Work of the Future

Shimmy Upskill

Upskilling garment workers for new jobs in the age of automation

Team Lead

Sarah Krasley

Basic Information

Our Solution

Shimmy Upskill: Empowering garment workers through play

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Our tagline:

A learning environment utilizing game mechanics to upskill digitally illiterate garment workers as sewing automation is introduced to factories.

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Our pitch:

Shimmy Technologies is an early-stage company that believes the future of work in the apparel industry should be fun, dignified, and efficient—and driven by a people-first mindset. Our SaaS-based applications help prepare apparel brands and manufacturers for the future of work by automating manual processes and helping humans attain new skills, aiding them in their transition to become the flexible workforce of the future.

Shimmy Technologies uses a cloud-based, artificial intelligence (AI) platform to accelerate conventional apparel design workflows while laying the groundwork for apparel’s next chapter: mass customization, circularity, and automation.

  1. We help apparel brands speed up their product development cycles, lower COGs by better rationalizing SKUs, and earn more incremental revenue by having flexible, digital models ripe for personalization and customization.
  2. We help apparel manufacturers train their workers so they can increase capacity to do more digital patternmaking, use material with less waste, and increase accuracy in changes to physical prototypes.
  3. We help governments scale digital literacy initiatives to diversify export industries ahead of automation reshoring garment production closer to demand for clothes.

We are building our applications to eventually serve the entire design through manufacturing process while employing lean start-up tactics.

Our latest project is the development of Shimmy Upskill. Our goal with this application was to answer the question of how to retain workers most vulnerable to job loss as a result of automation technologies. The apparel industry, made up of a predominantly female workforce, is witnessing an upheaval. With mounting pressure to increase speed to market, the sector is using more digital patterns and 3D CAD models in its product development and merchandizing workflows. These digital models, in turn, are defining the tasks operated by new sewing robots, which may drastically reduce the number of workers needed for mass production of clothing.

We believe those who can operate and program these robots will be the workforce of the future. Adopting digitalization and/or automation will require garment industry workers to learn new skills in highly technical CAD software or risk being left behind. Anticipating this change, we want to protect workers’ right to livelihood by preparing them for career paths inside and outside of the apparel sector. Using pattern shapes that they already understand, we are building a gamified training platform that enhances digital literacy and other transferable job skills. 

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Watch our elevator pitch:

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

New York, NY, USA
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The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:

  • Upskilling, Reskilling, and Job Matching
  • Human + Machine
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If you selected other, please explain the dimension of the Challenge your solution addresses here:

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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot

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About Your Solution

What makes our solution innovative:

The apparel industry is moving towards localized manufacturing and mass customization by adopting automation and artificial intelligence (AI). However, these technological changes have serious social impacts, specifically the mass displacement of 75 million garment workers around the globe. Most of these workers are women, concentrated in low-income countries with limited economic opportunities.

We are tackling this challenge by building new technologies that optimize workflows for apparel brands and manufacturers while amplifying humans' unique capacity for creativity, design, and empathy. In this way, we not only enhance the apparel industry’s efficiency and productivity, but also create dignified jobs for workers. 

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How technology is integral to our solution:

The system set up to design and manufacture clothing is outdated and inefficient. Changes in buying behavior, pressures to automate, and cost efficiency measures are driving the apparel industry to adopt 3D technology to design clothing. The industry’s slow pace has yielded a major shortage of talent with expertise in clothing construction and 3D modeling skills.

3D apparel CAD platforms themselves are difficult to learn and use. Advances in touchscreens, speech-to-text, and AI have been essential to remove typical human computer interaction barriers and reach a population in need of higher skilled work who can bridge this talent gap.

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Our solution goals over the next 12 months:

Shimmy 12 month goal timeline
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Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:

Shimmy Tech scaling over next 5 years
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https://www.shimmy.io/

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Our promotional video:

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https://youtu.be/hQ2vGB_2ZHs

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The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Urban
  • Lower
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The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:

  • East and Southeast Asia
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The countries where we currently operate:

  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia
  • United States
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How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:

Shimmy Tech Reach & Retainment Strategy
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How many people we are currently serving with our solution:

Shimmy Tech Current Beneficiaries
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How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:

Future Beneficiaries (12 months & 3 years)
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About Your Team

How our solution team is organized:

For-Profit

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How many people work on our solution team:

6

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How many years we have been working on our solution:

1-2 years

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The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:

Shimmy Tech Team.jpeg
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Our revenue model:

For Shimmy Technologies overall, revenue comes from enterprise software sales and consulting. Eventually, Shimmy Upskill will be a solution sold to factories, brands, and/or government agencies to train their workforces.

Shimmy Tech Revenue Model.jpeg


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Partnership Potential

Why we are applying to Solve:

SOLVE gives Shimmy Technologies an opportunity to improve our product line by accessing potential cross-sector partners and learning from the brightest minds in the technology and social innovation field. More specifically, we applied to:

  • Network with organizations such as Google and GE to scale our product.
  • Consult with MIT academics, such as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.
  • Connect with non-governmental organizations, including UN Women and World Bank, to understand gender and development issues in target countries.
  • Collaborate with other SOLVE teams, such as Digital Citizen Fund, whose mission is closely aligned with Shimmy Technologies.
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The key barriers for our solution:

Shimmy Tech Key Barriers
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The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers:

  • Peer-to-Peer Networking
  • Technology Mentorship
  • Connections to the MIT campus
  • Impact Measurement Validation and Support
  • Grant Funding
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Solution Team

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