Threadless – an online community and a business

Once of my favourite websites is Threadless. It’s an online t-shirt shop. It’s a thriving online community. And – I imagine – it makes money too.

I live in t-shirts, and I love unusual ones, so I’ll really go out of my way to find them. I stumbled across Threadless about a year ago after a tip-off from my sister, and it’s brilliant.

Much like, anyone can submit a t-shirt design to be printed. But on Threadless, the community really counts, because votes and comments help decide which t-shirts get printed. Ok, so like the FAQ says, ultimately it’s their call, but they’d be stupid not to listen to what their members are saying.

The site is criminally easy to use. You can see every single design, but because each shirt is printed in limited numbers, it’s better to see what’s available at a glance. The stock chart does just that. All the available t-shirts, on one page. It’s simple, but it works very well.

They keep people coming back by letting members blog and chat in forums. And they create innovative competitions that get the whole community involved.

None of it is revolutionary, but it’s a very good example of how to bring together a few elements of ‘Web 2.0’ to create something that people really identify with. Give it a go; their shipping charges to the UK are pretty reasonable too.

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