletics.
“The ecommerce distribution model has really changed the game,” said Gold, TechStyle’s corporate marketing officer, in his keynote. “It’s just a very different time in the marketplace where you can test products and scale companies really quickly.”
The War Against Muffin Tops
As its tagline declares, Wade & Belle is waging the war against muffin-tops. You heard right! Co-founded by Howard and her sister, the L.A.-based ecommerce company grew out of a common pain point—tights that were too tight, that cut off the mid-section and created a small “muffin-top” even when one didn’t previously exist.
The sisters began cutting the elastic off the top of their tights to avoid the digging and pinching. They eventually developed a patent-pending waistband that was thicker and looser than most, and lies flat under clothing. And so was born Wade & Belle’s Not Too Tights—a digitally native ecommerce-based hosiery brand.
Howard has gone all in on digital with mobile commerce, social commerce and digital branding, but Wade & Belle is sold in boutiques from Pittsburgh to Seattle.
“Bricks and mortar are not dead,” says Howard, a panelist at this year’s Silicon Beach Fest whose first ecommerce startup, Milk & Honey, was acquired. “The future is omni-channel commerce where people are selling both online and offline.”
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