FAQs for Elevate Grant Program
What is Elevate?
Elevate is our grant and mentorship program designed to promote a more diverse retail landscape by supporting the next wave of entrepreneurs of color in fashion. The program will provide financial grants and mentorship opportunities to underrepresented entrepreneurs by sharing resources, unique data insights and expertise to help grow their business.
Who is eligible?
Applicants must be:
- 18 years of age or older as of the date the application is submitted.
- Eligible to work in the United States.
- An early-stage* majority POC-owned business in the United States that sells Women’s, Men’s or Kid’s apparel, shoes and/or accessories. (“POC” means you identify as Asian, Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.)
- Applicants may apply for one business only.
*An early-stage business means:
- Your business has been operating a minimum of 2 years.
- You are working to grow a customer base and/or strengthen your operations.
- You are currently selling physical products: apparel, shoes and/or accessories.
- You are generating revenue between $50,000 and $1,000,000 per fiscal year.
For more details on the eligibility requirements, please refer to the Elevate Program Terms and Conditions.
What are the requirements to be considered a POC-owned business?
Applicants must self-identify as Asian, Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiin or Other Pacific Islander and hold majority stake ownership of their business. For more details on the eligibility requirements, please refer to the Elevate Program Terms and Conditions.
My business has been operating for more than two (2) years, but we have not yet incorporated. Am I still eligible?
Yes, you are eligible if you can provide proof that you’ve been operating for two (2) or more years. Being incorporated is not a requirement.
Can I apply if my business is based outside of the US?
At this time, only businesses based in the United States are eligible to apply.
Can I apply if I am an employee of Stitch Fix?
No. Employees of Stitch Fix and their immediate family members (spouses, parents, siblings, children) are not eligible to apply.
What is the amount of the grant?
Each grantee will receive $25,000.
How will the financial award be paid to the grantees?
The grantees will receive the cash award in two (2) installments. The first payment at the start of the program, the second at the end of the program. For more details on distribution of financial awards, please refer to the Elevate Program Terms and Conditions.
Do I need to pay back the grant?
No, grantees will not be asked to pay back the grant.
Are there any restrictions or expectations for how the grant funds are used?
We expect recipients to use the grant funding for legitimate business expenses in line with what they outlined in their application. We will not be monitoring how recipients choose to use the funds.
How do I apply?
You can access the application here. Please note, applicants are unable to save an “application in progress.” We recommend applicants review application questions in advance, and create a copy to finalize their entries and save personal records before submitting through the application portal. After submitting written responses through the portal, applicants will receive an email including a unique applicant ID and Box.com link to upload their documents to complete the application process.
How do I upload my documents as part of the application?
After submitting written responses through the portal, applicants will receive an email including a unique applicant ID and Box.com link to upload their documents to complete the application process.
Can I start my application and finish it at a later time?
Applicants are unable to save an “application in progress.” We recommend applicants review application questions in advance, and create a copy to finalize their entries and save personal records before submitting through the application portal.
Will I need to provide additional documents or information after I submit my application?
Yes. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide a:
- Digital Lookbook or other photo images of your merchandise, and line sheets.
- 2-3 minute video that shares additional details: Who you are, what your business is and why you’re the right fit for the Elevate program.
Is there a deadline to apply?
Yes, all applications must be submitted and received by October 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
How will I know my application was received?
After submitting written responses through the portal, applicants will receive an email including a unique applicant ID and Box.com link to upload their documents to complete the application process. Once your documents have been uploaded, you will receive an email confirming your application is complete and received.
Will I need to provide additional documents or information if I am selected as a Finalist?
Yes. If you’re selected as a Finalist, we’ll reach out for more detailed business and financial information, including financial statements and product images and information that we will use to evaluate you as a finalist. We will also ask for two (2) references.
What will recipients be awarded in this program?
We will present six (6) grantees with the following:
- A $25,000 cash grant to support business expenses.
- Ongoing support from our Algorithms team to leverage data insights to understand and improve the product-market fit of their designs with potential clients, including detailed reports built with the aid of Stitch Fix’s data science tools.
- Individual monthly product-to-market advisory support via video conference over the duration of the program based on the grantee’s expressed support interests.
- One call with Stitch Fix Founder, Katrina Lake and/or Stitch Fix CEO, Elizabeth Spaulding during the course of the program.
- One call with our external program advisor, Harlem’s Fashion Row Founder and CEO, Brandice Daniel, during the course of the program.
- Amplification through our marketing channels to highlight each grantee to our community.
- At the end of the program, we will place wholesale orders for grantee’s products to be sold on the Stitch Fix platform.
- Access to our partner, SPS Commerce’s Lift Program, including a two-year membership that provides complimentary technology products across Fulfillment (EDI), Assortment and Analytics.
Who is reviewing applications?
Applications will be reviewed by a group of Stitch Fix employees and external advisors from our partner, Harlem’s Fashion Row.
How are applications reviewed?
After confirmation of meeting eligibility requirements, each application is reviewed and evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Your Vision and Mission: Why you started your business and what it stands for.
- Your Brand: How your brand is positioned and its opportunity in the market.
- Your Plan: How your business plan is aimed at growth, and how this program could support it.
Will offering merchandise that would service Stitch Fix’s current client base well improve an applicant’s chance of selection?
While it is not a requirement to currently offer merchandise that would succeed on our platform today, each applicant should be interested in growing or expanding their business in this market. Where we believe we can share the most valuable insights is in the markets we operate today across Women’s, Men’s and Kid’s apparel and accessories ranging from value, to mid-tier and up to premium price points. Our intention with this program is to support your business with insights to succeed both in the retail industry at large, and within the Stitch Fix ecosystem. Through the mentorship and ongoing support from our Merchandising and Algorithms team, we will work closely with each grantee to provide feedback and place wholesale orders for each grantee’s product to be sold on Stitch Fix’s platform
How will my portfolio data and designs be used by Stitch Fix?
Portfolio data will be used solely to evaluate applications and will not otherwise be shared without the applicant’s approval, and will not be used for Stitch Fix design purposes.
Will my competitive business and financial information be kept confidential?
Yes. The only people who will be privy to the information in your application will be the selection committee.
If my application is not chosen, can I submit another application?
Applicants may apply for one business only. We will allow one submission per company per year.
How will I know if I have been selected as a Finalist?
All Finalists will be contacted via email by our selection committee.
When will the Finalist interviews take place?
Finalist interviews will take place in December.
When will the winners be announced?
The grantees will be announced in January.
Will all Finalists be notified?
Yes, all Finalists will be notified in December.
Can I send samples of my merchandise for review?
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept samples of merchandise for review, but ask that all applicants share images of their merchandise as part of the application.
If I apply and am not accepted this year, am I eligible to apply again in following years?
Yes, you can apply again next year.
For more details, please refer to the Grant program Terms and Conditions.