Epic Sky is the hot new peer-to-peer e-commerce website focused on clothing and accessories designed by teen girls for girls 10-15. As mom to a 12 year old girl, I'm a big fan of tools that help girls feel empowered to achieve their potential. I applaud Marin Mompreneur co-founders, Marian Kwon and Monika Rose, for taking action and couldn't wait to hear more about their website Epic Sky which launched TODAY!
Can you tell me your elevator pitch for Epic Sky?
We're a commerce platform focused on girl empowerment, specifically for 10-15 year old girls. We collaborate with girls to develop products they love and content that inspires them to be their epic selves. Girls can buy from our teen designers and learn to become one themselves. We invite teen and tween girls to participate in building the Epic Sky brand with us.
How do you collaborate with the girls?
We work with girls in three key ways:
1. At the heart of our brand, we collaborate with girls on designing their product line and bringing their collections to market. For example, today's inaugural launch has 17-year-old Antje Worring (a bikini designer) and 16-year-old Ellie Toole (a jewelry designer). Watch for more great new teen girl designs launching this fall and holiday.
2. Girl Advisors across the country collaborate with our team to develop our fashion essentials line; they give us input on silhouettes, graphics, fabrics and color palette.
3. “Girl Talk” is where we highlight girl opinions, relevant expert articles, along with lots of other writing, recipes, illustrations, and photography from our teen contributors
What is the goal for Epic Sky?
Our goal is to bring out the "epic" in every girl. We offer the only online marketplace exclusively dedicated to girls 10-15 where they can get inspired, discover their passions, and collaborate with other girls. We're a mission based brand that goes beyond just selling clothes. We want to give girls an opportunity to share their voices, aspirations, and creativity with their peers.
How did Epic Sky begin?
Two years ago we were in the final stages of a “pitch” for a large client. We were having dinner at a restaurant discussing our families and contemplating what we were going to do if we didn’t win the business.
We both had daughters, and we agreed that there needed to be more support for girls, including realistic aspirations besides external beauty and fame. We thought, “Wouldn't be great to have a place where every girl could express her own genius?”
At that moment, a 13-year-old boy walked into the restaurant wearing a t-shirt that said, “Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo”; we laughed out loud and had an ah-ha moment. We could create a brand for girls that helps them find their passion through inspirational content as well as providing them with clothing that encourages confidence and self-expression.
Turns out that is where market opportunity is and where girls need more support. There are few clothes for girls 10-15 that parents and girls like, that fit them properly, are age appropriate, and are designed by and meant for them. Girls don’t want to wear the young brands on the market. And, the older teen brands are too mature. We said if we don’t win this business we are going to do it. We came in second out of 30 agencies and knew this was something we had to pursue.
What made this idea stand out?
We researched the market, along with a need from our own daughters. This segment accounts for $13 billion in clothing and accessories. Since we have spent our entire career building consumer brands, we knew it was a big opportunity. We worked on the business plan for two years while working our day jobs. Eventually we were able to pull together a team and get some initial funding.
Walk me through the business model from locating talent and selling product?
We have developed a process called the Girl Accelerator Program. This is our vetting process where we look at what our goals are for girls, trends, and what girls are doing to see if it dovetails with our mission. The girls bring the creativity and we bring the business wisdom.
For instance, our swimwear designer, Antje, came to us with amazing designs for adult women but she was struggling with manufacturing. We fell in love with what she was trying to do but her designs were too risqué for the girls we target. Our product team collaborated with her vision; she redesigned a line for the tween market; we took it to a manufacturer and discussed with her fabrics, colors, and quality of the prototype. Then we gathered feedback from our girl advisors and got her product to market. In turn, Antje received mentorship, access to resources, and a future royalty on sales. We want to help these girls get their visions out there.
Are you expanding to other areas such as music and art?
Right now we are focusing our first year on clothing and jewelry. But, we also publish lots of of articles about teen girls who are making music and art.
Why girls between 10-15?
There’s a real lack of product options for this age group, especially for middle schoolers. Research shows that self confidence plummets during these years and it doesn’t rebound until girls are older. We want to support that transition time. We work with teen designers because this gives tween girls aspirational, relatable, and authentic role models.
Marian Kwon and Monika Rose are the Co-Founders of Epic Sky, a website focused on girls 10-15 by building a community created by girls, for girls. Learn more about how to get your creative t(w)een involved, shop for fun fashions, and get inspired! Connect with them online at EpicSky, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.