In our 2012 Fashion Tech Industry Report we ranked the top 16 cities/regions for FashionTech investments, but Russia wasn’t even a blip on the radar. As it turns out, their fastest growing startup is setting its own pace.
TrendsBrands.ru, which launched in 2011 with a $1M seed round from Russian fund Ru-Net and Kite Ventures, has closed a $3M Series A investment earlier this month from France’s Vantech. The startup was founded by Anastasia Sartan who admits she still hears surprised exclamations from her fellow citizens: “Clothes on the Internet? You can’t try them on!”
Welcome to 1999 Russia.
Sartan’s story is one surprisingly similar to that of Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso (although only slightly similar). Sartan returned to Moscow from New York after working as a waitress in 2011 who helped assisted fashion designers and foreign buyers in her spare time. Taking with her 20 dresses for friends who, by that time, had set up a showroom at Kurshaya, Sartan began her own entrepreneurial career in fashion.
When a falling-out of friends quickly went down, Sartan took $10,000 in profit and started TrendsBrands.ru. Instead of going head-to-head with the likes of D&G and Prada, she got smart and found a lower-price point (around $100) that customers were more comfortable buying online. She also released new collections monthly instead of semi-annually.
TrendsBrands.ru is estimated to be worth about $4-6 million but expects to earn $60-80 million by 2015 putting it in competition with ASOS.