Fashion Crowdfunding – The Challenges

Over the last year we’ve seen hundreds of applications from eager independent fashion designers who want to take their brand to the next level, with a little help from crowdfunding. So,what is crowdfunding? Simply put, today, crowdfunding means raising money from different individuals through an online portal.

There are three types of crowdfunding: donation based crowdfunding, when the project owner gets “donations” for his or her cause; reward based crowdfunding, when the project owner provides different rewards to backers for their monetary support; and there is equity based crowdfunding, when the project owner gives away equity in return for money.

Luevo’s crowdfunding platform is product-based,  very similar to the reward based crowdfunding model. On our platform, fashion designers use their product as a reward, so those interested in supporting a  brand they can do it by pre-purchasing a product. It is the basis of pretail and the future of fashion.

With so many choices and success stories, crowdfunding is an easy way of raising money, right? Wrong. Crowdfunding like any other type of fund raising has its challenges. More so, studies show that fashion based projects have a lower than average success rate (for example, on Kickstarter – the largest crowdfunding platform the average success rate is about 40%, however fashion projects have  success rate of approximately 25%)


I feel it is my duty to give you some insights into the challenges of creating a successful fashion crowdfunding campaign, and in a future article I’ll go over best practices and hacks you can use as a fashion project owner.

1. Time.

Project owners underestimate the amount of time they need to put into building a successful campaign. I sometimes get the very eager fashion designer asking me “I want to use your platform, how soon can I login and use it?” Well, like with any other platform, designers can use our system any time. However, my answer always includes a reminder that they should spend at least 2 months preparing for the campaign.

And this is the first challenge: taking time away from your day-to-day business in order to plan, create and monitor your crowdfunding campaign. And once the campaign is over, you are not done yet! Hopefully you’ve been successful and now it’s time to prepare those rewards for your backers.

2. Money.

Funny enough, you need money to make more money. You will need money for marketing, PR, and even for creating the rewards, packaging and shipping. Most often, packaging seems to be an overlooked expense that you will encounter. You will also need to set aside a budget for the campaign itself: you will need good photography (especially if  you are using your products as rewards), a video and you even might need help from a copy writer. All of these cost money.

3. Rewards

Creating the actual rewards can be a challenge, especially for fashion designers. The most successful campaigns on Kickstarter are those that have”affordable” reward levels, like gaming projects. Gaming project owners can ask for small amounts in return for early access to the game or other features. This is easily achievable for digital projects but not as much for physical product companies, like fashion brands.

So the challenge to overcome here is to find the right suppliers and manufacturers, lower your production costs, and give discounts to your initial buyers in a crowdfunding campaigns.

I know this last point will not sit well with most designers. But you have to think of a crowdfunding campaign like any other marketing campaign. The highest cost to pay is to gain a new customer, but once you do gain them, your goal is to sell them again, and again (cheaper to retain than acquire customers).

With a crowdfunding campaign, you not only gain new customers, but you gain PR, advocacy, word of mouth marketing and support and so much more. You will gain brand ambassadors that will advocate for you and support you in your venture’s future. So yes, while there are challenges, the rewards are much greater, and  a crowdfunding campaign should be seen as only a part of your ongoing branding and marketing efforts.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our crowdfunding e-book, 77 pages full of templates, workbooks and step by step instructions on how to build a successful crowdfunding campaign on any platform.

This article was written by our co-founder Ana Caracaleanu.

Spreading the love with EVOLI’s Jahi Fitzgerald

When you ask emerging fashion designers about the start of their careers, their stories are very similar.  They range from getting an early start during youth to being discovered after pursuing a fashion design education.  During this interview, I want to share a different story.   I want to introduce to Jahi’ Fitzgerald of the label of Evoli by Jahi’.   His story includes its share of accomplishments, setbacks and inspiration from his family.  By the end of this piece I hope emerging designers and readers get inspired to continue to pursue their dreams despite being faced with potential obstacles.evoli

Me: Let’s begin by letting readers know a little more about your fashion brand.

Jahi Fitzgerald: EVOLI, the brand, is about elegance, class, style and longevity. It’s about how a woman expresses herself. My desire is to present women with timeless pieces that can be worn for years to come. EVOLI, the name is about vision, dreams, hopes and desires. It’s about love, family and my desire to create a legacy for my family. EVOLI is ILOVE spelled backwards and it encompasses the initials of my 4 sisters and my mom. The placement of each initial has a significant meaning as well:

E – Evelyn

V – Vivian

O – Olivia

L – Lillie (mom)

I – Ida

EVOLI by Jahi'5

EVOLI is not just a one-dimensional brand! The meaning and style of EVOLI is multifaceted and I intend to share it with the world.

Me: What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

Jahi Fitzgerald: I’ve always loved fashion. I can remember as a little boy back in my neighborhood, watching my sisters get dressed and how they would pass each other different garments to try on with other garments. They would try new things and come up with something that none of their friends would be wearing. I could honestly create collections from the things I saw on my own block. Everybody had a sense of style back in that neighborhood.

Designing is like breathing to me…literally and figuratively.

Me: Does EVOLI have a signature look, specific style or etc.?

Jahi Fitzgerald: I’ve thought about that myself. I would say, I’m big on details, buttons, sleeves and linings. My favorite eras are the 1930’s and 1940’s. I used to jokingly say that I was alive during those times.

Me: You used crowd funding to finance your upcoming Spring collection. What made you decide to pursue this method?
Jahi Fitzgerald: I wrestled with the crowd-funding idea for 3 years. I couldn’t decide which group to go with or what I would ask for. It felt weird to ask for money. Although, I had no investors and no major money to invest myself, something had to be done. I didn’t want to sit out another season without being involved. I had 3 friends who talked me into going this route and they pushed me to ask for the amounts that I did. As I said before, designing is like “breathing” for me. I finally decided to do it, and I thought of how I could give back. On the Go Fund Me campaign, I offer gifts back to all those who donate, but what I’ve also done is created some t-shirts that will be for sale soon, which will benefit two separate charitable organizations.

Me: Evoli has showcased at several fashion weeks. You also designed a 60th birthday gown for singer Chaka Khan. What would you say is your favorite moment & why?

Jahi Fitzgerald: I’ve showcased at NY Fashion Week (EMERGE Fashion Show), Presidential Inaugural Fashion Show in DC and in Connecticut with my first fashion show. I’ve also been featured on ABC Ch8 – CT Style. I have to say, the Chaka Khan opportunity was awesome. I think I was in another body when I did that. I still think about that night. Chaka Khan is an amazing person and was the first celebrated person I’ve had the pleasure of dressing. The favorite moment for me was when a coworker looked across my desk and saw one of my sketches – she wrote a check based on a sketch. She inspired me to do something I would never have imagined – “live my dream”!

Me: What advice would give to a fellow emerging designer from your experience so far?
Jahi Fitzgerald: I’m still learning myself and not sure how much I can influence anyone. I’d say, if designing is what’s in your heart of hearts, by all means keep pushing. Keep dreaming.

Lastly, how can people find out more about Evoli?
Jahi Fitzgerald: You can find EVOLI online  and on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest,

Jahi Fitzgerald
Make sure to follow Evoli on the links above. Also, you can find a link to his GoFundMe here.

This article was written by our guest blogger Tamarah Brown. You can follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.