If you’ve stayed in a hotel that’s worked with WeaveUp, chances are you’ve slept on or touched something that went through their platform.
Operating primarily within the hospitality industry, the Durham-based startup took the usually expensive and timely analog process of producing customized textiles and flipped it on its head by digitizing the process via their software platform.
WeaveUp derives most of its revenue from a B2B model, offering customers web-enabled customization tools and digital print room solutions. WeaveUp PRO, or “Print Room Optimizer,” is software that automates the process of producing textiles by eliminating the need for print operators to manually input each design and also label the printed fabric. WeaveUp PRO automatically adds metadata to fabric samples, and the software allows multiple different designs to be printed in less set-up time than one design used to take.
On the B2C side, weaveup.com houses a retail fabric store that connects independent artists with companies and customers around the world.
If the textile marketplace concept sounds familiar, you may be thinking of Spoonflower, another Durham-based startup in the fabric and home decor realm that connects makers and consumers with artists. GrepBeat “met…” with Allison Sloan Polish, president of Spoonflower, back in March.
Despite the similarities to Spoonflower, WeaveUp’s Chief Marketing Officer Steve DeSantis says WeaveUp is genuinely unique in the technology it offers. WeaveUp’s software allows users to customize designs by changing things like color, size and repeats of a pattern.
DeSantis says WeaveUp’s online marketplace is a relatively small part of their business. More often, WeaveUp services professionals who purchase fabric as part of their business—for example, architects and interior designers—and corporate buyers for hotels and apparel.
In the textile world, color accuracy is critical. DeSantis explains that traditionally, samples take two to three revisions—and up to three weeks—to get the color exactly right. With WeaveUp, in two to four days, clients receive a spot-on sample. DeSantis says of the thousands of samples they’ve produced, none have been sent back because of color inaccuracy.
The end-to-end WeaveUp platform is even faster. President and Co-Founder Flint Davis says he sometimes calls his clients on FaceTime while they order their custom design, so they can watch it come out of the printer seconds later. That speed helps the clients win contracts.
“From the time somebody sits and says, ‘Okay, I want to order something,’ to the time it’s available to the print operator to rip is a few seconds.” Davis said. “We automate that entire process, and it becomes a one-click thing.”
From internal division to global footprint
Davis began developing the software that is now WeaveUp while working for Valley Forge Fabrics, a Florida company that makes textiles and designs for the hospitality industry and is now a WeaveUp customer. Valley Forge hired Davis in 2013 to build an internal division leveraging digital printing.
By 2015, Davis had built a platform that he thought could be valuable to others. He moved the company to Durham, a place he described as “the heart of the textile region.” WeaveUp now has 15 employees, with two-thirds of the team dedicated to development.
The company has raised several strategic rounds of funding—first a Series Seed from Springs Window Fashion, a WeaveUp customer and a premier window covering company; and most recently a Series A from Jo-Ann Stores, another customer and a large fabric and craft retailer.
And, WeaveUp is expanding its reach. They already do business across the globe from Europe to Australia and Latin America, and they’re looking to move into Africa and Asia.
“We’re really sort of powering the digital on-demand textile business,” DeSantis said. “Understanding what kind of growth is going to come out of that is very exciting.”