Bow & Drape, a site that offers dresses, sweaters and other clothing items that be customized to suit shoppers’ color and silhouette preferences, announced Thursday that it has raised $1.2 million in funding from VegasTechFund (Zappos.com founder Tony Hseish’s fund), Great Oaks Venture Capital, Triple Point Capital and Angel Hub to help it expand its offerings.
This is Bow & Drape’s first formal round of funding. The company, which recently relocated from Boston to New York, launched two years ago after raising a little more than $30,000 on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. It used the money to create a line of classic cocktail dresses with names like “Diane” (a wrap-style dress) and the “Jackie Twirl” (a sheath-style dress). Shoppers could take these dress shapes and modify them to suit their preferences — taking the sheath dress and adding elbow-length sleeves, for example, or beaded trim on the waistline or hem.
Lately, the company has been moving away from those classic dress offerings into what founder Aubrie Pagano calls “unique statement pieces”: Items like the Billie short sleeve sweatshirt, pictured above, which allows shoppers to emblazon with custom lettering (in sequins, no less) anywhere on the front, for $78.
Pagano says the company is expanding its offerings to understand what kinds of products women want to customize. “It’s an unproven market,” she explains, adding that she has a hunch that it’s statement pieces — and not wardrobe basics — that will be what shoppers come to Bow & Drape for. “We expect women to come to us for ultimate statement piece where they can show their personal style to the nth degree because they can write on it and uniquely customize it,” she says.
Pagano declined to offer specifics on the Bow & Drape’s sales to date, noting only that revenue has grown 300 percent over the past two years. Impressively, only 6 percent of the goods Bow & Drape has sold to date have been returned, which Pagano attributes to the quality of its goods.
Beyond clothing, Bow & Drape also plans to get into accessories this year, including a 3D-printed clutch, and to embark on collaborations. Stay tuned.