Legal Name: MakersValley LLC
Location: New York City, New York
Industry: Global Private Label Apparel Industry
Size: $342B in 2017 (Source: MakersValley)
Future: $406B by 2022 (Source: MakersValley)
MakersValley, often considered the Airbnb of small batch apparel manufacturing, is an e-platform that helps boutiques and fashion designers get in touch with Italian manufacturers.
The goal of the portal is to make good quality white-label manufacturing accessible to sellers, by removing the middleman. This means that businesses and entrepreneurs can source the product at factory pricing and affordably launch their own clothing lines.
MakersValley sets itself apart by allowing designers to place really small orders, no matter the budget. Also, all manufacturers on the platform can be trusted to deliver on quality and time, since they have already been thoroughly vetted by MakersValley.
On the other hand, the portal helps manufacturers reach clients outside of Italy, by just uploading their catalog of products on MakersValley.
MakersValley allows designers to set up a free account on their platform and enter the details (such as budget, timeline, and material) of the new fashion line they wish to launch. The website also has a nifty calculator that can predict a ballpark cost for the production and delivery of the fashion item.
Then, to see a list of product manufacturers, the users need to sign up for one of the startup’s subscription plans. The memberships are priced at $49/month for one pattern, $99/month for up to three patterns and $199/month for unlimited patterns and fabric sourcing. In addition, they also charge a 22 percent markup per piece – according to Xconomy.
According to a report in Cat George, MakersValley services are quite affordable considering manufacturing brokers usually charge a commission that is 100-200% over the garment’s unit price.
Upon payment, designers are assigned an account manager who handholds them through the vendor selection and manufacturing process and product delivery.
All designers or boutiques need to do is upload their designs on the web platform to receive bids from apparel manufacturers, and then just pick the perfect bid with the help of the dedicated account manager. Next, they could ask the chosen manufacturer to share samples or start work on the complete order.
Throughout the manufacturing process, the vendors can be asked to upload photos and videos of the clothing at various stages of completion. This not only allows the designers to share regular feedback but also gives them good ‘behind the scenes’ content for their social media channels.
Finally, MakesValley helps deliver the finished goods to the designer in time, through a partnership with UPS.
Origin and Founding Team
Tiffany Chimal recounts to Forbes how when she was a child, her mother used to sew and sell clothing as a side business to make ends meet. On the other hand, as a young adult living in Naples (Italy), Alessio Iadicicco saw that the Italian clothing manufacturing industry was starting to suffer, owing to globalization or exploitation by big brands.
While working in Milan, the fashion capital of the world, Chimal met Iadicicco. Both of them discussed the potential of creating a platform that acts as a matchmaker between Italian manufacturers and small boutiques. Inspired to make this dream a reality, the duo shifted to New York and set up a Shopify store to sell Italian tailor-made suits from Iadicicco’s parents’ shop.
Chimal started visiting suiting stores in New York, simply armed with a suitcase of suits. Eventually, they started getting asked to secure items such as ‘authentically Italian” shirts and sports jackets. “We quickly realized that most of our target clientele was more interested in our Italian contacts — they liked the idea of finding manufacturers for their own private-label projects,” said Chimal to EQ.
That is when they teamed up with a friend of Iadicicco’s – Babajide Okusanya, to set up MakersValley in 2016.
It helped that Iadicicco’s parents’ had good connections within the Italian apparel industry. And this is an advantage that they leveraged to give smaller designers access to manufacturers who would best fit their unique needs.
Today, the MakersVelley team has grown to 12 full-time employees.
Performance and Trends
MakersValley was part of the Parallel 18 Puerto Rico Startup Accelerator in 2017. This stint helped the MakersValley team learn how to improve on their sales and marketing efforts.
“Building out a marketing and sales team and expanding our network helped us to get more leads,” explained Chimal to Forbes.
Soon after, they also secured $50,000 from the Arch Grants Startup Accelerator in January 2018, and got a spot in the Monarq Incubator New York City 2019.
MakersValley’s ARR projection for 2019 is $1M. It currently has 185 Italian manufacturers on board, 47+ production orders in the pipeline, 30+ new orders, 10+ reorders, and around 70+ new customers per month.
Though MakersValley currently works with clothing manufacturers in Italy, they hope to diversify and expand their business. The founders see potential in helping manufacturers of various premier industries, across the globe, connect with sellers. An example stated by Iadicicco is building a community of wine manufacturers in France who will then supply to wine shops around the world.
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