FaB 2019. Fashion and BeautyTech a fast growing community!
2019 is a great year for the Fashion and BeautyTech community. We are now global and grow fast.
Time to have a look at what we already learnt and what’s next for Founders and Funders raising their voices in a new emerging ecosystem.
It didn’t begin in a garage but at my home in San Francisco!
I can’t believe it’s already one year the community was founded in San Francisco.
We are now 1500+ Founders and Funders who have met worldwide in the 12 chapters, with 10000+ followers on social media.
As a mentor for amazing female founders and minority founders, I applied the rule that my friends in Silicon Valley taught me: “be exponential in your growth!”
Yes, 6 hours of mentorship per month was not enough to have an impact. I quickly realized founders would learn faster from other founders sharing their challenges and questions at every stage of their entrepreneur’s journey.
I created in April 2017 the MeetUp Group, and a few weeks later we were 400 members, entrepreneurs and investors, just in the Bay Area.
The first meeting took place at my home in Corona Heights near Castro and Noe Valley, promising my supportive husband that we would be only 30… and we were 90 with wine and cheese (the French way!) and amazing speakers. It was a lot of fun, and we decided to expand the circle of trust.
January 25th 2018, iconic and accomplished entrepreneurs were supportive of the community sharing their learnings in a meeting hosted by Next World Ever Green Fund: Tina Sharkey Founder of Brandless (congrats for growing so fast and the last funding by Soft Bank!), Melody Mc Closkey Founder of Style Seat, Brad Murray Co-Founder of Tatcha, and Brit Morin Founder of Brit + Co were with us.
We had also Poshmark fashion and influence platform and Credo Beauty retailer and tech entrepreneurs in fashion and beauty.
All of them humbled us sharing their purpose and how they built an engaged community.
They were such inspiring role models! We continued gathering every four months In San Francisco, limiting number of attendees (mostly entrepreneurs in early stage with great and diverse profiles), to keep interaction with a human touch.
I’m personally super happy to see that 70% of people participating to events in the Bay are female founders and minority Founders. Yes, diversity and inclusiveness matter for being innovative.
Among many amazing guest speakers, mixing entrepreneurs and investors:
David Lorstcher Founder of Curology (skincare) came to explain his business model empowered by data but also with the human touch (dermatologists on line). I met him nearly 3 years ago while he was having his first customers!
Nicole Quinn partner LightSpeedVentures, who is about to launch Lady Gaga’s Beauty line, kindly accepted to moderate a panel gathering fashion and beauty Founders using computer vision, AR and AI.
The 5th Fashion and BeautyTech meeting gathered the famous Diishan Imira Founder of Mayvenn, Rakesh Tondon Founder of Le Tote, in a fire side chat with Anarghaya Vardhana partner Maveron Ventures.
Diishan came back to his difficult beginning to raise funding, trying to attend all little events in the city to expand his network. with all VCs answering to him that he had a great business model and vision, but which were not part of their portfolio strategy.
He finally managed to convince some of them to come with him to visit tiny stores (belonging to Korean retailers) in Oakland that he was about to disrupt offering a better service and value for money for his African American customers. You know what happened next, after @500startups, raising funds from Andreessen Horrowitz and scaling fast, empowering hairstylists and now available with products in Direct-to-consumer.
Rakesh explained how the rented clothes are part of conscious consumption and not just value for money and also sparing place (in the Bay most 20s couple live in small condos or share their home with others). He’s not only now the biggest laundry in California in volume and successful in the US but also proud to become global, opening his services in China, with a huge market opportunity in big cities.
To people asking about his background, he says: “I’m not from the fashion industry, not a tech founder!” He has a financial profile and underlines how it’s important to be surrounded by talent in the team and with advisors. Let’s bet his latest big funding will help him to continue to scale global with a unique positioning.
Anarghaya has already invested with her Venture in emblematic deals such as The Wing, co-working place for women, and underlined the role Direct-to-consumer platforms would play in the future.
It was the perfect transition for the Fashion panel gathering Californian Founders and Funders: Sali Christensen Founder of Argent work (empowering women at work), Beth Esponnette Founder of Unspun denim (3D tech, customized jeans) and Anne Lecat LesLunes (women apparel with organic bamboo fabric from China) Henry Deshayes NewFund and ex fashion entrepreneur, moderated by Elizabeth Edwards H Ventures coming from Cincinatti.
Conscious consumption, Radical transparency, Sustainable fashion, Gender equality/ Diversity and Inclusiveness were part of the conversation.
Let’s guess that big sister companies such as All Birds, Everlane, and Rothys will help educate customers to be more aware and each individual to think of their own choices, reducing waste, caring about social impact.
And the Beauty panel showed that Tech empowers us. Most of our guest speakers live in San Francisco, but they came from all over the world, Shanghai, Paris, Dubai, Mexico: Angela Chau Founder of 5yina (skin care inspired by Chinese medicine), Michel Meyer Founder of Presence AI (booking platform, conversational agents, a Seattle @TechStar Alumnus), Carlos Olguin Founder of Logicink (UV patch and skin diagnosis), Isabelle Rabier Founder of Jolimoi Paris (clean beauty), moderated by Tanya Soman @500startups, proud to have seen on stage before her, Rakesh and Diishan, both @500startups Founders and alumni.
Our obsession with wellness – physical, mental, spiritual – fuels the movement for clean beauty. NPD group reported that sales of clean skin-care brands grew by 34 per cent, compared to 9 for all prestige skin care, and as a whole the clean beauty as whole grew by 42% in 2018. Brands that claim clean beauty exclude possibly harmful ingredients from the skincare products they make, and include only ingredients believed to be safe and beneficial for skin. But…the world of “clean beauty” is so complicated that US should pass stronger laws that give consumers the confidence to know the product has been tested and screened for safety. There is an agreement that all brands need to be more transparent and help educate customers. Customers have a responsibility too. I personally will use mainstream product if I like them and feel the work!
The Beauty of San Francisco and California…is that people come from all over the world.
That’s how we began to open new chapters in Seoul Tokyo Berlin Sao Paulo, then Paris London.
L.A and N.Y.C are two key other chapters in the US.
We are convinced that Los Angeles will be the city for Direct-to-consumer brands.
In L.A, life style founders are inspired by a great range of industries such as the entertainment, the media, and tech, and they care about their impact.L.A is also close by the mix of cultures with Asia, and let’s bet Shanghai and Singapore (for South East Asia) will play an important role in the years to come.
New-York could also inspire us. NY is the city for global brands, luxury corporations, retailers, creative and designer agencies, and media.
I’m excited to be part of the conversation March 7th, for the second Fashion and BeautyTech meeting hosted by Danielle Cohen-Shohet.
Panelists will talk about redefining luxury and how to build consumer brands. Matt Scanlan Founder of Naadam (sustainable cashmere) will come back to his entrepreneur’s journey in the last three years and fast growth.
I take the opportunity to thank all our chapter leaders, Zack, Danielle, Isabelle and Ilan, Carolina/ Alessandra and Aimee, Agustina and Carlos, Gregoire and Lulu, Claire, Chloe, Emilie, Elnura. Without them we couldn’t make the community grow. Thank you also to Mialy who has been such a great help for the site and welcome you in SF (exciting to see Founders monthly happy hours now in SF). Thank you also to all volunteers helping us.
We are about to open Dubai and Singapore. If you are interested to help us to grow the community in India, Australia, Scandinavia, Tel Aviv, Nigeria for Africa, please connect with us!
We thank you for your support and insights. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to have more information about next events and have a specific curated content for FaB Fashion and Beauty Founders 👉 http://www.beautytechcommunity.com/
Thank you to Funny Bones Studio (Paris) for the fresh new design and logo. We love it! ✨🙌
Next meetings: NY March 7th, London Paris Shanghai May June, San Francisco June 25th. Join the conversation, We are a movement!