SPOTLIGHT: Cream Opens Doors for Boutique Designers and Bloggers
Cream is a mobile commerce platform that allows boutique fashion designers to sell products directly to consumers. The platform markets goods sold via fashion bloggers, where designer products shown on bloggers are shoppable in the app. Launched in South Korea in 2013 and now incorporated in New York City, it was also one of five featured startups that presented at the NYC K-Startup Showcase on Apr. 24.
Available on both Android and iOS, the platform resembles Pinterest, but includes a shopping feature. The app’s main screen shows columns of photos of bloggers wearing clothes by featured designer brands. Unlike affiliate-model shopping platforms, where product links redirect consumers to an outsider retailer or brand’s website, Cream allows users to purchase goods directly in and through the app.
In an interview with Tech for Korea, Cream CEO and founder Aaron Kim explained that the marketplace was created to provide boutique designers wider sales and marketing opportunities.
“The trend in fashion now is the move towards greater quality in up and coming designer brands,” Kim said.
According to Kim, up-and-coming designers typically focus more on product creation than marketing and often experience difficulty finding a profitable sales channel for their work. Boutique designers undergo a business lifecycle that is quite like a startup company’s. They have about three years to turn their independent labels into a profitable business. After three years, brands still struggling become much more difficult to sustain.
Cream also provides fashion bloggers in the US an opportunity to better monetize their work. Bloggers have considerable social influence within the online fashion community. Some popular bloggers have already seized brand sponsorships and share photos or videos of themselves wearing sponsored clothing in exchange for monetary payment or free samples of new collections.
However, Kim notes that outside of the top 1% of bloggers, those with a million or so followers, many have few opportunities to profit from their work. By working primarily with bloggers to market all goods sold and by offering them 5 to 15 percent in sales commissions, Cream provides greater opportunities for rising fashion bloggers.
Cream currently operates from offices in both Seoul and New York. The company has raised $100K in seed funds from 500 Startups and aims to continue expanding its operations within the U.S. A Cream for men’s fashion is one of many developments also underway.