Fashion e-commerce startup, The Folklore Group, today announced the move from direct-to-consumer to wholesale B2B against the backdrop of a $ 1.7 million pre-seed loan, which the startup plans to use to fuel the growth of your new business.
Dubbed the startup’s new wholesale business Folklore connectsit will connect luxury fashion brands in emerging markets to wholesalers in North America and, later, Europe.
The e-commerce company, founded in 2018 by Amira Rasool, previously sourced, shipped, and did last-mile deliveries to customers in the United States, which, however, didn’t allow it to grow fast enough. An increase in demand for the fashion products sold has also accelerated the startup’s move to wholesale.
Rasool told TechCrunch that The Folklore has experienced 100% year-over-year sales growth since launch. He expects greater growth for fashion brands and his business following the new business and financing path.
“Folklore Connect is our core product for the future and this is where we will focus up to 95% of our resources, energy and funds. We are developing our technology and building a sales team. We have involved a fantastic head of engineering and a director of brand and retail partnerships to build our sales and customer success teams, both in the continent (Africa) and in the United States, “said Rasool, founder and CEO. by The Folklore Group.
The startup is also launching a new market for being an affiliate partner of fashion brands or platforms and The Folklore Edit, an online media site that will carry fashion stories.
The funding round was led by Slauson & Co., a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology investments, with the participation of the Fearless Fund along with other major Black Angel investors, including the star of the WNBA Nneka Ogwumike.
“The world is beginning to wake up to untapped talent across Africa. The Folklore highlights top design talents across the continent and demand for these culture-reflecting products is exploding. Amira is uniquely qualified to lead this position and we are thrilled to stand by her as she empowers brands across the continent, ”said Slauson & Co., managing partner, Ajay Relan.
The startup’s B2B wholesale platform launching today (in beta) will sell products from up to 30 fashion brands including Rich Mnisi and Suki Suki Naturals, both from South Africa and Orange Culture from Nigeria to 15 retailers across the states. United.
The startup is working with modern fashion brands outside Africa that have a proven track record and can keep up with demand.
“We are looking at it from a global perspective. These brands produce products that can be worn by anyone anywhere in the world. They may have some sort of cultural significance, but they are remixed or remade to fit a global perspective, “said Rasool, who launched The Folklore from her passion for fashion and black literature that led her to visit Africa (he visited South Africa) where he discovered “surprising and innovative” fashion brands.
The first trip took her on a voyage of discovery that saw her enroll at the University of Cape Town, where she earned a master’s in African studies for two years, and had plenty of time to get to know the designers she has. met in South Africa, and during his travels across the continent. Previously, she had worked in some of the most famous fashion publications in the world such as Marie Claire and V Magazine.
“I had a lot of knowledge of the fashion industry, but above all of the mainstream, such as the luxury industry dominated by North American and European brands. So going to South Africa and on my travels across the continent I discovered all these amazing brands that were innovative and designed from a global perspective … I realized that many of them had no direct connections to consumer platforms, and those who had it lacked sales tools. Furthermore, no retailers outside their own countries were supplying these brands. I launched The Folklore to change it, “Rasool said.
The Folklore Group, Rasool said, will open up new markets for luxury and emerging brands from Africa and around the world, while also meeting the growing demand from retailers who love diversity and inclusion.