Incorporated in Aug. 2019, DXM is an equal partnership between the brand Carhartt and four manufacturers - Brandix, Busana Apparel Group, MAS and Shahi Exports. DXM provides a tech platform for consumers to customise and co-create products in a sustainable and agile way. Ultimately, DXM intends to enable apparel consumers to personalise blanks (e.g. jeans, T-shirts, etc.) from regional factories where items can be shipped in c. 48 hours.
DXM leverages the facilities of its manufacturing investors and also extends its geographic footprint via strategic relationships with other factories. Thus far, DXM has run proof-of-concept and secured three commercial customers.
It took nearly two years to bring together four competing manufacturers. Trust was fundamental to getting the partnership off the ground, as well as a desire to set aside differences in pursuit of a shared vision. For brands and retailers that are considering similar ventures, it will be essential to test the appetite of their counterparts to experiment with a new business model.
While two of the manufacturing investors had not previously been suppliers for Carhartt, they signed on as suppliers after DXM launched. This illustrates the potential for brands and retailers to nurture new relationships or deepen existing relationships with suppliers by aligning incentives.
While DXM's specific approach to on-demand customisation for Gen-Z consumers is unlikely to be applicable to all companies or product categories, it highlights the importance of understanding consumer preferences in order to reduce overproduction.
The World Economic Forum is bringing start-ups like DXM into the ESG conversation.
Iconic workwear brand Carhartt is partnering with DXM in a pilot program with loyal customers to customize product on demand. Read about how Carhartt customers can not customize for better fit and functionality in workwear.