FashionPlaytes Raises $4M More, Goes for Billion-Dollar Customized Clothing Idea

10/12/10Follow @gthuang

Score another one for the “She-E-Os,” the Boston-area support network for female chief executives. And more specifically for Sarah McIlroy, a member of the group.

McIlroy’s startup, Salem, MA-based FashionPlaytes, said today it has raised an additional $4 million, bringing its Series A round to $5.8 million. New investor Fairhaven Capital led the round and was joined by existing investors New Atlantic Ventures, LaunchCapital, and Golden Seeds. FashionPlaytes announced its initial venture financing in August 2009 and opened its site to the public shortly thereafter.

The site is targeted at girls aged five to 12, and lets them use a game-like interface to design custom clothing—sleep sets, skirts, dresses, jackets, you name it—in different combinations. McIlroy and her team are working on building an online community so that consumers can interact and talk about their designs and fashion. Since late last year, the company says, some 200,000 unique garments have been created on the site using more than 6 million possible design combinations.

“We’ve been able to prove out there’s a nice business here,” McIlroy says. “It’s a far cry from where we were two years ago, trying to put a prototype out to market.”

The new financing, though not huge, is a good sign for consumer-focused Internet startups in the Boston area—and perhaps the East Coast more broadly. FashionPlaytes is part of a “mass customization” trend that eventually could alter the economics of the fashion industry, empower clothing buyers, and give rise to new e-commerce success stories. A few other fashion-related tech companies with Boston-area ties include Blank Label, Spreadshirt, and thredUP.

Fairhaven principal Rudina Seseri calls FashionPlaytes “the first to bridge the gap … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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