Naoko: Polish clothing brand designed by AI

It was created by Startup Concept 101, which became interested in the American giant Warner Bros 4 years ago. The offer of licensing cooperation translated into hundreds of fans in social media and shops in the largest Polish cities, thanks to which the company’s revenues exceeded 12.5 million dollars in 2022. With the help of AI, the company wants to double that number.

It all started ten years ago when it got a Facebook page supervisor right after the company was founded. At that time, Concept 101 became one of the test brands, which were provided with new tools suggesting how and when to communicate with fans and what formats to use. It allowed to significantly increase the reach and better engage in the community associated with the brand.

The company’s founders, Monika and Jacek Szyndler, met 12 years ago when Monika had just graduated from high school and was going to Thailand for a modeling contract. Ultimately, she went there with Jacek, who already had a lot of business projects on his account, while doing a doctorate in innovative marketing techniques. They spent a year there, getting to know the fashion industry from the inside out. They got married and returned to Poland out of necessity, bringing asymmetric T-shirts with original prints from a friend of theirs, which quickly sold out at Fashion Week in Łódź where they came from. Then, they took the first EU subsidy and bought a machine for printing, selling everything they printed at the next fair. The colorful and imaginative Naoko collections may evoke associations with the Spanish Desigual. They can access 18 licenses, such as Harry Potter, Powerpuff Girls, and Jetsons. They come up with unconventional ideas for their projects, combining the images of these characters with their ideas.

This year, for the first time, they used AI to design their latest collection, which premiered in mid-June this year. However, unlike the clothes of other brands prepared by AI, in Naoko, the clients, and fans of the brand had the deciding vote – AI only analyzed and put together thousands of data obtained in this way, using the ideas of crowdsourcing. The customers decide about all models and cuts, but thanks to the use of AI in designing and creating the collection, the final launch of the product to the market takes place much faster. AI also means cost reduction and better inventory management, resulting from a more accurate understanding of customer needs and, as a result, avoiding excessive production and storage of products.

Cooperation with well-known fashion bloggers has made the company regularly top the rankings of fashion brands that engage their community the most. It translates not only into the number of followers and views (250,000 fans on Facebook, 135,000 reels on Instagram, or 50M views per month on Pinterest) but also into revenues that in 2022 exceeded 12,5M dollars at a rate growth above 60% and profitability 10-20%.

Currently, the company employs 50 people, producing clothes almost entirely in Poland, and its boutiques can be found in large shopping centers in Warsaw and Poznań. It also strongly focuses on developing the e-commerce platform, starting cooperation with the Zalando marketplace at the beginning of 2023. He also plans further collections in collaboration with the community and AI, which would allow him to exceed 25 million dollars in annual revenues in a few years. It is real because, according to the consulting company McKinsey, generative AI can increase the operating profits of the fashion and luxury products industry by 150-275 billion dollars in a few years.

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