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Business

Threadless.com uses a retail location to build brand love

If you are not familiar with Threadless.com, they make shirts. Unlike most companies who choose their designs based upon focus testing and select influential parties, Threadless uses the crowd.

Similar to SnorgTees.com, Threadless accepts user-submitted designs. They use a public rating system to determine what shirts to print; therefore, they let the crowd run their product development like open source software.

According to MarketingVOX, the company expects $15 million in sales this year. It emerged from the minds of two Chicago art students who put in just $1,000 seven years ago.

The site opened a real live, in-person location in Chicago that doubles as a brand builder.

Launched in September, the store has become a great brand-awareness opportunity, since most people coming in aren’t familiar with the website.

And in terms of getting those familiar with the brand incentive to come in, the retail location launches new shirts three days before they hit the web.

To top it off, they have plenty of online support.

How many companies do you know with online and retail locations that compliment each other so well?

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Business

SnorgTees makes old idea new, social

If you have never heard of One Week Job, the blog/video series follows Sean Aiken as he travels from job to job in search of his passion. The ultimate goal of the project is to work 52 jobs in 52 weeks and possibly find his dream job.

In week 30, he visited SnorgTees.

SnorgTees is a web-run t-shirt company out of Georgia. Founded in 2004 by brothers and run along with a few friends, the company has grown profitable after a few months of struggle.

Matt Walls is the president and definer of the word “snorg,” a “replacement word” that can be whatever you want. His brother Bryan Walls took the title of “Creative Director,” which must mean he came up with the word “snorg” in the first place. Really, if they did nothing else besides invent the word, they probably could have been considered pretty creative people. Instead, they defined a word and used it to create a company.

SnorgTees positions themselves well outside of the “faceless corporate entity” stereotype in their own description, and it’s definitely not a category they have any danger of entering.

Part of their innovation depends upon customers who appreciate their brand and company enough to submit awesome designs to them on a regular basis. They pay anyone who submits a “thumbs up” idea $100 and give them a free shirt!

What does that mean to consumers? They are approachable and involve their consumers. It’s the closest thing to a social network running a t-shirt company in existence today, if you are into that sort of Web 2.0 business hot topic these days.

Sean of One Week Job is also quick to point out that it’s not all fun and games running your own company. These guys may look like they are having the greatest time ever–and they should–but Sean notes that “If you want to run a successful company, you can’t forget all the details and long hours that go into it.”

“After the first six months of doing this full-time, I was pretty nervous. Then, every month it gets better and better and more comfortable and more fun,” Bryan Walls, president of SnorgTees, said. “Having a taste of owning my own business and working for myself, I definitely think that’s what I want to do the rest of my life.”

Overall, they seem to have found a pretty laid back company and discovered the dream, managing your own fun company and making your own paychecks. Oh, and they get to work with models. That must be rough.