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Monday 24th of June 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

The Company Behind House Of Blueberry Is Bringing Diversity To The Realm Of Online Fashion.

Posted On : February 2, 2023

Oscar Alochi

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While inclusion is unquestionably vital in the real world, it has only recently started to get attention among individuals in the industry because the virtual world is still in its early stages of growth.
Only a few companies have genuinely implemented inclusion into the core of their business practices, so the value is still filtering through everything from company leadership to product offerings.

House of Blueberry, a brand of online clothing, is one of them. Gizem “Mishi” McDuff started the business in 2012, however, the landscape at the time was very different from what it is today, with regard to digital fashion.
Because she wanted more digital apparel alternatives for the open-world platform Second Life, Mishi originally entered the industry.

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where her dissatisfaction with the restricted selection for her avatar was evident. In reaction, she began creating her own clothing, largely using Photoshop, and over time, she developed the brand into what it is now.
But this was not the start of Mishi’s tech career. She oversaw a variety of start-up businesses before joining House of Blueberry, including the marketing and gaming data company Peanut Labs. She also briefly served as Sony’s head of publishing.
She eventually came across virtual concerts and otherworldly avatars, a realm that piqued her interest and inspired her to play a bigger role in this sector.

In an interview with FashionUnited, Mishi remarked, “Before I knew it, House of Blueberry was earning one million dollars in revenue each year from other people buying my creations.
I essentially came onto an underserved market of metaverse users that want stunning, current pieces crafted with the same care as IRL (in real life) fashion.

New funding and multi-platform accessibility
The brand moved from its Second Life home to introduce digital wearables into The Sims and Roblox, an open-world platform where it has already amassed a community of over 13,000 in just a few months, as the industry started to rapidly evolve.
This was the beginning of the true scaling of House of Blueberry, which saw the company grow out of its Second Life home.
The business also disclosed earlier this month that it had obtained a six million dollar finance to support its initiatives.
Direct-to-avatar products, which may be purchased through in-game markets and catalogs on various virtual platforms, are what makes them appealing to customers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp5-trUAVP0/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In terms of representation, Mishi has also overcome obstacles. She belonged to a minority group because she founded a company in the tech sector as a woman.
However, her business acumen has only been influenced by her experience, as evidenced by the company’s 20 employees, 90% of whom are women, and the products it produces.
While not entirely on purpose, Mishi continued, she enjoys looking for strong women to collaborate with in order to increase the representation of women in metaverse-related businesses, where just 9% of founders and CEOs are female.

Female representation in tech and gaming
This has also influenced the way House of Blueberry approaches its product selection. Mishi said the following about the subject: “Given that women and girls make up roughly half of all gamers, I think it’s imperative to expand representation in the gaming business, particularly when it comes to female entrepreneurs and leaders.

If women aren’t involved in the development of games, how can we expect them to reflect the interests and desires of female gamers?
One of my key objectives, when I founded House of Blueberry, was to make a brand in the digital industry that was developed by and for women.
The merchandise produced by House of Blueberry reflects this sentiment, as do the partners it chooses to work with.

“I believe that people are embracing or finding beauty in what they might often consider to be a fault and receiving that support from their group.
It is assisting with such insecurities. It is undoing the damage. Customers want to be free to embrace their actual selves and be distinctive, not a flawless appearance, in my opinion.

Self-expression matters
Building a feeling of community is one of House of Blueberry’s distinguishing ideals, as seen by its most recent partnerships with modern streetwear brand Boy Meets Girl and Roblox influencer Leah Ashe, for which the company unveiled a digital clothing line and held a virtual event.
It is noteworthy that traditional fame does not resonate with the digital fashion community as much as those who are already fully involved in this industry, many of whom are gamers.
They prefer to watch entertainment from these kinds of influencers, which encourages more devoted participation.

As a result, Mishi said, “we were able to connect to the Leah Ash community, a group of people that follow her exploits in virtual spaces. People aren’t purchasing into a specific brand or product; they’re buying into a community.” It’s even more personal.
The ties and allegiance to that influencer are stronger.
Customers now view artists as influencers in their own right.

Mishi aims to continue implementing these concepts into House of Blueberry’s virtual world presence in the future by embracing its four core values: creator-led, community-obsessed, data-informed, and partnership-ready.

“Gaming communities and the amazing creators who occupy them are at the heart of what we do,” she said.
“House of Blueberry wants to be present on all digital platforms where self-expression is valued. We intend to strive toward this aim this year while upholding our key principles.

Content courtesy of Fashion United & NFH 

 

 

 

Oscar Alochi

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