Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Innovation Economy T-Shirt

If you're reading this, you are likely a member of the Innovation Economy here in New England: someone who makes things happen.

So this t-shirt is for you. ;)

In all seriousness, I've been playing around with various print-on-demand t-shirt options, and the one I like best is Spreadshirt. (They are based in Boston and Leipzig, Germany, and run by Jana Eggers, who lives in New Hampshire.) The products just look great.

I've been wearing my "Innovation Economy" t-shirt out and about this fall, and a couple of people have asked me whether they're for sale. Well, they are now, and you can choose from men's or women's, short-sleeve or long-sleeve, any color (as long as it's black or white.)

On the back, here's what it says:

...Because, in fact, the Innovation Economy is powered by you.

The logo design is by Tito Bottitta of Here's the short-sleeve white version:

Now, in case you are curious, the prices you'll see are exactly what Spreadshirt charges. There's no mark-up. I don't make any money from these shirts, nor do I get a referral fee or anything from Spreadshirt.

And feel free to post here about your experience with the site, or if you simply think this blog has become far too commercial...


Monday, April 14, 2008

Spreadshirt: The East Coast Answer to CafePress?

Had lunch today with Jana Eggers, the former Intuit exec who is now the CEO of Spreadshirt, a customized apparel company that was founded in Leipzig, Germany in 2002. The company entered the US market in 2005, and Eggers joined as CEO in November 2006.

Spreadshirt will make a jacket, t-shirt, or baseball cap with your design on it -- and they'll also let you sell your product to others in their marketplace. Unlike their California competitors at CafePress (which sells clocks, mugs, and clothing), Spreadshirt is focused only on apparel -- they offer five different kinds of hoodie, for example. But Eggers doesn't think Spreadshirt needs to go head-to-head with CafePress for market share -- at least at this stage.

"According to our research, 70 percent of online shoppers in the US don't know that you can do this," Eggers told me. "So it's less about stealing customers from CafePress than building awareness."

Eggers wears one of the company's products every day; today it was a brown long-sleeve t that said, "Believe it to see it." When she's in Germany, that can raise some eyebrows, since t-shirts aren't usually part of business attire. (One of her favorite shirts says, "I'm recruiting," which usually generates a conversation: "Recruiting for what?")

Eggers is building an office in Cambridge, at Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, to serve as the US headquarters of the company. It has just five employees so far (plus her) who work in sales, marketing, and finance. But she expects to add more people, in graphics and product management, by the end of the year. And a move to Southie could be in the offing. Spreadshirt's US orders are made at a plant near Pittsburgh; Eggers also says its possible that she could spark up some production in the Boston area.

The company has 250 employees in total, Eggers said.

She has a blog here, and is also a fairly avid Twitterer.

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