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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to be doing a quick interview with one of the guys from Threadless in a few days.

I have some questions already planned, but I thought, what would be better for a community website than to ask the community what they'd want to learn from threadless.

So if you had one question for threadless, what would it be?







Yes, that's one question only please :D
 

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Personally I'd be particularly interested in any numbers you can get out of them. Threadless are notoriously tight lipped when it comes to the nuts and bolts, so anything at all could be insightful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not sure I'm going to be asking them about their sales numbers...I've always thought that was kind of a rude question to ask.

I was thinking of questions that would help you (or a person) as a t-shirt seller.

Or anything you're just curious about regarding threadless (I guess numbers would fall under that ;) )
 

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Solmu said:
Threadless are notoriously tight lipped when it comes to the nuts and bolts, so anything at all could be insightful.
I agree, but even posing it as a question of over/under X amount of shirt sales would be helpful without trying to get them to commit to anything specific.
 

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As you say outright sales numbers would be rude, and won't get an answer.

But things like most shirts sold in a day, how many shirts are in the average print run (almost certainly wouldn't get an answer), number of Flowers in the Attic shirts printed, slowest seller, fastest seller, etc. are less rude (but still may be further than you want to go and may well not get an answer).

I (and a lot of other people) would be particularly interested in knowing just how many copies of Flowers in the Attic are wandering around the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Solmu said:
But things like most shirts sold in a day, how many shirts are in the average print run (almost certainly wouldn't get an answer), number of Flowers in the Attic shirts printed, slowest seller, fastest seller, etc. are less rude (but still may be further than you want to go and may well not get an answer).
Ah...now that's more specific. Not what I got from your first post :)

Those would be pretty interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Chris said:
I agree, but even posing it as a question of over/under X amount of shirt sales would be helpful without trying to get them to commit to anything specific.
I wonder though...how is that "helpful"?

I agree it would satisfy curiousity, but I don't know how helpful it would be.

I get that question alot "how many shirts do you sell" "how much can you make"?

But I've never understood how that is helpful to the person asking since we all have different marketing skills, budgets and design skills. The answer almost seems to relative. I'm probably missing something obvious though.
 

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Couple of other things: gender breakdown of purchasers, and percentage of a print run devoted to boys vs. girls shirts (i.e. 60% men's tees, 40% girly tees).

They may be willing to answer some kind of innocuous "Are most of your customers male or female?" question, which would still be interesting.

Some questions about the 12 Month Club would be good. It's a really interesting feature but it doesn't get much attention (on or off Threadless).

To re-address your original post though, if I had one question it would be "How many copies of Flowers in the Attic have you printed?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Solmu said:
Some questions about the 12 Month Club would be good. It's a really interesting feature but it doesn't get much attention (on or off Threadless).
That's one of my favorite features of threadless. Most of the time I forget about it and then poof, a cool new t-shirt in the mail :)
 

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Rodney said:
But I've never understood how that is helpful to the person asking since we all have different marketing skills, budgets and design skills. The answer almost seems to relative. I'm probably missing something obvious though.
You're right that it's all relative, however a question of this nature (to this particular company) is really an indicator of the market size in general.

Maybe a better question would be more along the lines of "how many unique buyers do have on the site?" I'm not really interested in how much money they make, or how many shirts they've actually sold.

I'd think that how many visitors and the ratio of buyers coming from that number would be helpful to anyone in the online retail market- it's the same as retailers looking at Wal-Mart's "black Friday" numbers to figure out how the xmas season will go.
 

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Are there discernable, significant differences in terms of design that appeal to boys vs girls? What are some major things that they wish they had known starting out that they know now? How serious of a draw is the "unique, one-of-a-kind" design for their visitors? Any thoughts on market saturation? How does word-of-mouth weigh against other marketing?
 

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Pretend I'm three different people....

"Isn't it about time you stopped hacking the labels out of your shirts and actually had them properly removed, given your enormous size?"

"How has advertising in Rolling Stone impacted you sales?"

"Do you feel threatened by the ever growing number of high-quality web-based tshirt companies, or welcome the strengthening of the industry?"
 

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How do they handle the legalities of cease and desists and suing others who may be ripping them off? Do they go to arbitration, or full-blown lawsuits?
 

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sackwear.com said:
How do they handle the legalities of cease and desists and suing others who may be ripping them off? Do they go to arbitration, or full-blown lawsuits?
Or likewise, the other way around (such as their Beatles hairdressing shirt, ripped off a site that's been up for years).
 

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Yes, that does raise an interesting issue actually. Threadless have printed (and reprinted) several shirts of extremely dubious legality (several I would call outright plagiarism). I would be interested in hearing their take on it, though it's not exactly an easy topic to address in an interview.
 

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Solmu said:
Yes, that does raise an interesting issue actually. Threadless have printed (and reprinted) several shirts of extremely dubious legality (several I would call outright plagiarism). I would be interested in hearing their take on it, though it's not exactly an easy topic to address in an interview.
True. And, given Threadless' power in the market, they are often *presumed* to be the one being copied.
 

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i'd ask them how come some designs that everybody thinks are awesome and get real high scores never get printed.... is it purely based on the scores or do they have a final say in it?

another question that pops to mind is whether they allow any changes in the designs once they are chosen, especially changes that take into account the majority of the opinions and observations that people give...

one thing is for sure, the idea behind threadless is pure genius (hat going off to whoever came up with it).
 

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The answers to both of these questions are already somewhat around (though maybe not with the kind of detail we'd like).

blackSheep77 said:
i'd ask them how come some designs that everybody thinks are awesome and get real high scores never get printed.... is it purely based on the scores or do they have a final say in it?
The amount of people that click "I'd buy it" no doubt also plays a significant role. A controversial design will sometimes score low because it polarises opinion, but it will find plenty of buyers and thus get printed. Maybe by the same token a design can be well drawn and score well by being inoffensive, without being interesting enough to motivate people to buy it.

Threadless have also said they have never just run by the numbers. They let the numbers guide them to what their customer base wants, but ultimately they choose the designs that they want to see printed. Part of that will be keeping designs fresh, so if a design is similar to something recently printed (or often printed in the past) simply scoring highly won't be enough to get it printed.

blackSheep77 said:
another question that pops to mind is whether they allow any changes in the designs once they are chosen, especially changes that take into account the majority of the opinions and observations that people give...
In my opinion this is the biggest flaw in the Threadless system - shirts don't get re-designed and re-drafted very often. In my opinion the system could be imrpoved by making the scoring multi-stage, so that it can essentially go through a peer-reviewed drafting process.

That said, some designs do undergo changes between submission and printing. Three examples off the top of my head are Oh Dearly Departed Lovers (a differently gendered option was added, and the design was changed to fit the size), A King's Cobra (argyle size and colour changed), Sally Finds A Stray (mother was changed from a ballerina to a housewife). Basically changes do happen, but they tend to be fairly minor. Some of them (A King's Cobra) are at the request of Threadless, others (Sally Finds A Stray) are because the artist chose to fix a problem before submitting the final art for print.
 
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