Honyalab, a relatively new small startup based in Nagano prefecture located in southwest of Japan, launched a new crowdfunding web platform for local designers in September. The service, INVITATIONS, is one of the new trends in Japan where fashion meets tech.
The new crowdfunding service seeks to connect the fashion enthusiasts and local indie designers. By connecting these two groups, the platform will help designers to promote themselves efficiently on the web as well as enable potential customers to support their favorite brands proactively. The service also promotes off-site events where designers can reach out to their potential customers in person, communicate directly and receive feedbacks.
The current functions seem to be basically simple. Honyalab matches designers and consumers. Users can search for brands that match their interests and become sponsors. An approach that will sound familiar for those in the U.S. now used to crowd funding services such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and so on. In return, users will receive numerous promotional services such as VIP invitations for events, fairs, exhibitions, coupons etc. One unique feature includes the designer brands’ differentiating promotions based on the total amount the users fund the business, which sounds pretty similar to shareholder benefit plans frequently used in publicly traded companies. Nevertheless, the concept should be new and unique enough for this niche industry.
Independent local fashion designers will utilize the platform to promote their brands effectively as well as increase their fan base, which subsequently may lead to revenue increase. The service currently handles 10 local independent brands and is expected to increase going forward as the service gains its recognition and popularity in Japan. In addition, designers will be able to connect with fellow designers through off-site events created by honyalab and the service, which should help designers stay connected with their peers. Crowdfunding is one of the new services that are being installed within various verticals in Japan. Their off-site launch event was co-sponsored by Snapette.
The service seems to have much room for improvement including enriching user-designer interactivity, enhancing individual designers’ flavors and originality etc. Nevertheless, this is one significant trend in Japan where we see technologies helping small business owners to reach out to potential customers and vice versa.