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: Did you always want to own your own company? How does one even begin to get into the entrepreneur

business, especially in the fashion/art industry?

J: I always wanted to do my own thing but I wasn’t interested in entrepreneurship or becoming a “businessman”

... I went to art school, not business school. I’ve always had a multitude of side projects going

on through high school and college. Threadless started as a hobby, another side project. Then when

people slowly started to participate, uploading designs, buying shirts, etc, it turned into a business! My

background was more in web design and development and I was doing a bunch of freelance work for

companies building them websites and such. Threadless served as proof that I knew how to build an

E-commerce website. I think the best way to get in on this sort of thing is to just have personal projects

that you spend time on outside of work or school.

A: Between 2004-2006, the company revenue went from 1.5 to 6.5 million. What do you think played a

major role in that?

K: A lot of what drove Threadless’ success in the beginning was word of mouth and the way that this was

happening was that artists were speaking to other artists or promoting their own work. We have really

incredible artists on the website that make t-shirt designs that sell really well. We get artists that submit

from Asia, Australia, and domestically here in the U.S., all from varying backgrounds. We have artists that

don’t have any art background professionally, but they like graphic design and they do it as a hobby on

the side and Threadless is kind of their outlet to get that out into the world. Then we also have artists that

submit to Threadless and get printed that work other jobs as creative types in ad firms. There is a huge

spectrum of backgrounds for artists.



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