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Africa’s first B2B wholesale fashion e-commerce startup, Folklore picks up $1.7M funding

A fashion e-commerce startup, Folklore, headquartered in New York has picked up $1.7 million pre-seed funding.

The investment was led by Slauson & Co. alongside participation from Fearless Fund, WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike, Backbone Angels, Fab Co-Creation Studio Ventures, Untapped Capital, True Capital Management’s Culture Fund, and a number of family offices and angel investors.

Highest pre-seed round for lifestyle brand!

Folklore will use the funding to form a conglomerate of B2B, consumer and media products that will enable global retailers and customers to seamlessly discover, connect with and shop African and diasporic designer brands.

The Folklore Group’s recent raise also represents a milestone for its founder and CEO, Amira Rasool, one of the youngest Black women to raise over $1 million in a pre-seed round for a fashion and lifestyle brand.

Africa’s first B2B wholesale e-commerce platform

Also, it includes the launch of three platforms – The Folklore Connect, The Folklore Marketplace, and The Folklore Edit. Its new wholesale business, The Folklore Connect, will link luxury fashion brands in emerging markets to bulk retailers in North America and Europe.

The Folklore Connect and The Folklore Marketplace will launch with established and emerging African and diasporic designers across apparel, accessories, beauty and homewares.

The Folklore Group is now accepting applications for the next wave of brands and retailers to join the waitlist for The Folklore Connect.

The Folklore Marketplace is a consumer shopping aggregator that will replace the company’s original direct-to-consumer platform. Lastly, the Folklore Edit, an online media platform that will feature industry analysis, interviews and news about the African and diasporic design industry.

“The Folklore Connect is the next step in our vision to see African brands in the hands of customers around the world and to create opportunities for them that encourage scalability and fuel them to compete globally,” said Rasool, Founder and CEO of The Folklore Group. “We’re using technology and community to connect brands, customers and partners that value sustainability and support the new vanguard of design.”

“The world is beginning to wake up to the untapped talent across Africa. The Folklore highlights the best design talent across the continent, and demand for these products that reflect the culture is exploding,” said Ajay Relan, Managing Partner, Slauson & Co. “Amira is uniquely qualified to lead this charge, and we’re excited to stand alongside her while she empowers brands across the continent.”

What does Folklore do?

Folklore was founded in 2018 by Amira Rasool. Previously, Folklore sourced, shipped and did last-mile delivery to customers in 20 countries including the US that did not allow it to grow fast enough. As there was a spike in demand for the fashion and lifestyle products, their sales hastened the startup’s shift to wholesale.

The B2B fashion and lifestyle wholesale platform was launched in the beta phase. It sells products at up to 30 fashion brands, including Rich Mnisi and Suki Suki Naturals, both from South Africa and Orange Culture from Nigeria to 15 retailers in the US.

As now, the startup works with modern fashion brands out of Africa that have a proven track record and can keep up with demand.

Folklore aims to provide the industry’s next frontier of brands with access to opportunities that encourage scalability and fuel them to compete globally. Jts vision is to see the brands sell their products in retail stores worldwide.

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