Ex-SlideShare techie and a UX expert launch Qreoh, a crowd-funding platform for independent designers
Qreoh has been founded by two people with interesting names and equally interesting backgrounds — Shirsendu ‘Troy’ Karmakar and Cecile ‘Cece’ Baltazart. Troy was with SlideShare when it got acquired and then went on to work for LinkedIn for a while before the itch to startup got stronger. Cece, on the other hand, worked as a User Experience consultant before which she worked with Design for Use for a couple of years. At a Startup Weekend in Delhi in April 2013, their paths crossed. This is where the idea for Qreoh was sparked and over the next year, they worked on the product to launch it publicly last month.
In essence, Qreoh is a crowd-funding platform for designers. “There are lots of young graduates in various areas of design who don’t have a platform to launch their products,” says Troy. Very few of these designers are able to pull of individually with their fashion label or a product line. For such folks, Qreoh wants to provide a platform that they can use to get feedback on their product, validate a market and then sell as well.
How does it work?
Designers showcase prototypes of their products, and visitors can then place pre-orders for the products they like. This way, designers get the funds necessary to start production. There are two primary objectives:
1. Help designers set up their own brands and sell their products with minimum investment and risk.
2. Offer consumers a range of carefully crafted products with contemporary design at their core.
Qreoh provides support during the entire chain — from getting photographers for product shoot to giving channel of distribution to logistics. There is a certain bar set for pre-orders and once a designer hits that number, the product is manufactured and shipped. Qreoh gets 10% for every pre-order. Troy and Cece were working on the project part-time for a while but they are on to it full time since the public launch.
The duo also conducted the Qreoh Indie Festival where 11 independent designers showcased their work. Some of them include:
Alyen Foning is a Goa-based design label that believes in the power of Mother Nature and the skills of local artisans in creating contemporary clothing and lifestyle products. It is also the story of like-minded people coming together in collaborating and creating to celebrate, empower and give back to society in small, yet conscious ways.
Example Clothing is about heritage, humor and the quest for eternal youth. The ‘great brains’ at Example are rooted in a mix of fashion design, textiles, graphic design, films and photography. Always re-interpreting classic references into the modern, Example is inspired by idiosyncrasies; the little oddities that pique their interest in all people and cultures.
Airphish is an illustration studio by Smriti Choudhary (Pinksoda). Her inspiration comes from everything aquatic & aerial and her obsession with detail. She loves to make birds swim and fish take flight. All her designs start with hand-drawn illustrations which are then hand finished on unique products, so each item is slightly different and has a lovely handmade feel.
Qreoh is an interesting idea to help bring products to life which otherwise may not have seen the light of day. It is still very early days but crowd-funding is on the rise and it is playing a huge role in shaping how investment works. Qreoh itself is self funded and is only a team of two as of now. The focus is currently on fashion but they’ll eventually expand into other areas as well.