QUT Creative Enterprise Australia has announced an investment by its Creative Enterprise Fund in Fame & Partners, a next generation online fashion retailer tapping into the $6 billion formal and prom dress market. It’s the second investment for the fund after investing in See-Out eralier this year.
Fame & Partners is a hybrid technology and fashion business, which uses a proprietary algorithm to track the latest trends in event wear. They then leverage a real-time supply chain set-up to offer customisations to these on-trend garments.
Anna Rooke, CEO of Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), announced the investment saying they are delighted to be investing in an Australian fashion tech venture with a growing global market.
“Digital disruption is changing many markets, and the fashion industry is undergoing significant change with new brands targeting niche client verticals as well as moving from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar,” Rooke says.
“Fame & Partners have spotted a great opportunity in high-transaction-spend niche market, and are using customised manufacture and digital technology to their advantage to provide a distinctly different offering in an internationally competitive market.”
Fame & Partners co-founder and CEO, Nyree Corby, explains how she started the business.
“The formal wear market originates from bridal ranges that are traditionally sold through small retailers who hold onto old stock,” Corby says.
“They cannot take a fast-fashion approach or keep up-to-date with the amorphous social media fuelled trend-conscious consumer.
“Teens and young women are incredibly tech savvy fashion enthusiasts, sharing blog and social posts of their favourite frocks, daily. I noticed a huge disconnect between what young women wanted to wear to their special events, and what was available to them through retailers. At the same time I recognised this as an untapped opportunity with huge potential.”
Corby says they started selling made-to-order formal dresses in Australia, where they were able to fine-tune their online customer purchase path and supplier and shipping arrangements. They recently opened up to the US prom market.
“Within four months, our US sales are already close to exceeding Australian revenue, so we can see huge potential for expanding Fame & Partners there and in other markets globally,” Corby says.
The Creative Enterprise Fund was established by CEA to support creative startups in Australia by investing up to $150,000 in emerging businesses with significant growth opportunities and global potential.
It exclusively targets design, fashion, animation, digital media, film and television, music and gaming, or online businesses that promote those sectors.
Over the last three years, CEA has provided a dedicated Fashion Incubator which works with emerging brands and labels to support their business growth through mentoring, technical and production support. This is the first investment by CEA in the fashion industry which in Australia alone is valued across the clothing, textile and footwear industry at $3 billion.