Field Trip: Teespring, Davol Square, Providence, Rhode Island. February 13, 2015
‘Teespring‘? you ask……
Here’s what Forbes Magazine recently wrote about the company:
“Some tech companies look to change the way we communicate or travel in space.
Teespring helps people sell t-shirts. Custom, well-made t-shirts.
And it’s good at what it does.
Teespring sold 6 million shirts in 2014. Hundreds of its customers make more than $100,000 a year selling the teeshirts they design on the TeeSpring web site. ………At least ten customers have become millionaires selling their teeshirts through Teespring! ….. For 2015, the startup plans to go even bigger. The company has raised millions of dollars from investors.
“This isn’t about t-shirts, it’s not about crowd-funding, it’s about the concept that bringing something to market should be as easy as the idea,” says cofounder and CEO Walker Williams. “All we need is visionaries with the ideas.”
Teespring….handles the nitty-gritty of selling your own shirts, from payment to manufacturing and shipping. The idea came about as Williams and cofounder Evan Stites-Clayton were seniors at Brown University and a local favorite bar was closing. Amid the outpouring of student emotion on Facebook about that” closing, the entrepreneurs decided they wanted to sell shirts expressing support for the watering hole, only to find the logistics daunting. They eventually set up their own website and sold hundreds of shirts, then brought the idea to an investor group…….”
The Hope ‘Life Skills’ class arrived at the Teespring office at Davol Square in Providence around 11am and were quickly greeted by members of the TeeSpring team with
a thunderous Hope High cheer,
friendly smiles, handshakes and free ‘Euro’ teeshirts!
Ashley Nutini brought us to a comfortable lounge for snacks and drinks and began the day’s program with a presentation about the company. Ashley is in charge of ‘People Operations’. Some company’s refer to Ashley’s responsibilities as ‘Human Resources’.
Ashley then introduced us to a team of Teespring specialists who shared their stories of helping customers design, market and sell their teeshirts on Teespring.
“50% of the teeshirts sold through Teespring are black……….. most of the successful teeshirt designs are about something positive…..identify and understand the people you think will be interested in your teeshirt. They are your ‘market’; know what they like, from the design and color to the saying on the teeshirt…….don’t be afraid to try and fail; it’s amazing how many successful teeshirt customers failed miserably with their initial teeshirt designs………test and measure the results…….collaborate; the best ideas come when people come together to share ideas. We do it all the time at Teespring……….we suggest the right size of any group designing teeshirts is 3, maybe 4. Too many people make collaboration more difficult………empathy; it’s so important when dealing with other people whether they be Teespring customers or members of our Teespring team…….we’ve found an interesting market for teeshirts we previously hadn’t considered. High school students. This market has become one of our fasting growing market segments………we try to create a Teespring team of diverse backgrounds, from Australian, I mean English, marketing experts to customer service specialists from Providence. Even Wisconsin! Diversity brings different perspectives, different ideas, for solving problems and building success……… yes, we look for bi-lingual staff. We serving customers from all over the world; we need people who not only speak multiple languages but also appreciate different cultures…………….. we have offices in Providence and San Francisco. We’re opening a production facility to make the teeshirts in Kentucky. We’ll soon have a facility in the Philippines…….the founders love Providence…….”
Hope students responded with great questions
like “you said one of your fastest growing customer segments is high school students. That’s good, because my team for our ‘Life Skills’ assignment is designing a shirt for this market. But, Teespring requires credit card payment for online orders. Most of the high school students I know don’t have credit cards. What do you do?.…….(answer – “good question; we’re working on that now. One alternative is to go to CVS and buy a charge card”)….. what’s the best price to charge?……..please explain the minimum order requirement…..do you have multi-color teeshirts?……where does the profit come from? What percent of the charge to the customer goes to the designer and to Teespring….. how does the person buying the shirt on Teespring receive the teeshirt?…..does Teespring accept all designs…….. how do you know if your design in unacceptable…… how old is your youngest employee? (answer – ‘17‘, giving hope to all our students)……………”
And then, there was lunch!
At 1:45pm, our field trip to Teespring was over. Back on the bus to return to Hope High School.
Thanks to everyone at Teespring
for an entertaining and informative day. Much appreciated by all!