Do you consider yourself a misfit? Too tall, too short, weird love for outlandish colors? Co-Founder Veronika Harbick started Thursday Finest to tackle fast fashion by providing on-the-spot creation and customization of clothing accessories via 3D knitting. Yes, the future is here and it does consist of robots taking over the world. Take that, Zara!
3D knitting has always been thought of as something far, far away in the future. Well, that day is today and hopefully, grandma is still alive to witness it. Co-founders and husband and wife duo, Veronika Harbick and Michael Carlson realized the trend in the fashion industry heading towards customization and wanted to capitalize on this by incorporating sustainability into their brand.
“Accessories are usually a one-size-fits-all scenario, but we wanted to change that by creating something that actually fits you.”
With a background in social media, Veronika understood at an early age that customization was very important and would soon be the trend (back in 2006). “I ended up working with NBC while I was still in college at Boston University. Yes, my internship landed me a job and I took time off school to pursue it. This was where I met my entire business network in New York and also my co-founder, husband.” After working together for many years, Veronika and her husband decided to quit their jobs and explore the unknown world of entrepreneurship, or as we like to say the road less taken.
Fast forward to 2014, “we decided to cater to the wedding industry, in particular to those individuals who got their clothes tailored. However, our product was only ties. The idea was around adhering to someone who is super tall (due to length and fit) and someone who wants to have fun with colors. It was great for gift giving!”
However, when Veronika started to look into the machinery and technology involved for 3D knitting, she understood that in the best case scenario, she would receive the product in 6 weeks from a manufacturer. “That was way too slow. It would also hinder our marketing efforts as we wouldn't have any momentum for word of mouth.” So, they took matters into their own hands and started researching who made these looms, what skills does one need to run it and found 3 knitting machines that were underutilized in Brooklyn. “We taught ourselves how to create algorithms and coding for the machines and realized that with these machines we could create all types of items in various colors, fully formed and in one hour.” This was a big breakthrough for the couple as now they could pivot their business model and cater to a wider audience with a larger product assortment manufactured in a shorter period of time.
“The big idea became more about changing the way clothing was being made and bringing those opportunities to consumers. We want customers to feel special and experience something created specifically for them.”
By producing clothing accessories such as ties, scarves, socks, bows and beanies on the spot, Veronika had tapped into sustainability and waste management like no brand had done before. Goodbye SKU’s and hello order-for-you. Thursday Finest launched with a new business model in December 2015 with on-demand manufacturing.
Thursday Finest was built around the idea of dressing your best self every day. “In many cities, Thursday is the day that kicks off the weekend. We wanted to incorporate that fun energy into our brand as well as the idea of self-expression.”
As far as marketing goes, Facebook ads have proven to have a great track record when it comes to retail brands. It takes customers an average of three impressions before their likelihood to purchase an unknown brand. Thursday Finest also engaged in pop-up stores in January 2016 in the Lower East Side for one week. “This allowed us to connect with consumers and resonate with them. We were also able to receive product feedback and find out what new categories consumers were interested in for product extensions.”
As CEO of Thursday Finest, Veronika tells us how “with a start-up, you live in uncertainty. You never know if a certain marketing tactic is going to work and if it doesn’t, you need to tweak it immediately.”
- To think like an entrepreneur, you need to rewire your brain.
- You need to make decisions quickly or you will waste valuable time constantly contemplating.
- Make sure to take one day a week completely off work.
- When you launch, unless you have a lot of funding behind you, the customers don’t come flying in.
- Think about doing your start-up on the side until you can no longer manage.
- You are going to need more money and time than you think.
- Set yourself up for success by finding out how to sell or how to get the right message across.