Technology facilitating business growth – Ashley Lim crowdfunding WORKING GIRL
There are three things I love… technology, innovation and founders that are not afraid to disrupt current ways of working. What I love even more, is when these three things combine to challenge the way we work.
Let me introduce you to acclaimed boutique designer shoe brand, ASHLEY LIM, who is driving business growth through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. She is challenging current ways of shoe production and creating a brand new way of accessing made to measure (MTM) artisan shoes. With the launch of her latest collection, WORKING GIRL, she makes clever use of tech to provide affordable MTM fashion.
Indiegogo was previously known as a platform to discover new tech ideas and for early adopters and innovation seekers to find imaginative tech before it hit the mainstream. With both live crowdfunding campaigns and next generation products shipping now, it’s a great platform to hunt for cool and clever innovations.
Ashley, on the other hand has used the platform differently. As a trained architect, she turned her aesthetic principles and design skills to fashion over 5 years ago, always looking at how she could stand out. After successes in Australia and internationally, she looked at ways to challenge the traditional shoe business model, and now is launching her latest collection in this unique and cost effective way.
I sat with her to chat through her WHY?
‘By making this collection only available through Indiegogo, we can invest more in the quality and design of the shoes and less on the traditional supply chain costs, including excess inventory and advertising,’
‘Since we started, we have always been about making beautiful, stylish shoes that are also comfortable and ergonomically sound. We’ve now been able to reduce the price and make them affordable – up to 40% less than my last range. Women can have it all!’
Not only is Ashley crowdfunding, she is looking at ways to improve the delivery of the product and service. Why? Well, while other online stores simply cut costs by removing the ‘bricks and mortar’ they also remove the personal shopping experience. Ashley wanted to create an offering that allowed women to invest in shoes that are customisable to exact sizing (for each foot) and included a made-to-measure (MTM) offer with the new collection launch.
What makes them so unique is that your next pair of ASHLEY LIM shoes doesn’t exist in a warehouse waiting for purchase: they are made exclusively for you when you order. Also, there’s no disappointment in going online to find a store doesn’t have your size.
Consumers expect a level of personalization, something unique and with a story. Customers are happy to wait for that something special that brings them joy. And in this case, comfortable designer shoes, at a huge discount.
From a production perspective, the other benefit is there are no leftover shoes that need to be heavily discounted at a later date. This financial advantage, the opportunity to plan and manage cashflow more effectively, is then passed onto the customer at the start of the season. It’s also an environmental win: no waste because every shoe crafted is intended for a wardrobe.
‘This may also be a first for a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is about producing generic items which anyone can use. It could be a book, a music album, a suitcase or an appliance. Even if the item is available in different sizing, there isn’t the option to make to measure. I’m thrilled that we are exploring the advantages of these modern technologies to support a small, traditional, handmade craft that is often inaccessible.’ Ashley shares.
All her shoes are handmade from premium Italian leather by craftsmen with over 30 years of experience at a family-run footwear design workshop in Lim’s native city, Seoul, South Korea.
Also to ensure comfort ASHLEY LIM’s shoes have also been designed with advice from Dr. Kylie McCulloch, president of the NSW Podiatry Association, Australia, which ensures they are not only good-looking but also be supportive of your lifestyle.
Ever since its first collection in 2014, ASHLEY LIM has seen in magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire. In 2018, Ashley was also recognised by Habitus Magazine as one of the ‘Top Asian Fashion Designers To Note’. Famous lovers of the brand include Lucy Turnbull, Kate Mulvany and Kelly Rowland.
I personally own a few pairs of her amazing shoes and can vouch for their comfort when racing around everyday. I have also styled her pieces for Hills & West, my lifestyle accessory label, and am inspired by her acumen and passion. You can read an interview I did with her here and discover how Lim’s shoes are handmade in South Korea here.
Do support ASHLEY LIM reach her funding goal, and support entrepreneurs taking a crack at doing things differently. We are certainly impressed.