monovist's wanted

Is it possible to trim the apparel cost structure and funnel profits into philanthropy? The team behind Monolith, a New York-based social shopping website, aims to do just that. 
Currently in development, the subscription-based online start-up plans to deliver designer-quality clothing to customers for $111 or less. Subscribers will have a chance to browse men’s and women’s apparel and accessories collections online and decide which pieces they want to buy, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Monolith will then produce the items every five weeks in factories scattered around the globe (U.S., Mexico, India and Asia). “Well-known luxury brands like Gucci, Fendi, Prada—they all use the same factories,” said Nick Ralph, 29, the company’s Chief Executive Officer and founder. “They’re making hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars in profits on a single item. To us, it’s kind of ridiculous," he continued.

In addition to low priced designer goods from top-notch factories, the company will tap into conscientious consumerism with a “Buy One, Give One Program” — similar to the model employed by Toms Shoes. According to the Monolith website, the company will donate the same item purchased on the subscriber's behalf to children and adults in need so that they can secure better job opportunities, increase wages, and build confidence.

As a crowd-funded initiative, Monolith won’t launch until it raises $3.2m in pledges, according to Mr. Ralph. After three months of fund raising, the company has raised roughly $788,000, including pledges from past investors, family and friends.

The company decided to forgo the traditional venture-capital route to maintain the company’s philanthropic edge. “I’ve raised money for four companies through venture capital,” he said. “Most of the time, you end up going for the cheapest bulk and the cheapest return. The VC takes most of the equity and often shifts the company focus from creating something magical to creating a lean money-making machine in hopes of a highly profitable exit. I thought: There’s got to be a different way.”

We love Monolith's approach to Smart Commerce and Life Story Labeling. It's refreshing to see new concepts private label quality garments with cause-related initiatives instead of targeting mass production manufacturing aimed at the lowest common denominator: every-day fair-and-square pricing.

{source: Wall Street Journal}