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Share & Share Alike.


Posted At: 19 December 2008 16:00 PM
Related Categories: E-tailing, Future of Retailing, Retail, Retail Suppliers


This year, why not give the gift of shares. Seriously. Stick with me here. It’s a hot tip and not at all boring.

Founded by former banker Helen Brown, Catwalk Genius is an e-tailer and crowd-funding site that enables commoners like you or I to purchase shares in designers for just a tenner. Each designer has 5,000 shares available, and you can buy as many as you like in exchange for discounts and dividends. There are currently just under 30 designers listed in the ‘Back a Designer’ section, 11 of which are available to fund, and most items in the collections are also available just to buy, should you so wish.

My favourites designers to date are Black Heart Bunny, DAD and Ostwald Helgason, because I consider the products attractive in that a) I would wear them, and b) I can see them selling…therefore giving me, as an investor, a return. Or, it would, if those particular designers were available to back…which brings me to some issues I have with the site:

  • Not all of the designers are available for backing…and there is no explanation as to why...
  •  It’s not overly obvious how you buy the shares. (You find a designer, check for the little pink love heart symbol which denotes that shares are available, click on the name and then click on their names again to go to their profile page where shares can be bought – took me a few attempts to discover this) 
  • You can hardly call some of the collections ‘collections’. Tom Florian Atelier lists 1 bag on his product page, while Tatty Divine looks more like the former than the latter, listing plastic keychains and dress-up shades with exorbitant price tags. But hey, what do I know about fashion? Apparently “the work for sale on the site is edited and directed by [a] virtual panel of fashion industry experts”…so I guess these things are ‘cutting edge’, not ‘over priced’

But, it is a fledgling site, so there are bound to be gremlins, and I hope that it does take off once all the kinks are ironed out. I love the idea of Catwalk Genius and genuinely think that it’s important for us to back home-grown talent, so well done to the people sticking their neck out there are creating new concepts like this one.

Some other examples of crowd-funding schemes that I liked include;

  • ArtistShare - a service for musicians to fund their projects outside the normal recording industry
  • BeerBankroll - a community managed brewing company
  • – focuses on fulfilling as many everyday wishes for as many everyday people as possible
  • - raises funding for businesses so they can execute their business plans.
  • nvohk - an eco-friendly clothing company

 Maybe something like this would make a great Christmas gift for a friend or relative who you’ve ran out of ideas for; there are lots of these things to choose from and some ultimately very worthy causes out there to support.

Comments Comments (2) Twitter Twitter


Hi Helen. Thanks for your feedback and good luck with your future developments; keep us updated! Regards, Lorraine

Hello FSP! You make some very good points which we wouldn't argue with (except re. the Tatty Devine stock, which we unapologetically adore!). We're working on improving the share-buying navigation and expanding the collections available, both definitely need work. Designers must opt in to the scheme and some either haven't got round to it or feel it isn't right for them yet. I'll see if we can make this clearer for visitors. Thanks so much for the feedback and for the kind endorsement, which totally made me blush. :) I'd love to hear any other comments from your readers! All the best - Helen.

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