The Folklore Group, a fashion e-commerce startup, today announced a transition from direct-to-consumer to B2B wholesale in the wake of a $1.7 million pre-seed funding round, which the company aims to use to fuel its new business’s growth.
The Folklore Connect, the startup’s new wholesale business, will connect luxury fashion brands in emerging markets with bulk retailers in North America and, later, Europe.
The Fearless Fund and other notable Black angel investors, including WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike, participated in the funding round, which was overseen by Slauson & Co., a Los Angeles-based VC firm focused on early-stage technology investments.
The e-commerce company, launched by Amira Rasool in 2018, previously sourced, shipped, and handled last-mile delivery to customers in 20 countries, including the United States — but this didn’t allow it to scale quickly enough. The startup’s migration to wholesale was accelerated by a surge in demand for the fashion and lifestyle products they sold.
The startup is also rolling out a new marketplace to be an affiliate partner of fashion brands or platforms, as well as The Folklore Edit, an online media site that will carry stories on fashion.
Since its launch, sales of the Folklore have increased by over 100% year over year. Following the new business strategy and finance, she expects the partner fashion companies and the group to develop even more.
The startup’s B2B wholesale platform, which launched (in beta) today, will offer products from up to 30 fashion brands to 15 retailers in the United States, including Rich Mnisi and Suki Naturals from South Africa and Orange Culture from Nigeria.
The business is partnering with African fashion brands who have an established track record and can meet demand.
The Folklore Group is expanding new markets for luxury and emerging brands from Africa and other parts of the world, as well as meeting growing demand from retailers who value diversity and inclusion.