Nineteenth Amendment has created a platform for emerging fashion where independent designers create and sell their works while at the same time giving their online users the opportunity to pre-order clothing at a pre-purchase price. We’ve introduced our readers to Nineteenth Amendment before when they announced their partnership with Macy’s. This time we caught up with Gemma and Amanda Curtis and Gemma Sole, Nineteenth Amendment’s co-founders, who told us more about their company.
Describe Nineteenth Amendment.
Nineteenth Amendment is the first on-demand marketplace for discovering new fashion from around the world. We give shoppers access to fashion not available anywhere else, made just-in-time, and at a major discount. All orders are manufactured on demand with partner manufacturing facilities across the US and Puerto Rico. Our proprietary technology makes this business model possible. Nineteenth Amendment is ethical, sustainable, efficient, and all-around unique fashion.
What was your inspiration behind starting Nineteenth Amendment?
Amanda: I love fashion–it’s a part of me. I grew up in the industry. I was in the factory and showroom, and on the runway before I learned to speak. And I saw, over the years, that things weren’t working. The emergence of fast fashion, which brought efficiencies to the traditional manufacturing model, ended up hurting independent designers.
Having trained as a designer at Parsons, I started my own career behind the scenes at New York and London fashion weeks, and I loved it until I saw more and more emerging brands ultimately fail as outsourcing and fast fashion slowly began to destroy the industry I loved.
So, Gemma and I started Nineteenth Amendment to create a better place for fashion, a place where the next big names in fashion can more easily bring their designs to market, and where tastemakers can discover cutting-edge fashions before they go mainstream. We’re making fashion as smart and sustainable as possible for everyone who loves it as much as we do.
Ultimately, we bring a new voice to the fashion industry: a voice of reason that tells us there is a way to get beautiful, couture-quality designs in the hands of consumers at accessible prices. This is made possible through our innovative technology that utilizes local manufacturing and distribution.
Tell us about your recent news regarding the Parallel 18 Accelerator.
Gemma: We’re excited to announce that Nineteenth Amendment is one of 38 companies selected from over 400 startups globally to participate in the Parallel18 program. Through this program, we received a grant from the Puerto Rican government to establish fashion manufacturing on the island and produce a portion of the garments shoppers purchase on NineteenthAmendment.com in Puerto Rico, thus further extending our base of American manufacturers. Puerto Rico has a rich tradition of cut-and-sew manufacturing and handwork. During the next five months, we will be working with local Puerto Rican partners to begin cut-and- sew manufacturing on the island. Now shoppers can have a direct positive impact on job creation in Puerto Rico.
What value does Nineteenth Amendment have that makes it stand out against other startups in the space?
In creating an entire fashion ecosystem we have created a business model that naturally has multiple revenue streams. Diverse revenue streams protects us from the natural fluctuations of retail and the market. Our model is very efficient – we don’t carry inventory and only garments that are pre sold are produced. We’re going after a big idea and market but we’re doing it in a very scrappy and efficient way that equips us to survive just about anything.
What has been the hardest obstacle for you in starting Nineteenth Amendment? What has been your favorite part?
Gemma: The hardest part has been the funding environment right now and explaining the importance of this model to people who don’t understand fashion production or retail. My favorite part is helping all these amazing creative people and businesses grow!
What can we expect from Nineteenth Amendment in the future?
Amanda: Continuous achievements in improving the retail business model and the fashion industry as a whole.
Gemma: Big things in the works… Exciting new advisors and opportunities that we will be announcing shortly!
Do you have any advice to entrepreneurs starting a new fashion tech company?
Amanda: Think differently. The fashion industry hasn’t changed much over the past 100 years, which makes it the wild west of the tech world. There’s a lot of potential to use technology to be creative in rethinking retail. I wish someone had told me just how creative business really can be.
Gemma: Always ask. No matter how crazy. Amanda taught me that. Take time to document everything. Relax and enjoy the ride, there will be up and downs and just be conscious when you are in those valleys that their are precious peaks coming!
Find out more about Nineteenth Amendment by checking out their website here and watching the video below. [Editor’s note: We should also mention, Nineteenth Amendment’s co-founders are featured as part of the New York Fashion Tech Lab in Issue 03 of Third Wave Magazine!]
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