Kickstarter Fashion: Lessons in What Consumers Are Craving

In the short four years it has been in existence, Kickstarter has gained a reputation for launching new tech crazes, empowering fans’ influence in the movie industry and online entertainment, and proving that consumers are looking for innovation in video gaming, games, and publishing. The crowdfunding site may have its share of flaws, but it is an amazing gauge from which to measure what young, empowered, and passionate consumers are looking to spend their money on. But fashion is often left out of the spotlight when it comes to discussions of Kickstarter success stories. It deserves our attention: in 2012 alone, over $6 million was pledged to 1,659 fashion projects, and the top-funded fashion start-ups on Kickstarter showcase untapped markets, consumer needs, and design innovations that could be huge successes. Here are some of the most recent successful Kickstarter fashion stories, and what each tells us about what fashion today might be missing:

 

Light Wing Trainers

$141,620 pledged; Passed goal by 944% with 2,116 backers (still 7 days to go!)

The Unbelievable Testing Laboratory lives up to its name, having taken 200,000 steps, 200+ comfort fit tests, 17 rounds of anti-slip, flexibility, and harmful substance tests, and 57 sole strengths tests following three international standards to make the Light Wing Trainers, shoes made from a paper material called Tyvek. The material was invented in the ‘60s, is virtually indestructible and used today for home insulation. Because of Tyvek, the shoes are “impossibly light.” Weighing less than half a pound, they sell the prospect of walking on air while being completely waterproof and durable, a wow factor for the Millennials who are constantly after the latest tech and styles in kicks. The UT Lab plays up the science angle of their…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “You want me to list every concert I’ve been to in the past year? Are you nuts? I've been to like 30 so far this year.”

—Male, 29, NY

Forget the ping pong tables and free food, Millennials really want a tech-smart workplace. A new study from Dell and Intel has revealed that 80% of 18-34-year-old workers prefer tech-forward perks like augmented/virtual reality than other low-tech perks at their workplace. They are so driven by digital capabilities that 42% say they wouldn’t hesitate to leave their jobs if the environment wasn’t up to par with what they consider “smart.” About three in five say they expect technology to become advanced enough to longer need face-to-face interactions in the future. (Parent Herald)

Branded content is not only a way to reach the ad-skipping generation, it’s also producing results. A recent Nielsen analysis found that branded content generates 21% more brand recall than a pre-roll ad, and is giving brands a boost in perception: affinity for branded content averages 28% in comparison to 18% for pre-roll, and purchase intent is 14% for branded content compared to 11% for pre-roll. The analysis also found that 40% of consumers say they “probably will” or “definitely will” view branded content on future TV/video episodes. (MediaPost

Victoria’s Secret is making a not-so-subtle play to attract Nike consumers to their brand with Victoria Sport, their new athleisure division. The brand has been slowly shifting its image from sexy to athletic to coincide with Millennials’ preference for “being fit [and] strong,” and buying clothes that reflect that. On the new line’s website, Victoria Secret calls out Nike with a quote from one of their Angels saying, “When I tried these, I threw out all my Nike bras." (Business Insider

“Brand love is alive and well with the Dew nation." After Mountain Dew asked fans to vote on which limited-edition flavor should become a permanent fixture in stores, Baja Blast or Pitch Black, a three-month long voting campaign inspired crazy stunts and drew in nearly 5.8 million votes. To encourage votes, the brand hosted an event inspired by ‘90s favorite GUTS Aggro Crag, and challenged fans on social media to bathe in or dye their hair the color of the beverage they wanted to win. Fans complied, and in the end Pitch Black was the ultimate winner with 50.5% of the votes. (Adweek

Millennial small business owners (SBOs) are “in it for the long haul.” A study from Wells Fargo revealed that 80% of 19-35-year-old SBOs plan to grow their business for many years and eventually pass them along to their children, and nearly 60% say that being passionate about their work is what drove them to start their business, compared to about half of older SBOs. Millennial SBOs are also more willing to put it all on the line: 67% are willing to take financial risks to get them there, while only 54% of older SBOs said the same. (Entrepreneur,The Street

“I like Beyoncé, because she's a force to be reckoned with in most aspects of her life. She shows how to be a strong female.”—Female, 26, CO

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