Young girls can become the designers of their own printed dresses – that is what a start-up from Las Vegas is offering, based on a simple principle. So what’s the story behind all of this?
Recently the talk here at beyond-print has been more about the major players rather than the little guys. So it’s time once again for me to profile a recent start-up that has brought a fresh idea onto the online print market. The interesting thing about this business is that it is currently a one-product company.
“Wear your Imagination” is the motto adopted by the Las Vegas-based print start-up, Picture This Clothing. Its website was only launched in August 2016. The idea behind Picture This Clothing originates from Jaimee Newberry, the lady, who is also the primary public face of the company. A total of four people founded the business and the principle on which PTC is based can be explained quickly and easily. A template needs to be downloaded and printed out on paper. Customization then comes in to play at this point – it’s kind of an “analog editor” – where the child in fact colors in the template as they like and so designs what is later to become the dress. The colored-in template is then photographed using a smartphone and uploaded via the website.
To guarantee that the photo can be reasonably reproduced on fabric, the template needs to be photographed in good light conditions (natural light, no flash). What you also need to do to ensure the photo is print-compatible is get as close as possible to the template without cropping any part of it out of the photo, make sure the resolution is high enough, the picture is sharp and there are no shadows. Paper white should also appear white on the photo; otherwise originally colorless sections will be printed featuring low tonal values in each tint.
And what does the whole shebang cost? For 49 USD plus 5 USD for shipping within the US or 15 USD for shipping abroad you currently get a design-it-yourself dress for girls in twelve different sizes. Converted into Euros, it would cost around 59 EUR to order a dress from PTC and have it shipped to Germany. Initially customers were expected to accept a production and shipping lead time of 55-60 days. Now that the trial phase has been completed, the required lead time is around 30 days. Feedback to date has been thoroughly positive. Some buyers however criticize the lead time, mark you, they are aware of it when they buy. The printing method used has not (yet) been revealed; but a soft, light material (Poly Spandex), which is machine-washable and can be ironed, is used as the substrate. What appeals to me about this site is that both the photo prerequisites and the ordering process are explained clearly in videos, which certainly helps a lot of customers. Gift cards were also offered right in time for the Christmas season, which gave the company extra capacity utilization.
The well-laid-out store is colorful and therefore designed to appeal to children. T-Shirts, which will be ordered and made based on the same principle, are to be added to the portfolio in the near future. Then boys can also call a self-designed printed T-Shirt their own.
And what’s wrong with making pretty small items of clothing even smaller? That’s what these entrepreneurs thought and provided the opportunity of ordering the same dress in a doll’s version. So the orderer can kit out their child and their kid’s doll (18 inches) with the same dress for an extra 25 USD on top, which is great for the kids and gives the provider more sales.
“Offering design-it-yourself clothing for kids is a really smart idea that can be enhanced. When PTC starts marketing T-shirts based on the same principle, the potential clientele will increase significantly and ensure growth.” – Bernd Zipper
According to the company’s own information, the folks at PTC are scarcely able to keep up with order fulfilment, which can imply very satisfactory capacity utilization. That was also the rationale behind the launch – start out focusing on just one product, see what the feedback is and then expand the product range and capacities. The plan seems to be working.
Back in January I reported on how fashion eCommerce is set to grow. PTC is a great example of buyers being more than willing to spend money on a smart idea – it’s no problem that a design-it-yourself dress costs many times more than its off-the-peg equivalent. Otherwise things are also happening in the European market for customized clothing and other textiles. For example, a range of wearable and home textiles are currently on offer at the s.Oliver online store. I will be taking a closer look at what exactly that includes and what other providers in this segment are offering at a later date in this blog…
My take: Picture This Clothing has really gone down an innovative path just in terms of the idea and the feedback to date. You generally can’t make shedloads of money if you only sell one product. But since I am a fan of specialization and niches, I am confident that this Las Vegas-based business will make a success of expanding its range. That’s because there is potential for dedicated collections by kids for kids, for example. And as long as there is solid demand for design-it-yourself clothing (it’s certain to grow), such aspiring creative businesses will be able to establish a foothold in the market. Keep up the good work!