What if you could wear your business card? Capturio allows you to do just that. The concept is simple: take a picture of a T-Shirt, email the image to Capturio, and then receive the “business information” of the person wearing the T-Shirt as a vCard.
I’ll tell you the truth, I was a bit skeptical with Capturio. Sometimes the idea can be great but the execution can be flawed. Fortunately, you can test Capturio out for yourself. If you go to their website here, you can take a photo of the T-Shirt featured on their homepage. Email that image to Capturio (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you’ll receive a vCard of the founder of Capturio, Damien Detcherry. So far, neat!
But that’s just one aspect of Capturio. The big test was being able to associate a T-Shirt of mine to my contact information. Once again, the steps to do so are quite simple. Take a photo of your T-Shirt, sent it to Capturio (email@example.com) along with your contact information (for the associated vCard). And boom, now when people snap a picture of that T-Shirt and send it to Capturio, they’ll receive your contact information. As a test I snapped a photo of the Threadless T-Shirt Friday I’m In Love. I emailed the T-Shirt to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a vCard that I made for Co-Tee TV. A few seconds later I received confirmation that my T-Shirt was now associated with my information. Next, I snapped a separate photo of Friday I’m In Love and this time emailed it to email@example.com. Lo and behold, I then received an email with the vCard for Co-Tee TV! It worked! Awesome. As a separate test, I also emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org the official flattened product image for Friday I’m In Love from Threadless. It worked yet again! As a final test, I emailed a very pixalated and blown up product image shot for Friday I’m In love. And most impressively, it worked!
Here’s a photo of the shirt that I emailed to Capturio to associate with my Co-Tee TV vCard. As you can see, not the best quality photo.
Once my T-Shirt was associated with my vCard, I then emailed the official product photo for Friday in Love and Capturio recognized it and associated with with my vCard information for Co-Tee TV.
As a final test, a blown up and pixalated image of Friday I’m In Love was sent to email@example.com, with partial arms and neck too! Guess what, Capturio still worked. Awesome!
And here’s the vCard for Co-Tee TV that was received when the three images of Friday I’m In Love were sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think that the idea is simple and brilliant. However, there are a few things that come to mind.
1. What happens if two different people try to associate their information with the same T-Shirt?
2. T-Shirt brands (i.e. Threadless) could potentially “Capturio” all of their T-Shirts and associate it with their information. However, it would be much cooler to receive special incentives (i.e. discount codes) when using Capturio on these T-Shirts.
3. What if Capturio was not just a web app, but also a real iPhone app that could be installed on the iPhone. Such an app could theoretically eliminate the need for steps 2 (email) and 3 (checking email for the vCard). All that would need to be done from within the Capturio app would be to snap the photo (or upload from photo library) and then automagically the Capturio app should be able to recognize it and pull up the contact information.
4. The email that you receive back from Capturio is a bit bland and underwhelming. It’s basically just text and then the attached vCard. Why not make the email body rich and attractive AND attach the vCard.
I’ve never liked physical business cards. Business cards are a nuisance. Capturio is an interesting and innovative take on the business card. The best part is that this digital business card won’t get lost, tossed in the trash or forgotten. Capturio vCards will always be in your smartphone (preferably an iPhone) and therefore you’ll always have access to them. Brilliant idea.
Santa Monica based Ignoble is known for their screen printed, hand numbered and short run tees. Their latest creation, Dino Boy is no different. Dino Boy is limited to a print run of 50 tees and features a black print on a slate American Apparel shirt.
Not a suit and tie person? If this true of you then this is a T-Shirt that you have to own. The whole point behind this graphic is to tell the world, loud and proud, that the suit and tie salesperson needs to go extinct. NOW.
Extinction is a reality. Scientists will have you believe it is a measureable quality, one that can be monitored, tracked, and traced. So we ask, why the hell do only cool things ever seem to go extinct? Enter Dino Boy.
Don’t get us wrong, ‘DB’ is a COOL graphic, and we’re rocking this shirt proudly. But society willing we’d have the whole lot of suit-and-tie salespeople extinct by morning, no further questions asked.
Both the September issue of Entrepreneur and the July/August issue of Inc. give some love to two brands regularly featured on this blog: Johnny Cupcakes and Snorg Tees. Neither are long features, instead, both articles are 1 page snippets discussing the young millionaires behind both brands and how they achieved their success. Might be worth browsing over the next time you’re at your local bookstore.
Here’s a funny shirt that I spotted at Venture Capital Wear thanks to @ryancarson of Carsonified. The product description mentions “…and the fact that your Mom would use your product just proves that she is not a valid test market.” I wonder if this applies to MILF’s?Â
Looks like the White House has requested the help of 25 of the countries top young entrepreneurs, and it looks like Jake Nickell, Threadless Co-Founder and Chief Strategic Officer will be there. It’s pretty exciting to know that our current government is tapping resources outside of their comfort zone, unlike previous administrations. Skaw (Nickell’s handle in InternetLAND) posted the following on the popular social networking site, Twitter:
1. Mark Zuckerberg (23) — Facebook — $700 Million
2. Andrew Gower (28) — Runescape — $650 Million
3. Chad Hurley (30) — Youtube — $300 Million
4. Blake Ross and David Hyatt (22) — Mozilla — $120
5. Andrew Michael (29) — Fast Hosts — $110 Million
6. Angelo Sotira (26) — Deviant ART — $75 Million
7. John Vechey (28) — PopCap Games — $60 Million
8. Alexander Levin (23) — Image Shack — $56 Million
9. Jake Nickell (28) — Threadless — $50 Million
10. Greg Tseng and Johann Schleier-Smith (28) — Tagged — $45 Million
11. Sean Belnick (20) — Biz Chair — $42 Million
12. Matt Mullenweg (23) — WordPress — $40 Million
13. Kevin Rose (30) — Digg — $31 Million
14. Aodhan Cullen (24)– Stat Counter — $25 Million
15. Markus Frind (29) — Plenty Of Fish — $23 Million
Well we wait to see the outcome of this meeting, check out this video of MSNBC profiling Threadless.
In this weeks edition of The Indie Tee Spotlight, I highlight a cool little small business venture led by Steve Orlando, self-described as a reluctant leader, disillusioned romantic and uneloquent philosophaster. Orlando started Robit Studios earlier this year with friend Jeff Gerzseny out of their frustration with graphic tees.Â
I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Steve about the company he founded, Robit Studios, and why he aspired not to be “just another pretentious t-shirt company.” He discusses his love for small-business and why it’s smart (and worth it) to go “green.”
1. How long has Robit Studios been around? What inspired you to start a T-shirt brand?
We launched our website in March of this year. However the original idea and preparations for that launch began a few years ago. The inspiration to start a brand started when Jeff (the other half of Robit Studios) and I were frustrated with the unfunny slogan tees and obnoxious graphic tees that dominate the retail world. This was before we knew about places like Threadless. Jeff had some screen printing experience and a small wooden press from school so we decided to give it a shot.
2. The tagline “just another pretentious t-shirt company” can be found on the Robit Studios site. What do you mean by this?
When we first began brainstorming ideas and concepts for shirts we thought we were going to revolutionize the t-shirt world. However, as we began studying our competition and becoming familiar with the t-shirt blogging scene we realized that a lot of people not only had the same ideas, but were sometimes better executed. It made me realize that we can’t take ourselves too seriously.
3. Many of your tees have some sort of political message associated with it. Did you start Robit with the intention of producing politically inspired tees?
It wasn’t intentional. But, like a lot of people, we’ve been caught up in the interesting political environment we’ve had over the past few years. I also think that there are very few political t-shirts that are subtle in their message. For example, I would never wear a t-shirt that said “Buck Fush”. I think there was an unmet demand for shirts like “Chance of Reign”.
4. Strong ideals seem to be a huge part of the way Robit operates. From using only environmentally friendly inks to printing on sweat-shop free tees to hand printing each shirt. What made you decide to go the “green” route (and market yourselves as such) and why is this so important for Robit Studios considering the higher cost of these environmentally friendly products.
When we first seriously began discussing the creation of Robit Studios we knew we wanted to do it in a socially and environmentally friendly way. Since then I began working on my MBA in Environmentally Sustainable Management which helped us implement those ideas into our business model. I believe that true sustainability is the solution that will allow us to continue living on the planet in a way we’re familiar with. The beauty of sustainability is that it doesn’t conflict with capitalism, but actually complements it.
5. Your about page says “We [Robit Studios] gear our product toward anyone that appreciates the small businesses and creative minds, or the efforts of individuals against careless corporations that pander to the lowest common denominator.” What is it about small businesses, as compared to huge corporations, that gets you excited? What has the experience of owning and operating a small business been like for you?
Small businesses rock, simple as that. Just imagine if your only choice of t-shirt had to come from Wal-Mart. It doesn’t take much more than that to get me excited about the hundreds of small independent t-shirts brands that are available at my fingertips.
The experience of being a small business owner has been great. Knowing that there are people around the world who are wearing something I created feels incredible. This summer we got to do some festivals and I met a lot of amazing people, artists and bands. We’re teaming up with an amazing artist, Sean Madden, for some new t-shirts as well as another project which we’re hoping to launch soon.
6. Two of my favorite tees from the Robit Studios Store are “Chance of Reign” and “Ragingly Inefficient.” What message are you trying to send with these two tees?
Threadless was started by two guys that decided to invest in the prize money they won from an online contest. They created a business that allowed its community of diehard followers to create, hype and decide what products get made. There are a lot of things that indie brands can learn from the Threadless model, here, I present five things we can learn from the Threadless story.Â
1. You Can Build A Business With Minimal Startup Funds. Threadless Co-Founders, Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart started Threadless using the $1000 prize money won from another online design contest. If you have extra cash lying around, invest in it wisely, Jake and Jacob did and now they run a multi-million dollar business whose model is built on handing out cash to design winners. The point is, in the grand scheme of things, you don’t need large sums of money to start a business. If you are driven and you Â have a solid idea then you will be successful – in one way or another.Â
2. Community Can Drive A Business. The Threadless model is entirely built around it’s community of dedicated users. People submit designs and people vote. All the while, free hype and publicity for these designs are generated by the community itself. Threadless is a self-sustaining business, unlike old-school fashions brands like Levi’s, Guess and Quicksilver, that spend millions of dollars in marketing and print ads to generate hype, Threadless let’s it’s community take care of that for them.
3. Make It Fun and Stick With It. Everything about Threadless screams fun. From the designs they select to the layout of the website. The point here is, if you have a theme to your business, push that theme hard and follow through. Even though the ongoing design contest is a constant, they still have smaller “theme” contests, like the current Threadless Loves Travel contest. Their product shots keep with the fun theme as do the weekly videocast. If your brand has a theme, stick to it ad push it hard.Â
4. The Appeal of Limited Edition is Hard to Resist. Whenever things have the “Limited Edition” moniker slapped on it, people buy it up. I think that having a design available for purchase on a limited basis and then marketing it as such was a brilliant move by Threadless. “Limited Edition” provides a sense of urgency whenever a potential customer is deciding whether or not they should buy a tee and instills the idea of “I should buy it now or else it won’t be available next time I visit.” I’m surprised that there aren’t many indie tee designers that market their tees as being a limited prints when in fact they are, especially when they print just 50 or 100 of a particular design. I think independent designers should take advantage of the “Limited Edition” moniker. If you do, let me know if people start to buy your stuff up.Â
5. The Physical and Online Worlds Can Mesh. Threadless was able to build a physical store from the success of its online store. Johnny Cupcakes did the same thing. The physical and online worlds can mesh if there is value in both. The online community is the strong point of the online Threadless store. The physical Threadless store is able to incorporate things that they otherwise would not be able to do on the online store, for instance, the Threadless Art Gallery. Building and maintaining an online store is relatively cheap compared to opening and managing a physical store. A physical store might not always be necessary, but, if your brand can grow and if there is added value to the physical store than it might be something to consider.
Was this article helpful? Let me know. Have your incorporated in Threadless techniques into your own business model? If so, how?Â