I was intrigued today when I stumbled upon a magazine mention of just such an entrepreneurial endeavour. A mob out of California (now that shouldn’t surprise) called Shortomatic have been building up a portfolio of user- and guest designer-provided shorts through a pretty nifty website.
They have a number of similar elements to Threadless, although users cannot vote on prospective designs (instead the firm is the complete gatekeeper once artists submit). There is a revenue stream for successful designers of up to $1000 per design ($5 a pair up to the maximum run of 200), and a feel-good pledge to donate a similar amount to a charity.
Contrary to our discussions/expectations, all the materials are sourced and stitched together in the US (rather than China), which does push the pricing a bit higher than I expected ($US a pair).
The operation also suffers from a pretty slow turnaround from order-to-shipping – 21 days or so – which would seem to narrow the potential customer base a little (to those explicitly seeking a rare item of clothing). Again, you might argue this is a move away from Threadless’ model, as the t-shirt vendor’s speedy delivery (obviously built on an ability to print and warehouse shirts confident of sales from their much bigger customer base) allows for pretty spontaneous purchase, while Threadless’ policy of limited runs also encourages a “buy while you can” attitude.
Nevertheless, this looks like a pretty neat play at this considerably smaller and tougher fashion segment. Again it does beg the question what other design-your-own, crowdsourced interfaces can we foresee (remembering we’ve also looked at custom bicycles on here too)?
Tags: Boardshorts, business, business strategy, design-your-own, e-commerce, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, fashion industry, International business, International retailing, retail, Retailing, Strategic management, strategy, surfing, surfwear, Threadless