The second successful case I am going to write about in this blog is a business that is very innovative – at least when they launched their business- which is called Threadless. This company was created in the year 2000, when two developers decided to replicate their experience in a design contest so that other people could share their creativity with the rest of the world and be recognized by this. What they didn’t know was they were creating an innovative company under the “crowdsourcing” model.
But what is crowdsourcing? This model that has become popular with the Internet and the communities, tries to outsource company activities and processes that where done in-house to a people network. For the case of Threadless through their web page the community creates different t-shirts designs and they also vote for the designs they want to see in their shirts (not all the designs are going to be printed). Later the same community will buy these designs. Thereby the community is not only the client but also the supplier. This model in order to work stimulates the community with financial prices for the designs that are printed and also recognition from the other members of the community.
It is clear that if the community is the one that selects the designs that are going to be printed, the success probability is higher that when Threadless is the one that decides which designs are going to be printed. Also it is beneficial for the company because they wont have to hire in-house designers, and they only will be paying for the designs the community wants to purchase.
Other than the aforementioned, that generates a competitive advantage, the company has outsource other activities in a network of suppliers, in order to decrease their fixed costs. Among these activities are: t-shirt production, design prints, logistics, hosting and payments.
Thus we can se how this entrepreneurial business find success and has maintained it for almost 15 years, with outsourcing in a community and a network of suppliers.
Image taken from Flickr.com