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The future of music merchandise?

 
By on Friday, 5th June 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Taking a quick break from raving about new bands, I want to tell you about a new service a friend’s set up recently.

We all know that many bands get the majority of their income these days from both gigging and merchandise, but for many bands just starting out, they can’t afford to carry around a stock of all different T-shirts in different sizes and other products, making it a bit of a catch-22…. they can’t buy bucketloads of merch as they don’t have any money, and they don’t have any money because they don’t have any merchandise.

This is where Toto comes in… (and no, it’s nothing to do with the legendary 80’s stars of “Africa”). It lets bands design their own T-shirts etc and set the price, and then gives them a unique shop that can be embedded onto their MySpace page or website. When something is ordered, Toto deal with payment and fulfillment – they use a printing technique which allows them to print on-demand with great quality, so there’s no up-front cost and no worries about having boxes of unsold stock lying around, exactly what bands don’t want in their early days.

So, if you’re in the business for a few T-Shirts, Toto looks set to be one of the first places to start looking for them. (And the guys running it are some of the nicest you’ll come across!)

 

Companies I admire #2: Threadless

 
By on Monday, 21st May 2007 at 10:11 pm
 

Threadless logoThreadless.com is an American community centred T-shirt store that was started in January 2000 by two Chicago based illustrators, Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart. Threadless’ press pack mentions that “They came up with the idea after Jake Nickell won the NMUF London tee shirt competition. It felt good to win a tee shirt competition and we thought it’d be cool to extend that to the level that Threadless has become,”.

After winning this competition, Threadless was born, taking on a community feel where people submit t-shirt designs, with the Threadless community rate each design on a 1-5 scale and whether they’d buy it or not. The highest rated each week are then turned into limited edition T-shirts, which are available for 15 US Dollars a T-shirt, which are periodically reduced down to $10 for seasonal sales.

Just having the guts to take the plunge and set up such a radical idea as this gets my full kudos to the guys – I’ve more or less got my whole collection made up of Howies or Threadless Tees. Howies tees feel better, but Threadless’ are cheaper and have funnier designs, and more available.

They’re not setting out to be uber-ethical, or uber-hip. They’re just Threadless, and they’re great.

Some of the research of this entry came from an assignment I did as part of my course, available here. It is a 1.6 MB PDF file and got 70% (A first – just!)

 
 
 

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We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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