Rob Walker finally reports in his ‘Consumed’ column in the New York Times Magazine on Threadless, and finally I recognize (thanks to Exciting Commerce) this article that already was published on July 8. Rob’s column is one of my favorite pieces of journalism, but since I returned to Germany, I do not find the time to read it every week.
While in an e-mail conversation Rob told me about 1.5 years ago that he does not consider Threadless as a unique phenomenon, he – luckily – changed his mind and brings a nice analysis of the company and shares with us a number of interesting numbers on Threadless. So here is Threadless in numbers (all quotes from Rob's article)
2000: Year of founding Threadless.
125: Number of submissions received by Threadless each day.
“Millions”: Dollars earned by selling T-shirts” not by hiring star designers but by asking anybody to design them.
Hundreds of thousands: Number of user voting each day.
6: Number of new T-shirt offerings per week.
1,500: Typical size of a batch of each new design.
2,000: Dollars paid to winning designers.
“Almost everything”: Number of items that sell out.
1: Number of Threadless stores, the first opened in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago in July 2007.
2.6 or higher: Score of most winning designs (on the rating scale from 0 to 5).
2.0: Lowest rank of a winning design.
x*n/z: “The final decision about which T’s actually get made and sold has always involved a bit of nonpublic number crunching. For example, Threadless looks at how many 0s and 5s a design gets; designs that inspire passionate disagreement often get printed because they tend to sell”.
1: There is a surprising degree of consistency — maybe even similarity — in the designs. “It’s a barometer of what’s going on in art and design right now,” Threadless director Kalmikoff suggests.
17: Number of winning designs submitted by Glenn Jones, a New Zealand designer.