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: “I love the Amazon app because I can look up products that I want to buy and store them very easily. I also can scan barcodes while I'm in the store to check for the best price and if I want it, I can click one button to purchase it online instead of paying more for it in a store.” – Female, 29, FL

Millennials might be taking over the office, but their ink is still not totally welcome. According to Pew Research, 40% of Millennials have at least one tattoo, and 70% of the tattooed members of the generation say they hide them from their boss. A recent university survey found that 86% of students with visible tattoos believe they will have a harder time finding a job after graduation. This modern workplace woe could be one of the reasons behind the 46% increase in tattoo removal among young consumers in the last few years. (Time)

Just last month, a report that Walmart “indexes higher” amongst Millennials than with their parents caused some surprise—but now there’s another report here to tell you that Millennials might shop at Walmart, but they don’t LOVE Walmart. The retailer’s score in a metric of customer loyalty and satisfaction among younger shoppers is actually below average, and competitor Target outpaced them in 24 out of 25 scored categories. Amazon’s overall score was over 40% higher than Walmart’s. (Forbes)

The swift redefinition of fame includes a slew of YouTube creatives who have struck gold on the platform, and made millions with their vlogging careers. YouTube’s 5 biggest stars “have more subscribers than the population of Mexico” and some are “making as much money as Hollywood’s biggest stars." So how did they do it? Many were discovered by bigger brands and got some serious corporate backing to help their rise to the top. (Washington Post)

Young consumers have been credited with fueling a gig and sharing economy “revolution”—but proof of it is a little trickier to find. The number of self-employed Americans has actually declined in the past ten years, and the number of those who hold multiple jobs is also on the decline. “Hard evidence” for the impact of the gig economy isn’t clear, but there is also not much research looking specifically at Millennials’ participation. (WSJ)

We’ve seen several startup brands earn Millennials’ attention with video campaigns that have gone viral. (Dollar Shave Club anyone?) E-commerce site Chubbies is hoping for a viral hit of their own to build their young male audience, and the brand is finding their quirky videos are getting more engagement on Facebook than YouTube. One video posted last month has earned 900,000 views, 3,600 likes and nearly 1,000 shares on the platform. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Airbnb because I like to travel on a budget.” –Female, 22, NY

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