Body404 is valued at $50 million and wants to introduce Chinese independent brands to the world.

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Over the past few years, Shein took over online fast fashion exporting inexpensive clothing from China to customers all over the world. Its success attracted a wave of imitators, but a startup called Body404 believes that China is not only about cheap knockoffs of runways. The country also has a budding generation of cosmopolitan designers creating high-end apparel and accessories, and Body404 wants to help them attract Western consumers.

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At first glance, Body404’s indie designer collections are reminiscent of retro ’90s looks with acidic colors and baggy jeans (revelation: fashion terminology is out of my purview). Or is this what you imagine Billie Eilish and her Gen-Z followers would wear. Unlike disposables, the clothes seem to be built to last — a pair of flared trousers is $135, while an occult-print long sleeve is $144.

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Body404’s proposal received some investor support. Founded less than a year ago, its valuation jumped to $50 million after closing the Series A preliminary round for a total of $50 million in March, TechCrunch reported. The investment, led by BAI Capital (Bertelsmann Asia Investments), will allow the startup to grow beyond its current team of 100 employees in China and the US. Existing investors Kuanzhai Venture Capital and One Capital also joined the round.

The startup has no inventory, which lowers its costs, but provides manufacturing resources and marketing assistance to designers who may lack the know-how to tell their stories to a global audience.

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Most of Body404’s 100 designers are currently based in China, but the company doesn’t want to stop there. Its co-founder and CEO Jeff Zhang, serial entrepreneur, managed Flash sales app powered by IDGalso wants to link designer brand boutiques from other countries to China’s well-established supply chains, often referred to as a key component of Shein’s success.

The main problem in cross-border sales is high profitability. Zhang said profit margins at Body404 are relatively low at around 2%, which is much better than the 10-15% seen in fashion markets that emphasize affordability over quality. Body4040 has a monthly sales of $1 million, and the annual sales this year should reach $20 million.

Most of the company’s customers come from the US and Europe, with an average basket size of around $50. Surprisingly, his client profile does not differ much from Shein’s – 16-23 years old, 80% women. This is because “there is a growing segment of consumers who want to wear high quality and different clothes,” said Charles Wang, the company’s marketing director.

Users find Body404 on Facebook, Google and TikTok in particular. According to Zhang, cost per thousand clicks (CPM), a way to measure the return on spent online ads, ranges from $3 to $5 on a short video app, while Facebook’s CPM for comparison is $10 to $15. .

Unlike some companies with Chinese roots who are trying to hide their origins for fear of an increasingly negative image of “Chinese companies”, Body404 wants to “rename what it means to be made in China.”

“We don’t want the border between China and the world to close. We want to show the world what Chinese designers look like,” Zhang said.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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