Threadless in inc magazine
June 14, 2008
“Nickell started talking about his company.
Threadless, he explained, ran design competitions on an online social
network. Members of the network submitted their ideas for T-shirts —
hundreds each week — and then voted on which ones they liked best.
Hundreds of thousands of people were using the site as a kind of
community center, where they blogged, chatted about designs, socialized
with their fellow enthusiasts — and bought a ton of shirts at $15
each. Revenue was growing 500 percent a year, despite the fact that the
company had never advertised, employed no professional designers, used
no modeling agency or fashion photographers, had no sales force, and
enjoyed no retail distribution. As result, costs were low, margins were
above 30 percent, and — because community members told them precisely
which shirts to make — every product eventually sold out. Nickell’s
company had never produced a flop.”
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