Folklore Group, an e-commerce startup, announced today that it is moving from direct selling to B2B wholesale sales amid a $1.7 million pre-funding the startup plans to leverage.
The startup’s new wholesaler said folklore connectWill connect luxury fashion brands in emerging markets with chain stores in North America and later in Europe.
Founded in 2018 by Amira Rasool, the e-commerce company has previously been delivering last mile to customers in the US, shipping but has not been able to grow fast enough. The increase in demand for the fashion products they sell has also accelerated the recovery of most startups.
Rasool told gaming-updates that folklore sales are up 100% year-on-year since its launch. She expects further growth for the fashion brands and her business as a result of the new business direction and funding.
“Folklore Connect is our most important product for the future and is where we will focus up to 95% of our resources, energy and money. We develop our own technologies and build a sales team. We have engaged a great engineer and director of brand and retail partnerships to build our sales and customer experience teams both on the continent (in Africa) and in the US,” said Rasool, founder and CEO of The Folklore Group.
The startup is also launching a new marketplace for fashion brands or platforms to become affiliate partners, as well as The FolkloreEdit, an online media site that will feature fashion stories.
The funding round was led by Los Angeles-based early-stage technology investment firm Slauson & Co., featuring the Fearless Fund along with other high-profile black angel investors, including WNBA star Neneka Ogwumike.
“The world is starting to realize the untapped talent in Africa. Folklore highlights the best design talent from across the continent, and the demand for these culture-reflecting products is skyrocketing. Amira is uniquely qualified for this task and we are delighted to support her as she continues to empower brands across the continent,” said Ajay Rilen, Managing Partner of Slawson & Company.
The startup’s B2B wholesale platform, launched today (in beta), will sell products from up to 30 fashion brands, including South Africa’s Rich Manisi and Sookie Sookie Naturals and Nigeria’s Orange Culture, through 15 retailers in the US.
The startup works with trendy fashion brands from Africa that have established themselves and can meet the demand.
“We are looking at this from a global perspective. These brands produce products that can be worn by anyone anywhere in the world. They may have some cultural significance, but they have been redesigned or remade to fit a global perspective,” said Rasool, who created the folklore because of his passion for fashion and black literature, which brought him to Africa. He visited South Africa (Africa) where he discovered a “great and innovative” fashion brand.
The first trip took him on a voyage of discovery where he enrolled at the University of Cape Town where he completed an MA in African Studies in two years, giving him enough time to learn more about the designers he met in South Africa. I also found it during my travels across the continent. Before that, she worked for some of the world famous fashion publications such as Marie Claire and V Magazine.
“I had a lot of knowledge about the fashion industry, but especially about the mainstream like the luxury industry, which is dominated by North American and European brands. So when I went to South Africa and during my travels across the continent, I discovered all these great brands that were innovative and developed from a global perspective… selling tools. In addition, there were no retailers outside the home country that stocked these brands. I launched folklore to change that,” says Rasool.
Folklore Group will open up new markets for luxury and emerging brands in Africa and around the world, as well as meet growing demand from retailers who love diversity and inclusion, Rasool said.