Entrepreneurial Lessons: AWAYTOMARS

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100% collaborative fashion. This is the goal of AWAYTOMARS, an online platform launched in 2015 by Brazilian economist Alfredo Orobio, focusing on co-creation, crowdfunding and idea sharing. It works like this: you submit an idea (don’t need to be a designer or even have the technical skills!) and receives feedback from the registered community, free to suggest any changes. With the help of a group of curators, the best works are edited and selected for the second stage: crowdfunding. From there, the design is manufactured and sold on the website, with profits split among the company, the creator and the collaborators, who earn points or bonus for the next purchase. The final step is a show at Moda Lisboa, twice a year. The first one was staged last March, presenting 25 looks.

To boost the platform growth, Alfredo was joined by 4 partners: Carlo Valentini, Marília Biasi, Paula Pinaud and Cecília Temke, who talked to me about the concept and challenges of the start-up:

Project M: What motivated the creation of the brand?
AWAYTOMARS: Alfredo Orobio, our founder, had the original idea whilst doing the research for his masters in Trends and Communication, in Lisbon. By researching and getting familiar with the world of social media, he noticed a trend of sharing different ideas, in the fashion world. People from different places were postings about their designs and inspirations, besides leaving comments in other posts with suggestions – basically improving the industry’s creative process.

Unfortunately, concepts were being lost, as the barriers to enter the market are relatively high. So, all of these pools of ideas would disappear after a while. From this, came the plan to launch a space where people could share ideas, receive feedback and, above all, taking their projects ahead. AWAYTOMARS enables creatives the chance to show their creations and follow the dream of producing and selling the pieces.

Project M:  What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
AWAYTOMARS was founded in 2015 and since then we are consistently growing our user base. The platform is receiving more designs and our community is expanding. However, as in any new business, there are challenges. As a fashion and technology start-up, AWAYTOMARS needs a minimum investment to keep developing. Funding, without doubt, is a difficult task and requires patience and determination.

Besides that, production in small scale is not that simple. We had a long journey working on relationships with suppliers to ensure the co-created pieces could be made in fewer quantities. The challenge was overcome and now we have a vast network to help us turn dreams into reality.

Another relevant issue is to create brand awareness and to position ourselves in the market. These are, without question, major challenges and we are focusing on that – to promote the brand and lead consumers to see AWAYTOMARS as a culturally cool, interesting and good quality brand.

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a brand?
AWAYTOMARS: It is important to define the brand positioning and to have clear objectives in the short and long term. It is also essential to be surrounded by high-skilled professionals and set a team with the same values and similar visions about the future of the company. Moreover, I suggest full dedication to find trustworthy, ethical suppliers for lasting relationships.

Images: reproduction

If you are interested in AWAYTOMARS, go to the website, register and start collaborating with ideas, concepts and images. Soon, your creation can be on Moda Lisboa runway or anywhere in the world!

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