Brrrº, the textile technology startup that produces a uniquely cooling fabric, has closed on an additional $1 million in funding to continue their rapid expansion into a store near you. This additional capital comes in as the Atlanta-based company plans to launch products with Gap Inc., Joseph A. Banks, Downlite and more.
The startup has developed a yarn with a “Triple Chill Effect” — it’s made from natural cooling minerals, a special fiber core that promotes moisture wicking and a proprietary fabric pattern that increases air flow. They say their fabric reduces skin temperature by up to 3 degrees fahrenheit in 20 minutes.
“The whole purpose of brrrº is to bring performance fabric into everyday use cases,” says co-founder Mary-Cathryn Kolb, a long-time clothing retail exec. Prior to brrrº Kolb was most recently at Director of Sales at Spanx, and before that, the first hire at TOMS Shoes.
“We see performance fabrics on a sports field, but the ability to need that performance in everyday use cases is a market that needs our attention,” explains Kolb.
Over the past year they have focused on a number of those everyday use cases. In clothing, she highlights developments in denim and men’s shirting.
“We look at product categories that have a high penetration to consumer usage,” Kolb says. “When you take denim for example, that’s just a staple in everybody’s closet.”
“To be able to have a jean that you can live in, that’s breathable, that doesn’t get swampy as you go about your day and that can keep you dry and cool, is a real home run.”
Other products go beyond clothes. The team is tackling bedding — sheets, comforters, pillow cases — in an effort to give consumers a better night’s sleep.
“To be able to have sheets help you sleep better by dropping your skin by one or two degrees, enhances the customer experience,” Kolb says. She likens it to the familiar feeling of switching to the cool side of the pillow.
An additional category they tackled was automobile textiles. Hot car seats and seatbelt are a real problem for automobile manufacturers in the summer months or in hot climates. brrrº’s technology could solve that.
Kolb says that their revenue model has shifted since the company’s early days. They started off by designing their own clothing products to test the market and show the viability of the fabric. In 2016 they had two collections in department stores.
Now, they license with brands such as Gap to sell them fabric made with brrrº’s cooling fibers. That’s currently their biggest revenue stream, according to Kolb.
However, she’s optimistic about another revenue stream they’ve recently begun exploring: direct-to-manufacturer. That allows them to sell their yarn directly to mills all over the world and take a fee from the finished garment.
The company has now has raised a total of $3 million in outside funding and plans to hire to augment its team of 10. Kolb says they’ve projected $10 million in gross revenue for 2018 based on product delivery for spring 2019.
“We’re launching with some brands we’re really excited about. We’re debuting our denim this year with one of the most recognized denim manufacturers in the world,” Kolb says.
“It’s really exciting to see those fruits of our labor.”