The latest fashion? Digital clothes


November 25, 2019

The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
FUNDRISE

Happy Monday, people… and welcome to Turkey Week. That’s right, Turkey Week. If people celebrate their birth month, why can’t we celebrate Turkey Week? Anway, it’s going to be a busy few days. Today:

  • Apparently, digital clothes are now cool
  • There’s new data about the value of school
  • Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie empire is starting to unspool

Start the week off on a high note.

The Hustle Daily Email

Digital clothes are fashion’s freaky new frontier

A company called Carlings offers a pair of high-fashion jeans for $22.04. Seems like a good deal, right?

But there’s a catch: The jeans are digital. (To be clear, that means they literally don’t exist in real life.) 

So, what’s going on here? 

Once sold, the company’s digital clothing is applied to photos submitted by users — which are then doctored to include the new clothing. 

Here’s how it works, according to the company’s website

  1. Take a picture of yourself; 
  2. Choose a product from webshop; 
  3. Upload your picture;
  4. 3D tailor adjusts your picture to feature your new purchase; 
  5. Share on social. 

And voila — an Instagram-worthy photo

Then, somehow, it gets even weirder

The company — which, by the way, is a real clothing company based in Scandinavia — is positioning its “digital collection” as an environmentally responsible alternative to… real clothes? 

A promo video on the digital collection’s page says: “Every second, the world wastes a garbage truck full of clothes.” Then, it says: “This is the digital clothing collection, with zero impact on the environment.” 

Carlings seems to have launched its digital collection, at least in part, as a PR stunt to highlight the company’s focus on sustainability.

But other companies are also selling digital clothes

Another startup called The Fabricant has created a “digital denim” line in partnership with the denim giant Soorty.

Both Carlings and The Fabricant have also struck partnerships with physical retailers. Carlings and The Fabricant both participated in a London pop-up event called Hot Second that allowed customers to “try on” clothes with the help of a “digital tailor” and a specially designed “magic mirror.”

A few months ago, a blockchain-based dress made by The Fabricant sold for $9.5k.

And, after all, digital influencers like Lil Miquela and Janky and Guggimon are going to get high-fashion wardrobes somewhere… 

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Newly released tuition and salary data reveals just how much (or how little) your top-dollar education is worth

The Education Department just published numbers on student debts vs. starting salaries for recent US graduates, broken down by degree and program. Some of the insights may have you shaking your highly educated fists at the tuition gods.

Many grads land with a pocket full o’ debt 

And those loans are outweighing starting salaries — sometimes by more than 2X. Ouch.

STEM grads from top B.A. programs are sitting the prettiest… but Ivy doesn’t mean everything. Shoutout to Bismarck State biz school grads, whose $100.5k starting salaries beat out many top dawgs.

Apparently, major/concentration does matter. For example, master’s grads coming out of USC’s highly ranked drama/arts program face a brutal $100k-to-$30k debt-to-income ratio. *Theater majors across the nation gasp, swoon, throw drinks in partners’ faces.*

To be fair, we don’t yet have data from other years, and many career payoffs take time to ramp up (what’s up, doc). Also, these numbers don’t account for geographic cost of living.  

Regardless, this long-overdue reporting could help students make better choices

It should also encourage colleges to improve their ROI.

Even at four-year public colleges, in-state students face annual price tags, counting room and board, of over $20k. When you multiply that by four years and then try to tackle it with a ~40k salary… it makes you wonder whether it was worth it.

More symmetric info within the education market will hopefully stir up some healthy supply-side competition. It also may lessen the weight given to elite degrees, and erode the stigma of opting for vocational training… or playing hooky altogether.

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Small business of the week: Mindful mom brings pregnancy  subscription box to life

When Christine Deehring was pregnant with her first child, Ainsley, she wanted to protect her from day 0. 

She quickly found herself overwhelmed trying to navigate chemicals like parabens, phthalates, or retinoids in everyday products. But as she looked for pre-screened products tailored to expectant mothers, she couldn’t find the right solution.

Recognizing she shared this problem with other expecting moms, Deehring founded Bump Boxes. The company offers a monthly subscription service providing 6-8 products that are safe for pregnant women, from belly oils to teas. Boxes can also be purchased as gifts.

In 4 years, Bump Boxes has grown to $20m in annually recurring revenue, serving hundreds of thousands of customers. 

The company typically attracts mothers early in their pregnancy and keeps them through the baby’s 3rd birthday. That’s 45 months of potential revenue, with an average price of $35/month. 

Deehring credits her company’s success to “always putting mom first.” The company calls every mother who signs up, attempting to build a relationship during an influential time in the mother’s life.

Deehring’s advice to first-time founders? “Don’t be romantic about how you make your money — just pick up the phone and start talking to customers. The goal isn’t to out-innovate your competitors, it’s to out-sell them.” 

  • Founders: Christine and Leland Deehring
  • Employees: 50
  • Years in business: 4
  • Cost to launch: $150k
  • Funding methods: Personal savings and angel funding
  • 1st-year revenue: $24k
  • Current annual revenue: $20m

Want your story featured? Fill out our Small Business survey. See anonymized financials of 500+ companies by subscribing to Trends.

Victoria’s Secret cancels its fashion show, in bid to remain culturally relevant

The Victoria’s Secret fashion show — known for sparkly lingerie, angel wings, and unrealistic portrayals of the female body — just got the ax. 

This is on the high heels of steadily declining sales from the biz that brought you your first push-up bra. Although Victoria’s Secret is still the biggest lingerie brand in the US with 24% market share, that’s down from about 32% in 2013. With sales off 6% this year, the company recently laid off 15% of its employees.

On a quarterly earnings call last week, CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer suggested the brand may be trying to “evolve” its marketing — maybe in an attempt to resonate with their actual users (ahem… women).

Who’s this fantasy for, anyway?

Former Vickie’s marketing chief, Ed Razek, came under fire last year for telling Vogue he doesn’t think trans people should be in the fashion show “because the show is a fantasy” and that no one has any interest in a TV special for plus sizes. 

Yet lingerie brands that market to all shapes and sizes, like ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, are gaining market share. 

VS feels anachronistic in the #MeToo era…

… especially given CEO Les Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein managed Wexner’s money and used his position to pose as a VS talent scout and assault a prospective model. In spite of this, Wexner didn’t cut ties with Epstein until more than a decade after the assault. 

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