Fashion Startup NewIWorld Transforms Paper Ordering into Digital Profits

As a fashion retailer purchasing from manufacturers at tradeshows, Jeremy Kierig had to order the old fashioned way, with a pen, paper, and staff to manually enter the orders weeks after the show was over.

Sound like an old 1980’s movie?  Actually that paper-based system still exists today, and Kierig’s Chico, California team at NewIWorld have decided to bring this industry into the 21st century of iPhones, iPads, and digital ordering. Here’s a short video I shot upon visiting them (for disclosure, I’m helping them as a fan, part-time advisor and fellow entrepreneur who loves learning from others pivoting towards the new mobile world):

Now as a long time Chico, California resident, and entrepreneur who built a powerful agency in this small, Northern California town, I appreciate the pivot that Jeremy and his co-founders – Chris Funes and Jeff Brose – are creating. A pivot is when a business shifts its model, adapting to what the market offers.

A pivot for the fashion industry

NewIWorld Builds the Tool With the Target Customer In Mind

This current fashion retailer and software developer is building a tool that  the fashion industry worldwide can use to make the market more efficient, save time, and save money from the old paper based ordering system.  And the pivot is more than just his business, it is part of a shift in an industry that is cutting edge in defining what we all wear, but is stuck back in the day in its business practices.

Most businesses I know, even those born and raised on the Internet, are waiting for folks to prove the mobile model. The fashion industry is very private and tight lipped;  even on Twitter they are broadcasting deals instead of engaging the audience. It takes a small company like NewIWorld to say, can we do something besides paper based ordering in this day and age?

Fashion retailers like Kierig, who owns several stores, are always looking for the next hottest thing and have to make their plans well in advance. Managing inventory of a fashion store is tough enough, yet when you have to physically write down the order, then pay someone to manually enter it, the problem is not only annoying, it’s pretty crazy in his new digital world we all live in.

Why hasn’t this happened already?

The uber secretive world of fashion in many ways is a dinosaur when it comes to the actual process of buying and selling clothing. Maybe it’s fear of being found out, of having designs stolen, or maybe it is simply the fact that, like travel and investments and real estate, this is the time that the fashion industry finally transforms from its 20th century ways.

Hmm..combine a smart database, catalogs that can be easily updated, and several mobile application secrets Brose shared with me learned from both manufacturers and retailers, and you have a recipe for something so simple AND so powerful.   It’s the pivot in action, driven as a solution to a real problem from within the fashion industry.

You’d think this kind of innovation would be limited to fashion capitals like Paris, New York, and LA, yet sometimes it takes a small business with a big vision to execute.  Combine a strong pool of programming talent in Chico from the university – known to many as a party school but home to a strong computer science program that has been sending talent to Silicon Valley since the 1980’s – and you have the formula for a startup with technical muscle and the agility that comes from a privately funded project.

Instead of pitching the dream to investors, this team has become the investors and is building business and relationships within the fashion market, because the idea makes so much sense.

Founder Jeff Brose manages the technical development and product management, while co-founder Chris Funes provides the direction and zeal of a serial entrepreneur. After sitting down with Chris for a few minutes,  his experience in managing 7 figure construction projects as a contractor, and his wealth of enterpreneurial experience, is not something common for someone in his 20’s. But that’s the world we live in, where a new generation raised with the technology sees opportunity and acts on it.

In Silicon Valley They Build in Garages,

This Chico, CA Startup Is Building in the Basement of a Fashion Retail Store

In the basement of this fashion store, the NewIWorld team are brewing up a digital solution for the fashion industry. With their upcoming launch into the iPhone, fashion tradeshows will transform from hand written orders to immediate transactions, ensuring the retailers get the products they want and helping manufacturers streamline the ordering process.

The thing I love about entrepreneurs is they see a problem and provide a solution, because if you don’t provide a solution to a market, you are not relevant. Now one fashion retailer is pivoting his business, and in turn pivoting an industry to change its ways, make it easier for the buyers and sellers to work together, and using the new media technology to shift the way the game is played.

Even better, this can easily go beyond the tradeshows; once you see their product on an iPad, sorting through the variations of size, color, and other variables, my mind races with possible uses. Imagine how this tool, eventually combining with locationcasting, could transform another tradeshow into opportunities to connect, find related deals, and close it on the spot.

Entrepreneurs shift markets. Entrepreneurs pivot. Check out and witness a pivot in action, B2B from the ground up…literally from the basement!

Posted on April 26th, by Declan Dunn in Digital Marketing - Brevenue, Pivot and Profit.