Like a catwalk model pivoting on the runway, Garmz, a startup which allows upcoming fashion designers to cut out the traditional network of buyers and sell clothes straight to consumers, is today rebranding as Lookk and announcing new Seed investment.
Eden Ventures has taken the lead on the investment. Terms were undisclosed but sources say Eden went in for just over £500,000. Other Angels investors have joined the round including 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, Kima Ventures, and Angel investors Sherry Coutu, Richard Titus, Tom Hulme and Net-a-Porter founder Carmen Busquets. The startup is a former 2010 Seedcamp winner and took the standard £50,000 investment then.
Lookk lets new fashion designers upload designs – these are then voted on by consumers. The winning designs are produced by Lookk own in-house operation with Lookk responsible for the the manufacturing, distribution and disbursement of the pieces, including all associated costs.
As you can imagine there are lots of aspiring fashion designers who would jump at such a chance to leap-frog the relatively slow-moving fashion industry.
Andreas Klinger, co-founder and COO of Lookk, says the name change does not mean a change in business model or direction of the company, but more an attempt to better reflect its appeal to designers. The new site is certainly a lot better looking that the previous incarnation.
He explains that it takes several years to gain a reputation as a fashion designer amongst the buying networks. “Buyers can’t trust new designer’s names to sell so they can’t stock their clothes and consumers can’t buy it LooKK addresses this issue by bribing designers and consumers together,” he said.
However I think the social aspect of Garmz wasn’t going as viral as perhaps it might. The site has 16,000 Facebook fans, so not as many as one might think after a good year of operation. This perhaps explains the re-brand.
The site also faces some competition of sorts. NotJustALabel.com is a marketplace for avant-garde fashion, for instance. However, no other site does the entire end-to end process all the way up to the making of the designs. This creates a barrier to entry against competition, which Lookk can exploit.
McClure says they verbally agreed informal terms a year ago, but documentation took longer than expected. He says the team combines “Great design sensibility, SEO structure – a good combination of tech an visual design skills. It’s rare to find a combination of hacker and hipster skills in the one team at the same time. And I’m psyched about crowd sourcing plays like Lookk.”
The startup is the brainchild of Tamas Locher, Andreas Klinger and Gilbert Wedam.