Luxury Clothing Startup Everlane Crowdfunds Its Canada Launch
It’s becoming very clear that crowdfunding isn’t just for nascent upstart projects anymore. The latest example of this: Everlane, the company that produces and sells luxury clothing and accessories at a discount since it’s online-only and vertically integrated, is raising $100,000 in a crowdsourced campaign to determine whether it will extend its reach into Canada.
The effort, which began this morning, has been a big success so far, with some 480 contributors committing more than $32,000 just nine hours into the 17 day campaign.
Crowdfunding for data’s sake — not for the money
It bears mention that the money being raised is not all that’s necessary to fund the Canadian launch. Each donation tier provides a gift that’s equal to the amount given — $15 gets a $15 gift card (or a $15 Everlane tee,) $60 gets $60 gift card, and so on. “We’re not using any of this to fund the operations,” Everlane founder and CEO Michael Preysman said in a phone interview today. “It’s our internal benchmark. We said, ‘If we hit this mark, there are a lot of people in Canada who really want Everlane.’”
Looking ahead, Preysman says Everlane is eyeing even more international expansion, with launches in the UK and Australia hopefully on deck by the end of 2013. Today, Everlane currently has more than 500,000 members in the US alone.
It’s an interesting example of how crowdfunding can be valuable even for companies that don’t necessarily need the money. Hard data about consumer intent can be hard to come by, and crowdfunding provides concrete feedback about people who are truly interested in something — people who will put money down are clearly pretty serious about wanting a product. Traditionally it’s been used by upstart projects that need the money to take the next step, but this shows that it can be a valuable data collection tool in itself.
Making a launch less of a ‘shot in the dark’
It’s a big departure from how small e-commerce companies typically handle international expansion. The status quo way to evaluate which regions to expand to next is counting the inbound requests received via email — an obviously vague way of gauging demand.
Checkout the Everlane Canada Campaign
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