Type of site
|Headquarters||401 N. Morgan Chicago,|
|Key people||Jake Nickell (founder, CEO)|
Jacob DeHart (founder, CTO 2000-2007)
Thomas Ryan (CEO, 2008-2012)
Jeffrey Kalmikoff (CCO, 2003-2009)
Harper Reed (Lead Engineer, 2005-2007; CTO, 2007-2009)
|Products||Apparel/prints not also t-shirts prints but also phone cases, shoes, bags, notebooks, etc..|
Threadless (stylized as threadless) is an online community of artists and an e-commerce website based in Chicago, Illinois, founded in 2000 by Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart.
Threadless designs are created by and chosen by an online community. Each week, about 1,000 designs are submitted online and are put to a public vote. After seven days the staff reviews the top-scoring designs. Based on the average score and community feedback, about 10 designs are selected each week, printed on clothing and other products, and sold worldwide through the online store and at their retail store in Chicago. Designers whose work is printed receive no cash, but receive 20% royalties based on net profits paid on a monthly basis, as well as cash and Threadless merchandise.
Co-founders Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart started Threadless in 2000 with $1,000. Threadless began as a T-shirt design competition on the now defunct dreamless.org, a forum where users experimented with computers, code, and art.Nickell and DeHart invited users to post their designs on a dreamless thread (hence the name Threadless), and they would print the best designs on T-shirts.
Shortly after the first batch of shirts was printed, the founders built a website for Threadless and introduced a voting system where designs could be scored 1 to 5. By 2002, Jake Nickell had quit his full-time job, dropped out of art school, and started his own web agency called skinnyCorp, with Threadless continuing to build under the skinnyCorp umbrella. The company moved from his apartment to a 900-square-foot office.
A new batch of T-shirts was printed once the previous batch had sold out. In 2000, Threadless would print shirts every few months. By 2004, the company was printing new shirts every week. By 2004, Threadless was big enough that skinnyCorp did not need to continue outside client work. The company moved to a larger warehouse space. In 2004, profit was around $1.5 million, and in 2006 it jumped to $6.5 million.
In a 2006 Wired article, Jeff Howe coined the term crowdsourcing.Jeff Howe soon associated Threadless with crowdsourcing.
In 2008, Threadless was featured on the cover of Inc. as “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.”Though Nickell did not disclose revenues for the article, Inc. estimated $30 million sales and a 30% profit margin. "Threadless completely blurs that line of who is a producer and who is a consumer," said Karim Lakhani, a professor at Harvard Business School who was quoted in the article. "The customers end up playing a critical role across all its operations: idea generation, marketing, sales forecasting. All that has been distributed."
In 2010, Abrams Image published Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World's Most Inspiring Online Design Community, written by Jake Nickell. The book features a decade of Threadless designs, interviews with many of the designers, and a year-by-year breakdown of how the company has grown and evolved.
The company is using a Marketing strategy called Co-creation which is allowing its customers to be the product developers or designers.
In October 2017, Threadless announced that they acquired Bucketfeet, a shoe company specializing in artist-designed footwear. Bucketfeet similarly produces on-demand products and has their own network of artists and its net worth was 50 million dollars. In 2018, Threadless will integrate Bucketfeet and their artists into its website.
Most Threadless T-shirts are printed with the screen printing technique. Plastisol or water-based inks are applied to the shirt through mesh screens which limits the areas where ink is deposited. Threadless printing techniques include gradients and simulated process, UV color change, oversized printing, puff, belt printing, vinyl, super glow, flock, embroidery, suede, metallic, blister, foil, and high density.
In September 2011, Threadless announced Threadless Labs on its forum.Through Threadless Labs, the company will begin experimenting with new products and printing. The first Threadless Labs experiment is Direct to Garment (DTG) printing, a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology. Threadless now prints four new DTG T-shirts each week in addition to the week's 10 new screen printed shirts.
Originally Threadless offered a $2,500 prize for artists that won a weekly design challenge, with the introduction of new terms and a shift in the company in 2014, the weekly design competition awarded a $250 gift code and artists retain all rights to their work and receive royalties on each sale. Threadless started Artist Shops in 2015, which allowed artists to sell T-shirts printed with any design directly to customers and receive royalties. Since the program rolled out in 2016 there have been over 100,000 Artist shops. However, many artists feel that without the $2,500 prize for winning the weekly design competition, the incentive to use Threadless has decreased.
In August 2007, Threadless announced the grand opening of a retail store.In January 2014, Threadless announced it had closed its 3011 N. Broadway St. location in Chicago because its sales has declined .
In October 2010, Abrams publishers released a ten-year retrospective of Threadless T-shirt designs and the company's history.
Graphic design is the process of visual communication through the use of typography, photography, iconography and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term "graphic design" is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages.
A T-shirt, or tee shirt, is a style of fabric shirt named after the T shape of its body and sleeves. Traditionally, it has short sleeves and a round neckline, known as a crew neck, which lacks a collar. T-shirts are generally made of a stretchy, light and inexpensive fabric and are easy to clean.
Topcoder is a crowdsourcing company with an open global community of designers, developers, data scientists, and competitive programmers. Topcoder pays community members for their work on the projects and sells community services to corporate, mid-size, and small-business clients. Topcoder also organizes the annual Topcoder Open tournament and a series of smaller regional events.
Zara SA, stylized as ZARA, is a Spanish apparel retailer based in Arteixo in Galicia (Spain). The company specializes in fast fashion, and products include clothing, accessories, shoes, swimwear, beauty, and perfumes. It is the largest company in the Inditex group, the world's largest apparel retailer. Zara as of 2017 manages up to 20 clothing collections a year.
Joshua Davis is an American designer, technologist, author and artist in new media.
CafePress, Inc. is an American online retailer of stock and user-customized on demand products. The company was founded in San Mateo, California, but is now headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky along with its production facility. In 2001, CafePress.com won the People's Voice Webby Award in the Commerce category.
User innovation refers to innovation by intermediate users or consumer users, rather than by suppliers. This is a concept closely aligned to co-design and co-creation, and has been proven to result in more innovative solutions than traditional consultation methodologies.
Co-creation, in the context of a business, refers to a product or service design process in which input from consumers plays a central role from beginning to end. Less specifically, the term is also used for any way in which a business allows consumers to submit ideas, designs or content. This way, the firm will not run out of ideas regarding the design to be created and at the same time, it will further strengthen the business relationship between the firm and its customers. Another meaning is the creation of value by ordinary people, whether for a company or not.
Spreadshirt is a German e-commerce print-on-demand company for clothing and accessories. It operates in Europe and North America. Customers can access products designed by others or create their own designs. It allows vendors to create shops. Spreadshirt owns and operates printing factories.
Cambrian House began as a crowdsourcing community that pioneered the technology to tap crowds for the best software ideas. To power open innovation in other businesses, they developed a crowdsourcing platform Chaordix – the technology to harness a crowd for breakthrough ideas.
Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) is a process of printing on textiles using specialized aqueous ink jet technology. DTG printers typically have a platen designed to hold the garment in a fixed position, and the printer inks are jetted or sprayed onto the textile by the print head. DTG typically requires that the garment be pre-treated with a PTM or Pre-treatment machine allowing for the following:
Crazy Shirts is an American T-shirt and clothing company established in 1964 based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The company operates 35 retail stores in Hawaii, California, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. Crazy Shirts houses the largest printing facility in Hawaiʻi, on the island of Oʻahu, and employs more than 400 employees.
ModCloth is an American online retailer of indie and vintage-inspired women’s clothing. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles with a joint office/fulfillment center in Pittsburgh.
Inkd is a controversial new startup developed by Kelly Smith of Curious Office and the venture capital firm Second Avenue Partners in Seattle, Washington. Inkd calls itself the "World's First Market for Original Print Design". The company is a user-generated marketplace that provides the general public with a way to buy and sell print designs such as brochures, pamphlet, business cards, letterhead, postcards, menus and other common print form factors used in global business. Inkd is based in the old Pioneer Square, Seattle area.
Karim R. Lakhani is a leading technology management and innovation expert and is the Charles E. Wilson Professor of Business Administration and the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Fellow at the Harvard Business School. The founder and co-director of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, he is best known for his pioneering scholarship on Open Source Software and Crowdsourcing innovation models, and digital transformation of companies and industries. In particular, he is known for his research on the T-shirt company Threadless, and prize-based open innovation firms like InnoCentive and Topcoder.
Bucketfeet is an American online retailer specializing in artist-designed footwear. The company collaborates with a global community of artists to design limited-edition shoes with the goal of sparking meaningful conversations to create a brighter world. All artists receive a portion of the profits made from their designs. The company is headquartered in Chicago, IL and was founded in 2011 by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein.
Teespring is an e-commerce platform that allows people to create and sell custom apparel. The company was founded in 2011 by Walker Williams and Evan Stites-Clayton in Providence, Rhode Island. By 2014, the company had raised $55 million in venture capital from Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Over the past few years, Teespring has had to make significant reforms to its safety operations in response to criticism over apparel that promoted violence and racist messaging.
Local Motors is an American motor vehicle manufacturing company focused on low-volume manufacturing of open-source motor vehicle designs using multiple microfactories. It was founded in 2007 with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. The company’s current vehicles include the Rally Fighter and their 3D-printed Strati and Swim vehicles. The company develops vehicles using 3D Printing and utilizes vehicle designs provided by the online community. In 2016, the company introduced an autonomous electric-powered shuttle named Olli.
Pinshape Inc. is an online 3D printing community and marketplace with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It allows designers to share and sell their 3D printable designs, and people with 3D printers to print those designs on their own printers.
TeePublic is a platform for custom apparel and designs owned by Redbubble. The company was founded by Adam Schwartz and Josh Abramson, who had previously co-founded Vimeo and CollegeHumor.