A Year In Review

Jul 14, 2015 · 4 min read

Well, more like a year and a half — that’s about how long we’ve been working on Electroloom, and we wanted to take a brief moment to recap how far we have come, and where we plan to go.

A timeline of our progress

The image above is pretty important to us, for a number of reasons. Most obviously, it serves as a good snapshot of the progress we’ve made. As we continue to work on our technology, this timeline will grow. But it also gives us an important piece of perspective:

New technologies are difficult to develop, but we’ve already come a long way.

Textile manufacturing has been around, in certain respects, for thousands of years. That’s a long time for incremental progress to be made, new advancements in science to be achieved, and for existing technologies to gain scale and efficiency. By comparison we’ve managed to take our technology from concept to reality in just a year and a half.

And in this year in particular, we made some crucial steps that bring us closer to commercializing this technology.

HAX

Back in February, we announced that we had joined HAX, the world’s premier hardware accelerator based in Shenzhen, China. We quickly set up shop in their office and tapped into the massive hardware ecosystem that Shenzhen has to offer.

A picture of the team working in the Shenzhen office

It is difficult to describe what it is like to build hardware in Shenzhen. Our office was situated in Huaqiangbei, home to some of the world’s largest electronics markets. Sourcing components was as easy as walking a few blocks away, or placing an order on Taobao, which frequently resulted in same or next day deliveries (including CNC, laser cut, or 3D printed parts).

Aaron and Marcus visiting a linear motion market for prototyping components

Because of this environment, it is often said that 1 week’s worth of work in Shenzhen is equivalent to 1 month’s work in the United States. While we can’t exactly verify how accurate that statement is, the speed of work was a huge advantage to our prototyping process.

As a result, we spent January-May of this year iterating prototype after prototype until we hit a major milestone: our first seamless, wearable garment manufactured with our technology.

Electroloom garments in white — a tank-top and a skirt

HAX afforded us an amazing opportunity. We spent 3.5 months working alongside 14 other companies from around the world, all with the same goal: to use our time there to bring our products closer to launch.

Kickstarter

Upon returning to the United States from China, we launched our Kickstarter campaign to source alpha users. At first glance, it was an unconventional Kickstarter. We were not launching a full product or seeking to achieve massive scale. Instead, we wanted to leverage the passionate Kickstarter community to find our first small batch of users who wanted to become Electroloom Developers. These users will be crucial for us, as they will manufacture, design, and create with our Alpha Machines, providing us with critical feedback along the way to better inform a future commercial product.

The campaign was successfully funded on June 16, 2015

Since the campaign closed, we’ve already begun taking phone calls and setting up meetings with our machine backers. We even ran into some of them at Decoded Fashion’s Tokyo Summit after Aaron gave a presentation on the technology.

Since the close of the campaign, one thing has become extraordinarily clear — our backers are eager to begin using Electroloom so they can explore and create the world of printed fabrics. We are now transitioning into our next big build phase — in which we fine tune our machinery, and get our technology ready for our backers.

The Future

For now, the future is about building. And not just the hardware, but also our team. We’ve stayed small and lean for the past 1.5 years, but now that we are picking up steam, we are ready for a larger, more dynamic team. The end of 2015, and certainly onward into 2016, will bring us more trips to China, more hires to help pave the way for the future of printed fabrics, and more updates to the world on the progress we are making with Electroloom.

Thanks for sticking with us so far — we’re excited to keep you posted.

❤ the Electroloom team

Electroloom Blog

3D Printer for Fabrics

Thanks to Joseph White and Marcus Foley

    Aaron Rowley

    Written by

    Writing, designing, and attempting to make a difference. Co-founder at @VueGlasses. Previously @Electroloom.

    Electroloom Blog

    3D Printer for Fabrics

    Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
    Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
    Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade