CUSP Magazine: Winter Issue 2014


CUSP Magazine is a Chicago based publication focused on helping up and coming creatives gain exposure for their brand and products. Our company is a collective of highly motivated individuals who work together to bring a new voice to the creative community.


A: So in your own words, what is the main idea behind Threadless and its model?

K: The main purpose of Threadless is to be the best place for independent artists from across the world

to make money from their artwork and we do that through the website and our platform. The way it

works is artists from all over the world can submit their work to Threadless and then their artwork goes

up for scoring in the scoring section. We have just about 3.4 million users on the website that are scoring

designs and picking the stuff that they like. We take the highest scoring stuff and we print it on t-shirts,

iPhone cases, wall art, and other canvases like that but true to form, the t-shirts sell the most. We have

always been known for our t-shirts since we started in 2000 and we have expanded the product line

through the years with t-shirts always being the foundation of that.

A: Why choose t-shirts in the beginning?

K: The way this all came to be was that Jake was participating on a website called It was

a place for people that were interested in coding and websites as well as people that were interested in

art to hold discussions, so kind of like a forum. What happened was, Jake decided that through that,

he wanted to host a design challenge on dreamless as a fun way for everybody to participate and come

up with a cool t-shirt for dreamless. He hosted what would technically be the first Threadless design

challenge right there on dreamless. A few people submitted t-shirt designs and everybody voted on the

ones they liked the best. He then printed them on t-shirts and everybody that participated got one. From

there, that was kind of the spark that went on to be So essentially Threadless is a blown

out, more intricate version of this idea. At the time, Jake was in art school, but he ended up leaving once

Threadless took off and ended up taking his time. He ran threadless out of his apartment for the longest

time too.



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