The demand for sustainable clothing is increasing. But how do you ensure that responsible brands and sustainable producers can find each other? Six questions for Rob ten Hoove, co-founder of Manufy: a platform for sustainable clothing production.
A Dutch version of this article can be found on Emerce.
If you had to explain Manufy to someone you don’t know at all, how would you go about it?
Manufy is the platform for sustainable clothing production in Europe. Through us, clothing brands can source sustainable products from European clothing manufacturers. Brands post a production request on our platform and producers can then respond to requests that are a good fit for their skillset. More than 1200 production requests have been placed on Manufy in various product categories, so there is plenty to do for the manufacturers.
In two weeks we will launch Manufy 2.0 and with it many new functionalities. You can place orders, easily give feedback on samples and projects and manage shipments for example. In addition, we are making it possible to arrange transport and facilitate payments via the platform. It will transform us from a market place to a market network.
The most important value for Manufy is to make the clothing industry more sustainable.
We are also in contact with non-sustainable manufacturers. We just want to show them how it can be done and what opportunities there are for them. Consider, for example, a manufacturer that does not yet use sustainable materials or has not yet fitted its factory with solar panels, while other companies in its benchmark are already using this. We want to show them that small investments and changes in the way of working can already have a positive impact.
Are you currently working on a financing round?
After a successful crowdfunding campaign last year among friends and family, we are now ready for the next round of financing. To further accelerate our growth, we started a new round of 1 million last week. This time we are looking for an investor who, preferably, has knowledge of marketplaces, SaaS solutions, and expansion in Europe. That is quite a list, but it is great for us if an investor can be a sounding board for us and can take the next step with us.
What do you want to use the funds that are raised for?
We want to use 50% of the investment to acquire new customers. A market network backbone are its users, so it remains important to keep a focus on that. The influx of both brands and producers has been going well so far, but can grow even faster and with the financing we also want to focus even more on onboarding of the users. In addition, 25% of the investment will be used to further improve the platform and 25% to further develop additional services such as transport insurance, payments and e-commerce connections.
Have you ever received a question or advice from an investor that made you do things differently?
We got feedback from a business angel that our frontend looked a bit too inpersonal. We started working on that. The website has now been given a warmer look, in which we have, among other things, given a face to our team and the producers on the platform. But we have also included things such as copy or color scheme in the new design. Often the texts were indeed written in a businesslike way while you want to reach brands and people. You should always ask yourself “who are we making this for?”
Do you have advice for starting entrepreneurs?
I would start validating your idea as soon as possible by getting feedback from your future users. Make a mockup of your idea, put a landing page live and run a small advertising campaign on it. In addition, talk to your future user as much as possible and verify whether your ideas and assumptions are correct.
What is Manufy’s dream?
That we can really contribute to a more sustainable clothing industry and motivate producers who are not yet sustainable enough to take a step in the right direction!
Would you like more information on Manufy? Then go to https://api.fundsup.co/go/-dB9duw3Fq