Betabrand has made a fashion impact by virtually collaborating with its customers. The startup ecosystem in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is also a fashion ecosystem, even if fashion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Every scene has its sartorial needs, and fashion must perform the tricky business of both leading and responding to customers. Come to think of it, that particular two-way street is part of every modern startup’s formula for success. You listen to the customer’s needs, you intuit, and then you deliver a product they want — even if they didn’t know they wanted it.
One of Betabrand’s most successful results is the work yoga pants, or “dress pant yoga pants.” They’re pants that look terrific at the meeting but will breathe with you as you breathe deep in the downward dog. It’s a product customized for its environment — a very 21st century concept. Coco Chanel might have loved it. For every pair of red-soled Louboutin’s heading into a museum gala on Fifth Avenue in New York, there are work yoga pants heading from the MacBook to the yoga mat in Northern California. They’re not tailor made but they’re tailored to the lifestyle. Only problem is some items are so popular, the website says they won’t ship for months! In startup world, that kind of demand is called a “high class problem.”