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Great Internet Business Model

Threadless has one of the best Internet business models I've ever seen, and it's fun!

Threadless sells t-shirts that are entirely managed through a community process:

  1. Community submits designs
  2. Community votes on best designs
  3. Best designs become t-shirts
  4. Community submits photos of themselves posing in t-shirt to post in catalog
  5. T-shirts sell out
  6. Visitors can request reprints of soldout shirts. If enough reprints are requested for a particular size, the shirt is reprinted.

As far as I can tell, this pretty much means that they can produce great t-shirts with little design overhead and very little inventory. They're guaranteed to sell a good supply of the initial stock, so their prices are competitive ($15, sometimes on sale for $10). The quality of the t-shirts is much higher than CafePress, and they even remove the annoying tag and silkscreen in the name of the t-shirt and washing instructions instead.

As for street cred, a Threadless t-shirt was responsible for the infamous New York Times goatse hack.

I've already got myself two Threadless t-shirts. There will be a lot more if the reprint requests go through:

shirt shirt

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on July 7, 2005 6:44 PM.

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