Can you invent the next ‘snuggie’ or ‘jegging’? Betabrand says yes.

Global Business

A San Francisco start up wants wants to make it easier for you to be your own clothing designer. Betabrand is capitalizing on the creativity of the crowd to disrupt traditions in the fashion industry.
Mark Niu files this report from San Francisco.

Can you invent the next ‘snuggie’ or ‘jegging’? Betabrand says yes.

Can you invent the next ‘snuggie’ or ‘jegging’? Betabrand says yes.

A San Francisco start up wants wants to make it easier for you to be your own clothing designer. Betabrand is capitalizing on the creativity of the crowd to disrupt traditions in the fashion industry. Mark Niu files this report from San Francisco.

Betabrand wants people to be able to design whatever type of clothing they can imagine. Audio engineer Nic Pope came up with a hoodie that is made from headphone cover material. It can keep you warm while allowing you to hear crystal clear sound around you.

“The idea just kind of came to me. What if I had a hoodie that could do all the things that I wish a hoodie would do. Really, the end goal for me was I wanted a hoodie, so I’m wearing it. I wear it every day,” Pope said.

The design platform and tool can mean big bucks for users.
Customers bought more than 600 of Pope’s hoodies in three months earning him nearly $7,000.

When users post an idea on Betabrand, it has 30 days to be voted on by the community. If successful it’ll go into production and designers can make up to 10-percent of the gross sales.

Betabrand has produced more than 350 different products, with the most popular being women’s dressy Yoga pants and men’s dressy sweatpants.

“With us, it’s no risk to the designer, because we take on all the responsibility of all the manufacturing and fulfillment if it’s successful in the crowdfunding” said Liz Rossof, director of the Betabrand Think Tank.

At Betabrand’s photo studio they are putting the finishing touches on their latest product. A jacket designed by DJ Chris Holmes actually reflects flashes so that when paparazzi take a picture of a celebrity, they can remain anonymous.

Tech veteran Cris Lindland founded Betabrand, which began with the quirky idea of selling, what he calls, ‘cordaround’ pants. They’re corduroy pants that have circular grooves instead of vertical ones.

“There are a lot of brilliant ideas in fashion that never find their way to the marketplace. It isn’t a matter of us taking people’s rights. It’s a matter of us giving them an opportunity to get their products made. We don’t have to go through some long deliberative process where all the department heads of our business get together and say, will people want this blue hoodie next fall? We just go, let’s put it up on the site and let people tell us,” Lindland said.

That allows Betabrand to save money on inventory and to design, cut and sell garments right at their headquarters in San Francisco. The crowd also arms BetaBrand with plenty of marketing data for future products.