How does a small underwear brand celebrate after raising $1.1-million — nearly 40 times its goal — on Kickstarter for its latest product launch?
For Knix Wear, the innovative Canadian indie label that smashed the crowdfunding record for fashion products, the next item of business is to hold a party. A bra party.
Not for themselves, but for about 25 customers who will visit the Toronto company this evening to see and test its new convertible Evolution bra, which it calls “the most comfortable, versatile and technologically advanced bra” on the market today.
Tonight’s bra party is one of several fit consultations the company has held to measure customers, test prototypes and add to its database of size measurements as the new bra goes into production.
On Saturday, Knix Wear wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell the Evolution bra, raising $1,105,177 from more than 13,600 supporters who will be the first to get their hands on the high-tech fashion hybrid.
“We are in complete shock and awe about the success of the product,” CEO Joanna Griffiths told Lingerie Talk. “We would never bring something to market if we didn’t believe that it was a home run success, but to have that validation take place so quickly has been simply amazing.”
The Evolution bra (above) is only the second fashion project ever to raise more than $1-million through crowdfunding platforms. It beat the previous record of $1,053,830 raised by U.S. clothing startup Flint and Tinder for its ’10-Year Hoodie’.
“I’m shocked it’s taken so long for someone to beat our record,” Jake Bronstein, founder of Flint and Tinder, said in an e-mail to Lingerie Talk. “Kickstarter isn’t really a competition, but it’s always good when the bar is raised as it gives others something to shoot for.”
Bronstein, whose 2013 hoodie campaign was widely imitated by other startups hoping to boost their chances with crowdfunding, said Knix Wear‘s achievement will likewise inspire others.
“What makes (Kickstarter) such a useful platform, though, is that even if and when the first $1-billion project comes along, while it likely inspires others, it doesn’t make it any more difficult for someone to reach a lower goal if that’s what’s required to get their dream off the ground,” he said. “That such a path exists for people to pursue their creative endeavors is amazing.”
Bronstein wasn’t previously aware of the Knix Wear campaign but called it “a pretty rad-looking bra.”
“If I’d seen it earlier, I probably would have backed the project for my wife,” he said.
The Evolution is a hybrid performance bra with convertible straps and underbust support that doesn’t depend on stiff wires. It boasts a high-performance fabric blend that offers 4-way stretch and anti-microbial, moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties. And it’s reversible.
The runaway success of its launch has allowed the company to expand size and colour offerings and add a lined version to the collection.
Knix Wear, which debuted in early 2013 with a collection of incontinence panties, was hoping to raise $30,000 when it launched its latest crowdfunding appeal on Sept. 14. It passed that goal within 24 hours.
Both the Evolution bra and its fundraising campaign have the potential to be real game-changers in an industry dominated by foreign Goliaths and where independents struggle for market share.
Knix Wear sidestepped conventional product development and marketing channels, testing the Evolution bra on customer-volunteers and tapping into the massive power of social media to generate word-of-mouth endorsements.
Its success will likely trigger a wave of imitators in both areas, but Griffiths said the Evolution campaign produced “other cool insights and product ideas” that will show up in future Knix Wear offerings.
Early adopters who supported Knix Wear‘s Kickstarter campaign will get their bras in December, and about 20 specialty stores that pre-ordered the bra will have them in stock before the holidays.
The general public will have to wait until February, when the Evolution bra ($65) will be shipped to Knix Wear‘s retail partners. In the meantime, the bra can still be pre-ordered through an Indiegogo ‘In Demand’ campaign the company will set up to handle orders before the product reaches the market (check their website for details).
As for Knix Wear‘s jubilant 10-member team, they celebrated the Kickstarter milestone on Friday in a traditional way — with champagne. A team celebration event is also being planned.