Nordstrom has gone from being a partner to an investor in an on-demand customized shoe retailer.
The Sydney-based startup Shoes of Prey — which allows shoppers to choose the style, material, pattern and color on a range of footwear — announced yesterday (Dec. 7) that it has raised $15.5 million from an investor syndicate that includes the retail giant, reports TechCrunch. Leading the round was the Australian firm Blue Sky Capital, with Greycroft Partners and previous investor Khosla Ventures also participating.
Nordstrom is already among the specialty retailers where Shoes of Prey sells its products, in addition to the online space. TechCrunch shares that part of the latest funding round — according to Jodie Fox, cofounder of Shoes of Prey — will go towards establishing the startup's presence in Los Angeles, as well as adding new types of shoes. Fox further attests that the company has plans to eventually begin producing additional customizable women’s apparel and accessories, such as handbags and purses.
TechCrunch posits that one of the draws for Nordstrom in investing in Shoes of Prey is that it (and other companies that are moving on-demand manufacturing and customization to different areas of the fashion and luxury goods market) is that its business model is inherently more cost-effective than traditional means in the fashion industry.
“If you think about it," the outlet quotes Fox as saying, "designers are having to make minimum-order quantities of thousands of product and ship them all over the world and hope that people want to buy them."
In a statement shared by TechCrunch, Elaine Stead, investment director of Blue Sky Venture Capital, said of Shoes of Prey — which makes its shoes at its own manufacturing facility in China: "You can look at [the company] as either a logistics and manufacturing business that has solved a fashion problem or a fashion company that has solved a logistics and manufacturing problem. Either way, both markets are ripe for disruption."