Loni Edwards is Founder and CEO of Stitch Collective Inc, Co-Chair of the Harvard Law Entrepreneurs Network, and Mentor at Andover Thought in Action. Formerly an attorney at Quinn Emanuel LLP. Graduate of Harvard Law School, Cornell University, and Phillips Academy Andover.
Firstly, where does your love for fashion come from?
I’ve always loved the way fashion allows you to express yourself, and I find the creativity that goes into thinking up new and innovative designs incredibly inspiring.
Stitch Collective was created as a way to support designers and promote their creativity.
You mention that Stitch Collective was born as a solution to a variety of barriers you noticed for new designers getting into the marketplace. What were some of those barriers to entry you saw, and how did you settle on the Stitch Collective platform as a solution?The barriers fall into two buckets – pre-production and post-production.
The pre-production barriers involve finding quality factories and suppliers, and having enough capital for a production run. Individual designers benefit from having the backing & support of Stitch Collective and our community. We handle the manufacturing and sourcing and save designers from that stressful process so they can focus on what they do best – designing.
The post-production barriers involve visibility and inventory risk. We maximize designer’s visibility by partnering with key players in fashion. We reduce inventory risk by gauging demand via pre-production voting.
Was crowdsourcing – or crowdvoting in this case – always part of the equation?
Yes, crowdsourcing has a great upside for both the designers as well as our community. Our designers are introduced to our diverse and international community of fashionistas, and our community, in turn, is invited to take part in a process (determining which sketches get brought to life) that is traditionally done behind closed doors.
Crowdsourcing of opinions also lowers inventory risk by gauging demand pre-production and ensuring that we only produce in-demand items rather than resorting to guesswork.
We’re in an environment now where companies in industries such as fashion are, at the end of the day, really technology companies. Do you view yourself as a technology company?
Technology plays a large role in what makes Stitch Collective work and has enabled our international reach — everything from crowdsourcing our community’s opinion through voting to engaging with and growing our community through social media.
Success as a startup isn’t always easy. Is there anything in particular you attribute your success to?
Great partnerships and supportive networks are the two main things that have led to our success.
What’s your best advice for a new company to stand out in a noisy world and gain traction?
[Source: Kate Brodock a Forbes contributor]