I’m certainly not the first to comment on the innovative functionality of Threadless.com, some noted business books praise the site as starting a new type of economy online, the user created product. I’ve been a fan of Threadless.com for years, but felt like it was the right time to make a comment about the evolution of the site.
For the uninitiated Threadless.com is a website that allows users to upload their own t-shirt designs, have any visitor that wants to vote on them, and then the site produces the most popular shirts. It is a 8 figure a year business that is so efficient, it rarely deals with having too much stock since it only prints what people actually want to buy.
The first shirts I purchased from the site were ordered back around spring of 2005. While I was in love with the original designs, and cool user voting system, getting the actual gear was not as amazing as it could have been.
For starters it took nearly 2 weeks for the shirts to arrive, which had me wondering why the site would note “In Stock” for the items I ordered when in fact it was clear they still had some screen printing to do.
Adding to the mild irritation of ordering from the site was the quality of the t-shirts. I’m not a t-shirt fanatic, but I have some experience in the apparel industry, and love nothing more than a soft vintage style tee. These had the cool artwork, but lacked the comfortable feel of say an American Apparel or Alternative Apparel shirt. Still, the art was so cool, and the fact they were created by people no different than yours truly, how could I not think this site was anything less than incredible.
Fast forward 4 years. While I regularly read the Threadless.com weekly email blast, and often laugh out loud at the awesome new designs, many of which are ironic, funny, and often clever as all get out, I hadn’t actually placed an order since the last debacle.
Then I saw this design, aptly titled 98 Different Creatures! created by a dude named Daniel Abensour. How cool? A t-shirt with 98 unique creates on it, in my favorite color for shirts, grey no less! I had to have it.
So after a few clicks and a quick updating of my account I bought it, and about a half dozen others. The shirts came in 2 days, and the first thing I noticed is that they are now screened on some incredibly soft tees made specifically for the site. I’m wearing my 98 creatures tee right now, and later I might have time to check out each one of them, because this shirt is so comfortable I could, and probably will wear it to bed. Ok, too much information, I agree.
What a difference 4 years makes! No waiting, no itchy sandpaper shirts, just awesome service, incredible products, and that uniqueness that makes this site the epitome of Web 2.0.