May 28, 2015

SF Startup with Small Designers in Mind: Stitch Labs

When it comes to success in a creative field, there’s no question that ‘ole Edison’s one percent inspiration vs. 99 percent perspiration maxim applies. Hoping to wipe some of the sweat off designers’ furrowed brows is San Francisco-based startup Stitch Labs and its web-based platform for managing product lines, inventory and sales.

Launched by Brandon Levey (who earned his chops founding and growing Bay Area label Naked Cotton), Jake Gasaway and Michelle Laham earlier this year, the company has steadily attracted small apparel and accessories businesses looking to streamline the cumbersome processes involved in running their businesses.

In the past, small apparel companies mainly sold wholesale or in retail stores. Now, it’s not uncommon for a single designer to sell her creations in five or more different ways.

“They sell consignment, they sell wholesale, they have a web store, but they don’t just have a web store, they have an etsy shop,” says Gasaway.

And that’s to say nothing of selling at trunk shows, pop-up shops or other shopping events. Due out in the coming weeks, the company is also launching automated tools for managing and updating product in etsy shops – a boon for designers with numerous listings and steady sales.

For designers, the allure is clear: a practical way to manage multiple sales channels and automate what can easily become a cumbersome tangle of competing spreadsheets.

But for the rest of us? Why should the average consumer care? It’s actually quite simple for fans of independent fashion and design. Innovative, web-based, cost-effective tools for independent businesses mean more opportunity for emerging and small labels to compete – and, we’d hope, succeed – in the crowded fashion landscape.

It’s also only the latest example of fashion and technology colliding for a net positive in the Bay Area.

For more on Stitch Labs and its tools for designers, you can hear Brandon Levey speak Thursday during the free TechShop event Bazaar Bizarre SF Presents: Effective Apps to Manage Your Business.