MOVE OVER, fast fashion, this brand is breaking all the RULES – including having no inventory – and making serious COIN.
Most of us are all too familiar with the online shopping cycle – it’s 11pm and you’re trawling through your 24th page of near-identical but not quite right dresses. With a cart full of items you know you’ll never wear (and probably can’t afford), you eventually close the window, dissatisfied and no closer to finding the perfect weekend outfit.
This is the exact scenario that Nyree Corby, CEO of fashion label Fame and Partners, found herself in time and time again. Back in 2013 she was employed at a venture capital firm in Sydney and needed to find affordable but wellmade dresses she could wear to work events, without totally forgoing her personal style.
It was shortly after one of these latenight shopping failures that the idea for Fame and Partners appeared – a made-toorder, inventory-free clothing brand.
In a similar vein to e-tailer Shoes of Prey, Fame and Partners offers classic wardrobe staples and trend-based items (think amazing cocktail dresses and those wide-legged pants you’ve seen all over Instagram), but also lets shoppers customise the fit, colour and finish of everything before they buy it. Thus giving women tailored, one-of-a-kind looks for high-street prices.
It’s almost the polar opposite business model to fast-fashion retailers, which thrive on pumping out massive numbers of runway-inspired, trend-based pieces to be worn once and discarded. In fact, Nyree calls Fame and Partners the “anti-fast-fashion” brand.
Four years on and it continues to go from strength to strength. What started off as a shop for cocktail dresses and evening wear now offers a complete range of fully customisable clothing, from maxi dresses and casual separates to their latest addition: stylish but affordable wedding dresses.
“When women shop, we have a picture in our heads of what we want, and it’s almost impossible to find something that lives up to expectations. That’s the exact case I was trying to address,” says Nyree during her latest trip back to Sydney. “The vision was to create the world’s first made-to-order personalised fashion label, underpinned by the world’s first inventory-less manufacturing and retail model.”
After securing close to AU$10 million in series A funding at the start of last year, Nyree has since relocated the business to Los Angeles and divides her time between Sydney and California, where the brand is winning over the US market.
She launched her first company at 21 – a digital services business called Topia that she scaled to AU$4 million in revenue – right before the financial crisis hit. Losing two of her main clients in one go, she was forced to file for voluntary administration, and spent the next five years working in digital marketing and venture capital firms, helping other start-ups achieve their dreams.
The whole time, Nyree was keeping her eye out for her next business opportunity and, in 2013, with major retailers such as American Apparel and Gap closing stores across the globe, it was the fashion industry that appeared ripe for reinvention.
“The big headline that I picked up on was that 50 per cent of womenswear was being cleared at markdown,” she explains. “That was just crazy to me. I knew it had to be creating anxiety and pain points in the consumer shopping experience, but I also couldn’t understand how brands could be making money off this model.”
Further investigation revealed that an additional 20 per cent of womenswear was also being sold in secondary markets or ending up in landfill – which makes it unsurprising that, last year, fashion emerged as the second most polluting industry on the planet, right after oil. >
The VISION was to create the world’s FIRST madeto-order PERSONALISED FASHION label.