A New Accelerator Model Tackles Fashion Industry’s Supply Chains

Factory45 and Market45 founder Shannon Lohr wants to help smaller startups in the sustainable fashion space.Factory45

After launching her own apparel brand {r}evolution apparel,  Shannon Lohr was burnt out. She had raised more than $60,000 on Kickstarter in 2011 to bring the idea to life and then taken it to stores across the country. But she needed a break.

She did just that and came back with a new approach to changing the fashion industry — consulting new up-and-coming brands. Her latest platform, Market45 complements Factory45, an online accelerator program that takes sustainable apparel brands from idea to launch. Market45 offers to house their creations and connect them with online customers.

Lohr says that it was her firsthand experience of starting a company and how difficult it can be that led her to set up Factory45. Specifically, she says knows the uphill battle that it takes to break into the fashion industry where supply chains are complex and often inaccessible to smaller brands. Factory45 was the first part of the solution: a business school for sustainable fashion startups, helping connect entrepreneurs with sustainable suppliers around the world.

But this realization took time, nearly a decade. In 2011, Lohr and a friend decided to launch sustainable fashion brand {r}evolution. Following a Kickstarter campaign that became the highest-funded fashion project in Kickstarter history at the time, the pair tripled their goal and quadrupled their first production run. After a sustainable fashion tour of the Pacific Northwest, the two were exhausted though.

At the end of 2012, Lohr sold her portion of the company to her co-founder and moved into consulting, putting to use all the skills she’d picked up during her own stint as an apparel entrepreneur. Although she had stepped away from running her own brand, Lohr realized that all the time she had spent fighting to get her foot through the door could save other designers the effort.

[“source=forbes]