Fashion and design entrepreneurs rely on Austin-based e-commerce site Material to launch their dreams.
Hello Sunday, makers of children's PJ sets, use Material.
Material, a new Austin-based e-commerce site, hopes to create a new generation of entrepreneurs by giving them everything they need to easily launch their own retail sites for free. An offshoot of Volusion, the e-commerce powerhouse formed in 1999 by then-Austin teenager Kevin Sproles in California (he didn't open an office in Austin until 2004), Material not only allows users to launch an online store in minutes, it offers crucial support from industry veterans.
Brand manager Lauren Hill says Material is all about simplicity. “A lot of platforms are so clunky and outdated and really complicated,” she says. Everyone who starts a site gets access to Material’s e-book, Fashioning Your Retail Empire Online, which offers tips from successful fashion retailers and designers. Austin’s Brad Otts, who helped start TOMS shoes, penned a chapter about the challenges of building a brand identity, while local artist and textile designer Alyson Fox focuses on website design.
Material’s assets are winning over users like Austin’s Amy Young, whose site, Thirds, will feature handmade ceramics and textiles. Material shares Young’s “belief in creating accessibility and quality from the ground up,” she says. Adds another user, Andrea Genevieve of Hello Sunday, which offers pajama separates for children: “I like that they take an interest in me as a person and as a business. They care as much about my success as I do.”