Meet the Woman Pioneering 3D-Knitting, Veronika Harbick of Thursday Finest
Whether creating and producing some of the first web video series or pioneering the now-standard content partnerships with online influencers and digital platforms, Veronika Harbick has always lived at the forefront of technology. Her experience in digital and experiences as a fashion consumer led to her acute observation that many brands were unable to iterate their products in response to real time customer needs and conversations, specifically in the fashion space. Veronika started studying 3D-knitwear engineering and technical fibers years before this was a hot conversation topic, in order to explore the possibility of responding to immediate customer requirements. Ultimately, Veronika founded Thursday Finest, re-inventing the apparel industry from the ground up using 3D technology to create custom garments that truly bring the customer to the forefront of apparel shopping. Read on to get the inside scoop on startup life, 3D printed garments and a growing product line.
How did you start Thursday Finest and what path led you here? As a consumer, I would go shopping and think that there are so many products out there. (And, there are!) Until I would get into the fitting room and nothing fit. The sleeves were too long. The tops were too short. It just wasn’t the right shade of blue.
It was exhausting and frustrating. Personally, clothes and shopping stopped being fun. On top of that, I didn’t know what was made in poor working conditions or what would fit. Every store felt the same. Some were just more expensive.
So my husband and I created Thursday Finest two years ago with the mission to create the first human-centric fashion company. We imagined a company that listened and responded to client needs, where products could be customized and reengineered for better fit and more fun. The company would have products made in the US or even more locally, in a store, right before your eyes.
Since launching we have developed a growing assortment of customizable socks, hats, ties, bows and scarves. We created the first store where customers could order products, see them being made on 3D-knitting machines and walk out in 30 mins.
How has TF been received? The response was even stronger than we expected. We have been featured in Vogue, Colette, Forbes, WWD, Design-Milk, Wallpaper and among others.
Can you tell us how 3D printing garments works? How is this technology evolving? We make all of our products individually and on demand using 3D-knitting and manufacturing automation. This enables us to customize each product to your granular fit, style and color preference.
3D-knitting is conceptually similar to 3D printing in that you are layering yarn or plastic, but the machines and the results are very different. Versions of these machines have been around since the 80s and 90s, but no one was using them to make custom apparel and accessories. We saw a huge opportunity.
This new manufacturing process enables us to do some fun things - offer granular sizes for an unparalleled fit, reengineer traditional products that have remained unchanged for years and make products like socks without seams for a comfort like never before. Plus, it means you get to design your own apparel!
What are some of the challenges you’ve had along the way? What isn’t a challenge? There are so many challenges in starting a disruptive company you lose count. Every day there is a new challenge and a new opportunity to change the way things were done for the better.
We are fundamentally changing how things are made, bought and sold that takes new solutions at every step of the process. From identifying new yarn fibers to learning 3D-knitwear programming and product manufacturing to building a custom webpage to handle customization to customer education around 3D-knitting, we’ve experienced challenges in each part of the business.
You have to be resilient in the face of obstacles. You have to ask a lot of questions and be creative and resourceful in finding solutions.
What is it like working with your husband every day? How do you find a work/life balance? We met working together 11 years ago. We were cubicle mates! We respected each other’s intelligence, commitment to quality and work ethic. We loved working together and we hired each other for smaller projects before starting Thursday Finest together.
Some days, we spend side-by-side for 14 straight hours working on the business only to turn to each other at the end of the day to say “I miss you. I feel like we haven’t hung out all day!” We are really fortunate to have found life and businesses partners in each other.
Any startup is all encompassing. There isn’t work/life balance in the traditional sense in our lives. Work and life bleed into each other and become one. Instead of treating them as separate, we have a fluidity to our lives.
I wouldn’t recommend that most people work with their significant other. I would recommend that people work with someone who they trust, someone communicate well with, someone who shares your vision, someone sharp, someone who has complementary skills and someone who works hard. If that’s your partner and you love working together, that’s a real gift.
Okay, wow. Where do you get your motivation? I’m naturally a very positive, happy person. I’m so grateful to be alive, to have an incredible family and a wonderful husband and to have the opportunity to get up every day and work to create a better vision of the future.
I work really hard every day. And, I love it. I love the journey of building something great.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you can see how everything you do impacts your business. Seeing that impact is motivating to keep chipping away. I love to build things and even when it’s hard, it’s incredible to have the opportunity to do something you love.
What is your platform of preference? Where can you make your voice heard? Where do you get your news? I absolutely love Twitter. Twitter gives you the ability to join any conversation ...even if you weren't explicitly invited. You can easily connect with top thinkers, CEOs and influencers. It’s an incredible tool for connection, news and ideas. I’m on it every day.
What advice would you give someone thinking about participating in a startup accelerator? I’d say, know why you’re joining and what you want to get out of it. The right accelerator can help you rethink your business, help you recruit new customers and help you raise money. It can connect you to incredible entrepreneurs who become your friends and your support network. It can connect you with experts and advisors in your field. But, it’s not going to build your business so you have to be at a stage in your business where you are able to run with that advice and those connections.
In 2016, we were fortunate to be part of the NYFTLab, a Springboard accelerator for female founded fashion technology startups. The network, support and partners we were connected to were invaluable for our business.
My advice is to start networking early with people who have gone through those programs. Understand which ones are best for you and build champions who can support your application.
We are so excited to announce the launch of our first line of customizable sweaters called - the Better Sweater.
Here’s the big ask. What’s next for you and Thursday Finest? We are so excited to announce the launch of our first line of customizable sweaters called - the Better Sweater.
After speaking to male customers, we found that there were simple problems men experienced with sweaters that aren’t being met. So we created a better fitting, better designed and better feeling sweater. It has customizable sleeves, torso, neck trim and color. Like all of our products, it’s made individually, on demand in the US.
You can learn more about them on thursdayfinest.com We’ll be shipping gift cards for the holidays so that guys can customize them to their preferences.
FB commentary: We had the opportunity to check these out and the hem allows the TF better sweater to sit perfectly on the body - no more muffin top gents! Just waiting on women’s…
Last question, what does FemmBoss mean to you? A FemmBoss is a woman who is courageous, strong, centered, kind, comfortable and confident in herself. She’s a great friend. She’s gives zero fucks about the things that don’t matter and focuses on the things that do. She knows she has power to change the world and is doing just that.
Thank you to Nikka for sharing her time and story. Comment below or on Instagram for her direct feedback.