ShopRagHouse was started by former roommates at Harvard Law School, Joana Florez and Bridgette Hylton. The friends left legal practice to launch ShopRagHouse.com: a fashion tech startup that allows designers the opportunity to put their own designs in front of prospective buyers who then vote on which designs make it to production.
Since launching their site in beta, Joana and Bridgette have amassed a wealth of knowledge about social media, marketing, lean startup principles, and coding. You can follow their journey on Twitter at @TheRagHouse.
Third Wave Fashion had the chance to speak with Joana and Bridette and ask them a few questions of our own.
TWF: What inspired you to start ShopRagHouse?
SRH: It was in the throes of launching our own fashion line, taking a huge detour from legal practice, that the concept for ShopRagHouse was born. We saw first hand how difficult the process for launching a line was and we knew that there were people out there, like us, facing these same obstacles so we created a space to facilitate the process from mere fashion ideas to actual garments. How could we not be excited about ShopRagHouse – it’s at the intersection of all the things we love best: fashion, social media, and technology.
For those new to ShopRagHouse, it’s a fashion community that allows members to submit their designs and have them voted on by other members for a chance to have them produced, free of charge, and sold on the site for 20% of the profits.
We are so excited to be reaching out to fashion enthusiasts everywhere and asking them to show us their style by submitting a design to be featured in our launch collection.
TWF: What value does ShopRagHouse have that makes it stand out against other fashion tech companies?
SRH: We want people to feel empowered by their creativity. What fashion enthusiast hasn’t dreamed of designing their own clothes? We really want to make that a possibility. Not everyone has the time, connections, and financial resources to do that and we think fashion misses out on a lot of really fantastic new ideas because it isn’t easy to bring new ideas to the market.
ShopRagHouse has the dual purpose of serving as a jumping board for emerging designers and providing a creative outlet for fashion enthusiasts who want to try their hand at designing for the first time. We really believe that anyone can be a designer – even two former lawyers with a penchant for dramatic colors and prints and high fashion at cutthroat prices and no former design skills whatsoever.
TWF: What has been the hardest obstacle for you in the process of building the company? What has been your favorite part?
SRH: While everyone we have introduced ShopRagHouse to has been genuinely excited about the model, becoming members, and participating in this exciting fashion experiment, the hardest obstacle we faced has been finding ways to continue to drive traffic to our site. We’re trying to spread the word about ShopRagHouse on Twitter, Facebook, and by reaching out to fashion bloggers. We’re working hard to perfect our pitch in order to continue to attract new members and bloggers who are excited enough abut the idea to help spread the word.
The best part about working on ShopRagHouse has been getting the opportunity to interact with people that are as excited about fashion design as we are. From fashion bloggers to everyday enthusiasts, people love the idea of trying their hand at designing and we love facilitating that process.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Image via ShopRagHouse.