Behind the Brand: ThunderLily

Image/ThunderLily

Image/ThunderLily

1) What is the name of your company:

ThunderLily

Image/ThunderLily

Image/ThunderLily

 2) What does your company make:

We started out as a fashion-tech startup, our goal was to create a single sketch to launch process in the virtual space. The garment production industry is pretty fragmented so to create a vertical process we took one step at a time to bring each step into the process. The first thing we did was partner with fabric sellers in the garment district and created a single market where they could sell their fabric. Simultaneously we were building a pattern-drafting software, we then used the fabrics in our database to drape the patterns on a 3D model to test the clothes.

 Just as we were struggling with the draping process, Columbia University published a paper on the process, so we approached them and they were very gracious in licensing us their technology. We became one of Columbia University Tech Ventures' portfolio startups, they were very generous in mentoring us, connecting us with other entrepreneurs and helping us hone our product. We built a sketch to launch process. It is still in the Alpha phase, we have bugs in the system but it is a great learning tool for our students and design partners.

Image/Clare Tattersall

Image/Clare Tattersall

3) Who are the founders:

I founded the company myself, I worked initially with two brilliant software-engineers one in New York and one in Romania, our 3D model artist was in London. We were all independent, motivated and sitting at a long-distance table. It is still pretty much a company of one, but it operates as a hub—I am very fortunate to partner with talented people who bring their unique skills to the table.

Similarly, I form partnerships with other entrepreneurs, where I am one of the people orbiting in their hub.

4) When was your company founded:

I founded the company in January 2009, and left my corporate job in July 2009 to work full time on ThunderLily.

Image/ThunderLily - fashion made using software

Image/ThunderLily - fashion made using software

5) Why did you feel inspired to create your company:

I was inspired to create ThunderLily to empower all the people in the journey that a piece of clothing takes, to bring them all together in one place. Designers could interact directly with producers and suppliers on a global scale, shoppers could connect directly with the designers and suppliers to create a custom garment. The entire process would happen online until a purchase was made, and only then would an actual garment be sewn. By digitizing the process we hoped to take our own small step to address the incredible waste in the garment industry.

Video/ThunderLily

Image/ThunderLily - fashion made using software

Image/ThunderLily - fashion made using software

6) What do you love most about running your company:

I love the people that I meet at every step. I have been so fortunate to get to know many workers in the garment district, it is incredible to see their talents in action, they are the invisible people behind fashion. Sometimes I stop and wonder, “Who made this?” What is their personal story? I also spend most of my time teaching fashion design and technology now. I teach children from elementary to high school and I love how fast they understand everything, they just 'get it'. They are terrifyingly smart, full of adventure and ready to take risks. It is easy to talk to them about sustainability and responsibility for our planet, it is a central part of their existence and they take it seriously. I feel so full of hope for where this young generation will go and the change they will bring.

7) If you could have one person from history or fiction involved with ThunderLily would it be:

Hedy Lamarr. What is so remarkable about her is that she was a brilliant mind with no formal training and mostly self-taught, she was a tinkerer who worked in her spare time on various hobbies and inventions. She had insightful ideas and wanted to just experiment to see if she could make thing work, her ideas have been so influential on technology today. She developed—with composer George Antheil—a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology. The principles of their work are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of WiFi.

8) Where can we find you and your company online:

Web: https://thunderlily.com

Instagram:@thunderlilyNYC

Twitter: @thunderlilyNYC