Tech

Founder Amira Rasool’s The Folklore Raises $3.4M To Continue Its Movement Of Helping Brands Gain More Economic Opportunities

Founder Amira Rasool’s The Folklore Raises .4M To Continue Its Movement Of Helping Brands Gain More Economic Opportunities

In less than five years, The Folklore has set itself on a path of consistent evolution.

Launched in 2018, founder Amira Rasool created her company as an e-commerce retailer to help African fashion designers gain more economic opportunities. Now, in addition to Africa and the diaspora, The Folklore is catering to more marginalized communities and pivoted to a B2B wholesale platform that’s expanded its services. Moreover, new and existing investors have joined in for its expansion.

According to a press release shared with AFROTECH™, The Folklore has raised $3.4 million in a seed funding round, bringing its total amount raised to $6.2 million. As previously shared by AFROTECH™, in 2022, the company raised $1.7 million in a pre-seed funding round — making Rasool one of the youngest Black women to raise over $1 million in a pre-seed round for a fashion and lifestyle brand.

The Folklore’s seed round was led by early-stage VC firm Benchstrength, the press release discloses. Fellow participants included Slauson & Co., Techstars, and Black Tech Nation Ventures, which are existing investors. 

“Benchstrength is thrilled to invest in The Folklore,” Benchstrength Managing Partner Kenneth Chenault Jr. said in a statement. “We believe the company is building a powerful movement that will help power and scale the next great brands. We are very excited to partner with Amira and her team.”

Rasool shared with AFROTECH™ that Benchstrength’s investment came after she had initially connected with Chenault and he had shown interest in her company, though Benchstrength hadn’t officially launched its fund at the time. However, Rasool was intentional about keeping in touch, which ultimately resulted in Benchstrength following through with investing.

“They were the first call when we kicked off our seed round raise,” Rasool told AFROTECH™.  “And because we had already connected and shared regular updates that helped with getting the deal done quicker. With them as our lead, we then reached out to our existing investors, who we had also kept in the loop with updates on a regular basis.”

She continued, “I think being able to nurture relationships with our existing investors, as well as any potential investors, way ahead of when we were planning to raise has been the key for me. That will continue to be my approach moving forward. Just because it’s not a yes right now does not mean that they’re not interested — it could be a fit later down the road.”

After going from being a solo founder to having support around her including investors, team members, and advisors, Rasool is taking The Folklore into a new and improved direction. In alignment with the seed round, the company has launched The Folklore Source, The Folklore Capital, and The Folklore Hub. Rasool shared that the expansion of the platform and community resources came as a result of she and her team asking brand partners which specific areas they needed support in.

“Although we started our B2B platform with a focus on wholesale, there were certain key basic business elements that brands were missing that are necessary to start or scale a successful wholesale business,” Rasool explained. “Helping these businesses find talent was a key focus area of ours. We did our research into existing talent sourcing options and spoke with brands about why they weren’t tapping into other competitor platforms. A lot of it had to do with the complexity of the user experience, the expense of certain technology, and not being able to rely on the people that they find on these sites.”

According to the press release, brands are able to sign up for membership for The Folklore for $39/month and will gain access to the platform and its resources. The Folklore Source opens the door to vetted freelancers and talent; The Folklore Capital is a loan matchmaker; and The Folklore Hub provides exclusive educational content and downloadable templates.

Additionally, there will be community and educational events for The Folklore members, which advances the platform’s commitment of building community and providing both technology and education to help marginalized groups run successful brands.

“We are really positioning ourselves as a one-stop shop for brands to be able to access the technology that could really help them to streamline their processes, put more money in their pockets, save them time and, most importantly, grow their sales,” Rasool said. “In building tech and services that will cater to them, we want to grow alongside them. For example, some of our brands when we started working with them were making under $5,000 a month, and now they are making $20,000 a month. So, while we cater to emerging brands, we are also going to continue to build our technology to support brands as they grow and become more established.”

To learn more about The Folklore, click here.



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