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3-D Printing Promises Goods Quicker, Cheaper, More Local, and More Customized



(p. B3) With the rise of new technologies like smartphones and 3-D printers, fashion start-ups like Feetz are changing the ways goods are ordered, made and sold.

Like Ms. Beard, several founders of these companies don't have fashion backgrounds. Instead, they consider technology the answer to off-the rack, mass-produced goods, which are increasingly shunned by millennials. Consumers with hard-to-find sizes -- like petite, or big and tall -- will find shopping simpler.

Traditionally, manufacturing is the most expensive part of the retail supply chain. Creating goods in small batches is difficult and costly. Most are manufactured overseas, and shipping goods to the United States adds time and cost to the process. So even "fast fashion" can take about six weeks to hit store shelves.

The beauty of instant, customized fashion, experts say, is that goods can be made at a lower cost and more quickly -- yet in a personalized style.


. . .


These are still early days for 3-D printing, said Uli Becker, the former chief executive of Reebok and an investor in Feetz. The offerings are not very diversified, and they are limited to basic goods. And fabric cannot yet be printed.

But he sees great potential for 3-D printing. "You can start producing in America, for America," he said. "Production facilities can be in the same place where you sell products, which creates jobs."


. . .


"We're a technology company that creates T-shirts," said Walker Williams, 27, chief executive of Teespring, who started the company with Evan Stites-Clayton, a friend from Brown University. "The future of fashion is in smaller brands that have relationships with customers."



For the full story, see:

CONSTANCE GUSTKE. "ENTREPRENEURSHIP; With Analytics and 3-D Printers, a Faster Fashion Just for You." The New York Times (Thurs., SEPT. 15, 2016): B3.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 14, 2016, and has the title "ENTREPRENEURSHIP; Your Next Pair of Shoes Could Come From a 3-D Printer.")






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