Inside On-Demand Manufacturing with Fame and Partners Founder Nyree Corby
Created with the sole intention to offer a platform where custom, (almost) zero waste clothing has a place to shine, Fame and Partners empowers creatives and customers alike with contemporary collections of made-to-order essentials and advanced production techniques needed to bring unique designs to life. We had the chance to speak with Fame and Partners founder Nyree Corby to learn more about the machinations of on-demand manufacturing.
How does the business model of on-demand manufacturing work within the fast-fashion landscape?
On-demand manufacturing offers speeds faster than fast-fashion due to circumventing the bulk manufacturing process. Time typically reserved for bulk manufacturing is eliminated and products are able to be sold closer to season and rapidly manufactured on-demand.
Where do you think the tipping point lies in the industry in terms of shifting away from mass produced items?
One of the retail mega-trends that everyone is talking about is customisation; in the same way as sustainability has become that in the past 10 years. This is driven by a number of market thematics; the decline of store retail, the move to experiential retail, social media driving individuality and trend fragmentation, the fragmentation of the fashion industry generally. I think one of the challenges is pairing this offering with accessible prices so that everyone can shop this way.
In terms of how customisation will evolve, we’re seeing that customers prefer to “tweak” pieces rather than “design” them. Our recently released Custom Clothing Studio speaks to this: here, customers can either design their own dress from the ground up or choose to “tweak” a pre-designed dress to suit their body and style.
Finally, I believe we’ll be seeing personalised fit is something we’ve been working on behind the scenes. 60% of US women are one size different between their bust-waist / waist-hip or bust-hip measurements; 30% of women are 2! Furthermore depending on the garment type women particularly have different fit preferences—oversized VS slim fit for example.
Of course to be able to deliver customisation and personalised fit requires a fundamentally different approach to supply chain such as the proprietary system we have developed.
Will on-demand open a new frontier in creative design?
Yes, it has the potential to offer great flexibility in design because there are no minimums. The opportunity is to service individuals and their uniquely fragmented fashion preferences rather than making clothes that only service the masses.
What are some of the biggest challenges in venturing into this world?
At the start, it was a challenge to find factories who were willing to work with me, as I needed them to re-engineer their factory flows to accommodate my on-demand manufacturing concept. But now, the biggest challenge is scaling our made-to-order business effectively. Each order is one-of-a-kind, handcrafted on-demand, and shipped in about a week; this has required the development of a proprietary system to scale it and our next step is to onboard new factories to adopt our system. The supply chain is constantly reevaluated and optimized, and we’re currently developing ways to offer more personalisation, quicker delivery times, and better customer service.
How do you strike a balance between sustainable practices and the realities of running a business?
This is a great question. The pursuit of sustainability causes existential crises every day; balancing the real cost of sustainable practices with the desire to offer the lowest possible prices to customers. It is truly a balancing act and we believe that every little effort counts. Long term as the cost of sustainability comes down (driven by widespread adoption of sustainable manufacturing techniques and raw materials production), it will become increasingly easier to be both cost effective and sustainable.
What words of advice do you have for designers hoping to create a business model around on-demand manufacturing?
If you are a designer looking to offer on-demand pieces or no-inventory, I would recommend focusing on being a designer and finding someone to partner with on your supply chain. They are two different businesses and doing both is very hard!