Threadless.com has sold millions of dollars of T-shirts by not hiring star designers. How did they do that?
Two young guys with $500 each had an idea to create an online T-shirt design community, called it Threadless and gave it the slogan “Nude no more.” After seven years, they had a Chicago-based corporation with a dedicated international following grabbing expected annual sales of more than $25 million. But how?
Threadless (founded in 2000) just asked their users to submit designs to them. Maybe it was tough at the beginning, but these days, according to its chief creative officer, Jeffrey Kalmikoff, Threadless receives about 125 submissions a day. Wait a second.. What does Threadless have to do with Glennz?
Not so fast! Let me finish about the Threadless. So, after people submit their designs, the voting begins (the voting system is straightforward: users rate each submission on a 0-to-5 scale and can offer comments). Four to six winning members of the weekly T-shirt competition get $2,000 (not so bad, ha?). What is interesting, that there were cases where a winner had a score of only 2.0. Designs that inspire passionate disagreement often get printed because they tend to sell, Kalmikoff says.
So coming back to the point, a guy named Glenn Jones, a graphic designer and illustrator from Auckland, New Zealand had won 21 times and has become a real star on Threadless. “King of the Tees” – that’s how he was titled on the cover of the New Zealand magazine ProDesign. He was one of the best selling designers on Threadless and many people were asking why he doesn’t start his own shirt company. And he did, you can see it here – http://store.glennz.com/. He started his own range of T-shirts, calendars and laptop skins.
I don’t know how this post became more about Threadless.com than Glennz (by the way, ‘GLENN’ from ‘NZ’ = GLENNZ.) but the initial idea was to show you those creative T-shirt ideas from the King of the Tees. And I believe, that those designs have little to do with the T-shirts – it’s just a convenient medium to show ideas (and of course monetize them). Enjoy my panda friends!