Hingeto (YC W16) Lets Fashion Brands Gauge the Clothes Customers Will Want to Buy

Every year, fashion brands make multi-million dollar inventory decisions without any customer feedback. This approach leaves them with tons of unwanted stock.

Fast fashion brands such as Zara have enjoyed surging popularity (and profitability) by making products based on customer data: They feature styles with limited inventory to test in their stores, and then produce more of the top sellers within weeks.

Hingeto is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that democratizes this approach, giving every brand the tools to test their fashion ideas before they have to invest in producing them. 

Hingeto builds crowdfunding sites that let fashion brands test demand for new designs without having to produce them upfront. Hingeto’s sites integrate seamlessly into a brand’s own website, and lets them test dozens of new designs simultaneously, and only produce the popular ones. 

Take the jacket pictured in the feature image above. The bomber jacket was a trending fashion item for this spring -- but youth fashion brand Crooks & Castles didn’t have one in stock, and had no way to know if it was worth the investment to add one to their lineup. Hingeto enabled them to design a mock-up and offer it to their customers within a day, without any upfront monetary commitment. As a result, they’ve sold nearly 100 units in a few weeks at high margin, generating thousands of dollars in new revenue.

The key difference between Hingeto and traditional crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter is that traditional crowdfunding sites focus on one product at a time, but fashion brands want to to crowdfund dozens of designs at once.  Fashion brands are also already selling products on their own site, so it doesn’t make sense for them to send traffic away to a crowdfunding site.  Hingeto plugs into the brand’s own website, creating an extension of their existing experience.

Hingeto has raised a seed round of funding led by Kapor Capital, early Zappos investor Base Ventures, and Charles Hudson’s Precursor VC.

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