Alma & Bramble fashions a new online marketplace for independent designers

28 June 2017

Startup Alma & Bramble fashions a new online marketplace for independent designers

Fashion-savvy consumers will soon have a new online marketplace where they can connect with emerging designers and makers thanks to Brisbane creative tech startup Alma & Bramble.

If you’ve ever wanted to connect with a dressmaker to have something made (without the hefty price tag) or if you just love finding unique and independent labels, you’re in luck.

Alma & Bramble, a creative tech startup based at QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, supports emerging fashion designers with a focus on womenswear to provide unique, limited edition pieces that customers don’t have access to in one place.

The plan is to build a community platform to connect everyone in the industry – from designers and pattern makers to fashion journalists and stylists – with customers searching for unique and independent fashion.

The founders are Danish and New Zealand expats Mathilde Stougaard and Harriet Muir – two budding entrepreneurs and sustainable fashion enthusiasts.

Talking to Digital Brisbane, Mathilde says she moved to Brisbane to study a Master’s degree in Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology, and has since established Alma & Bramble with co-founder Harriet.

“We wanted our community to become the one place where designers and industry representatives log in to connect and support each other,” Mathilde says.

Alma & Bramble was born when Mathilde came across a problem – she wanted to have a unique dress made and was quoted $480 from an established business.

“It was a casual dress so I really didn’t want to pay that sort of money. In Denmark I could have asked my mum to make it or to suggest someone else but I couldn’t do that here,” she says.

When she couldn’t find anything affordable, Mathilde turned to bricks and mortar stores and started collecting business cards.

She ended up finding a graduate from TAFE who quoted $80 to make the dress off a simple design she’d drawn.

“While the concept of Alma & Bramble has grown since then to be for any emerging designers, not just those doing custom made, this experience made me aware of a gap in the market.” Mathilde says.

Forging sustainable connections 

For an emerging fashion designer, creating a sustainable business is not easy. Mathilde says independent designers are often underpaid and their products under-priced.

“Customers today want unique clothing and what’s better than getting limited edition pieces while at the same time supporting designers who often produce locally?” she says.

“Alma & Bramble also supports the slow fashion movement – which means that you can have a say as a customer and help to drive ethical sustainable fashion.”

The idea for the online marketplace was tested during the Startup Weekend hosted by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia in March 2017.

Since then, Mathilde has participated in the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp (with Harriet on board) and the pair have now been accepted into the QUTCEA Collider Accelerator – a local creative tech startup accelerator where Mathilde says they are looking forward to learning and connecting with entrepreneurs and investors in their industry.

“Alma & Bramble is a very new business as it was only tested in March this year. Going into the Collider Accelerator, we want to grow the business and be ready to launch a fully functional website for Demo Day at the end of the program,” Mathilde says.

While the startup is still finding its feet, there’s already been milestones achieved and challenges overcome.

“After I pitched for the first time at the Startup Weekend it was great to find that other people saw the potential the idea had and the problem that it could solve,” Mathilde says.

“Being selected for and ‘surviving’ MIT Bootcamp were huge milestones. It was hard work, but we were more prepared than at Startup Weekend. Today I look back and laugh – Startup Weekend was intense but no one in our team was really ready to pitch.”

The pair say they still have a lot of validation to do but they’re already reaching out to designers and customers.

Their next step is to find a third co-founder and apply for the Creative3 Pitch competition, the winner of which heads to the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen.

Find out more and follow Alma & Bramble’s journey here:

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