New T's & C's Discussion

So, undoubtedly many of you have received the email about the new terms and conditions. There was one part which confused me a bit:



Under our new terms and conditions, you, the artist, will retain the rights to your design and grant Threadless a non-exclusive right to produce your design on all product categories



Does this mean we can print our selected Threadless designs on shirts elsewhere? Sorry if it's a dumb question.


I avoided putting any of my designs elsewhere for such a long time.

Watch this
Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
ThePaperCrane
ThePaperCrane profile pic Alumni
LauraCat said:

...Basically we want to give our artist community the use of the Threadless platform to market and sell your designs, without giving up any exclusivity. ...

but I don't like having to work for my money.

speakerine
speakerine profile pic Alumni
LauraCat said:

Hey Mr. Rocks - The amount of designs that receive the weekly upfront cash is not going to be very different than the existing model in that we will 1) still have Grand Prize winners for each Design Challenge and 2) weekly/monthly cash-based incentives. The new Royalty system is, yes indeed, based on how well your design sells. Basically we want to give our artist community the use of the Threadless platform to market and sell your designs, without giving up any exclusivity. And we are also very excited to be releasing the Royalty Tracking feature soon, which should alleviate any confusion in regards to how much your design is earning each month, and what you should expect to get paid.

great!

Robo Rat
Robo Rat profile pic Alumni

I believe that the staffs are pointing out that the fixed prized money will only be granted on Themed Challenges starting on April 1. No more $2000 up front if a design is picked for the regular Threadless open-ended design challenge, it will be based on royalties.

ChrisDB

I still think that allowing other tee companies to produce the same design is a bad idea. It's like Ferrari telling other manufacturers they can also manufacture the same car. You know the same standard is not going to be retained. Quality will suffer.

I just can't stop thinking about those iconic designs that made Threadless...then to see them being made by someone else :(

I've always enjoyed when people asked me about my Tees to tell them I got it at Threadless and to turn them on to the site.

JaymeArt
ChrisDB said:

I still think that allowing other tee companies to produce the same design is a bad idea. It's like Ferrari telling other manufacturers they can also manufacture the same car. You know the same standard is not going to be retained. Quality will suffer.

I just can't stop thinking about those iconic designs that made Threadless...then to see them being made by someone else :(

I've always enjoyed when people asked me about my Tees to tell them I got it at Threadless and to turn them on to the site.

Isnt that only if the artist takes it elsewhere? If artists are getting the best deal here, why print other places?

JacquesMaes
JacquesMaes profile pic Alumni

Isnt that only if the artist takes it elsewhere? If artists are getting the best deal here, why print other places?

Why wouldn't they? If an artist has a big following and can bring in most of it's own clients, I can understand that he/she prefers to stick to one company that has the best deal.

But for those who are not into the whole promoting/social media game, and prefer to rely on the already manifested company's customers. They can only benefit by targeting multiple companies so they have more potential buyers.

Of course this also depends on other factors, how the artists want their art to be perceived, art that is uploaded on every DTG-website around the corner, makes it kind of lose some value, as well as control for the artist.

Also, will Threadless keep on screenprinting or follow the trend of DTG? I think this will also be a big factor for artists deciding on submitting exclusively to Threadless or not.

tomburns
tomburns profile pic Alumni

If an artist has a big following and can bring in most of it's own clients

If that was the case why would you need threadless, why wouldn't you just print and sell your designs all by your lonesome?

This is why it doesn't matter about letting the artist have the design printed somewhere else. Threadless, the location, is where your shirt design gets heard about and bought. Since there are so many other places to buy artist created designs, they all get kind of drowned out by the sheer volume.

For example, my communist party design sells awesome here at threadless, so now with the new terms, I can add it to my teepublic store, which produces really good quality dtg shirts, but the sales there will never be as good with the exact design and quality as here though probably, because of the momentum and visibility that threadless has.

In physical terms, I have a teepublic shirt storefront with 80 (Eighty!) shirt designs available and only make about $20-$30 per month with that.

I know what you are thinking, "Just market your store better! Advertise! Promote on social blah, etc!"

Yeah that sounds good in theory but doesn't really work since everyone is basically a drop in the ocean as far as t-shirt designers go.

TL:DR - it makes zero difference in the grand scheme of things if your threadless designs are also available elsewhere, as most sales will still come from the threadless storefront because of: people.

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni

Smart words Tom.

I'd be curious to know what an average 'first run' amount of shirts is at Threadless? And what the new deal will mean regarding DTG of screen?

ChrisDB

I get what you're saying Tom. But if you're saying that even if your Communist Party was sold elsewhere it wouldn't do nearly as well as on Threadless, then does it really matter that you need the rights to sell it elsewhere as a Tee? Compared to what you would receive from Threadless sales, it would be negligible? And your design is definitely one of the iconic Threadless tees that I think has helped build the Threadless brand. It feels like they're shooting themselves in the foot by releasing the rights to their iconic tees.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

I used to sell' screen prints on Etsy... well I say 'sell' coz I hardly sold anything. Then I was approached by a company to sell them and I ended up selling thousands of dollars worth of little $10 prints. My point is, the audience that comes to Threadless wants a specific product. So what's a bestseller here may be just another print lost in an ocean of prints on another site.

Farnell
Farnell profile pic Alumni

@melmike you're right. People buy into the threadless brand - if I started selling one of threadless designs online, it wouldn't sell many, the the online footfall on threadless.com is so high and the brand is so strong that they sell loads.

Also not many other companies would want to give non exclusive rights so to be honest I doubt many will pop up on other t-shirt sites legitimately.

I would designs to be exclusive to Threadless, it is what makes them special and unique.

I worry we are one step away from Zazzle, and that isn't good..

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni
Farnell said:

I worry we are one step away from Zazzle, and that isn't good..

You mean Threadless is one step away from giving up all curation and quality control and just letting people sell every imaginable kind of crap? Let's not be overly dramatic.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

I know that I stayed off threadless for years partly because I didn't like the idea of giving up the rights. I don't know why exactly, it just didn't sit well with me (until I swallowed my pride and took the plunge). I'm pretty sure this move is about enticing all those amazing illustrators and artists out there to do the same.

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni

I know some established artists more or less quit Threadless when they started claiming all rights to the designs. Looks like Andy G even deleted his account.

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
Morkki said:
Farnell said:

I worry we are one step away from Zazzle, and that isn't good..

You mean Threadless is one step away from giving up all curation and quality control and just letting people sell every imaginable kind of crap? Let's not be overly dramatic.

Maybe it won't be like the poor quality concepts etc of Zazzle, but the principal of Farnell's comment is correct. DTG Print on demand for $2 a shirts isn't miles away from Zazzle, Red Bubble and other similar sites's business model.

This is what makes me nervous about royalty only...

Farnell
Farnell profile pic Alumni

Threadless just needs to stay cool, stay exclusive and keep rewarding artists with prize money. I have not seen any royalties from any of my designs/art prints/ipad cases etc...

I had two prints selected for the threadless wholesale range ( sold by a company in Japan) and this is royalty only, so it will be interesting to see how this turns out...

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
Farnell said:

Threadless just needs to stay cool, stay exclusive and keep rewarding artists with prize money.

Yeah, this is a nice wish, but the wheels are already in motion.

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
The Paper Crane said:

I feel all these sites are homogenizing into POD stores.

Yes, it does seem that way. It's a shame Threadless, a true original, can't stay just that..original.

ThePaperCrane
ThePaperCrane profile pic Alumni
Mr Rocks said:
The Paper Crane said:

I feel all these sites are homogenizing into POD stores.

Yes, it does seem that way. It's a shame Threadless, a true original, can't stay just that..original.

I understand DBH is going that way right?

radiomode
radiomode profile pic Alumni
Jayme Art said:

"...all these sites are homogenizing into POD stores."

Ooooh scarey. Sounds like a Sci-Fi alien invasion movie.

It's the way of the future

Farnell
Farnell profile pic Alumni

Threadless, please just stay original, go against the grain, surprise us, do what we least expect and stay the most unique, creative and interesting t-shirt store online...

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
The Paper Crane said:
Mr Rocks said:
The Paper Crane said:

I feel all these sites are homogenizing into POD stores.

Yes, it does seem that way. It's a shame Threadless, a true original, can't stay just that..original.

I understand DBH is going that way right?

My understanding is it already is that way. The have a site which is releasing 'winning' designs less and less, and now I would estimate that 90% of their sales are DTG/POD designs. Good for them, and nothing against them as I have a store there, but like Tom Burns pointed out, I don't promote my store and only make about 30-40 bucks a month.

RicoMambo
RicoMambo profile pic Alumni

Threadless made the decision. I think its good for them, very WISE because best artist just dont want to sell their art forever..... and now all will come back, for sure!!!!! We all look from our perspective and interest, its normal that you guys with 30+ prints dont like new situation, LOL, but like i said from my point of view its a good and (more) fair and positive change :)

louisroskosch
louisroskosch profile pic Alumni
The Paper Crane said:

I feel all these sites are homogenizing into POD stores.

if so then its up to the tee sites to differentiate themselves so they can stand out individually.

for me i can't complain at all, my dbh sales are great so far, only been on it for two months. before they switched to print on demand i made 0 money from them.

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni

There's still good reasons for sites not going 100% dtg even if the quality is pretty good these days. The dtg printers still can't do oversize designs or unconventional placement. The cost per shirt is lower when you batch print a bunch of screen printed shirts. And it's faster to get shirts to customers when you have them ready on the shelf.

JaymeArt
radiomode said:
Jayme Art said:

"...all these sites are homogenizing into POD stores."

Ooooh scarey. Sounds like a Sci-Fi alien invasion movie.

It's the way of the future

If the process produces quality products, I dont mind that they are all the same. :] As long as each site retains their own 'vibe', you know like a general style of art that is popular on each one that makes it unique.

tomburns
tomburns profile pic Alumni

Here is a real life example (albeit with probably wildly inaccurate guesses about quantity and $ amounts, threadless can probably provide actual numbers) about the whole "Lump sum payment" vs "royalties of profits" systems of payments TO the artist.

LONG STORY BEGINS: Around christmas time in 2005, I submitted a design called "The Communist Party". I was 27 years old at the time, a bachelor, living in my first house I bought, it was about 845 square feet, and I was a pretty stoned most of the time. (not relevant, just giving you an idea about where I was at)

It did OK in scoring (Original design submission: Average score:2.95 out of 5 Scored by:1785 people )

As you can see, alot more people scored designs back then (1785!) , but it really didn't have many comments (Only 24 comments the length of its actual scoring period. In the years since, it has gained about 130 more comments there for some reaason)

This design was an immediate and surprising (even to threadless staff) success at the box office, and sold out and was reprinted a few times there right off the bat. Since then, as you can see from that link to the OG submission, it has been printed on pretty much everything possible here at threadless. In the 8 years it has been a design available here it has become (I am pretty sure) one of the top selling tees in threadless's history, if not the top selling design in terms of sheer volume.

OK, TOLD YOU THAT TO TELL YOU THIS: I was paid $750 initially for the design from Threadless. (not gonna count gift certificates here) The payment per design was lower back then. Also, reprints were not paid for back then, so if any reprints were printed within the first couple of years (not exact on when they began paying out for reprints), then the artist didn't get anything. Not bitching here, just telling the history.

SO LET'S DO A COMPARISON: Again, my counts and amounts may be wild guesses here, but I think I am fairly close to the mark, give or take.

LUMP SUM PAYMENTS: Or, how it always has been so far...

$750 - Initial payment $500 x 12 (I'm guessing it has been reprinted about 12 times) equals: $6750

So I'm thinking that over all, in the 8 years it's been selling here, with the lump sum payment system, I have been paid about $6750 total for this design. (again, give or take $1000 or so, threadless could probably provide the actual numbers for everything)

Now, ROYALTY BASED SYSTEM: Or, what it would have been if it was like this from the get go...

This is where my wild guessing will come into play, as I have no idea how many actual shirts have been produced, but I am taking a shot in the dark here and saying that all told, every shirt of any kind that had the design on it would amount to about 80,000 shirts. (AGAIN, wild guess, threadless would probably know the actual amounts, could be more or less than this amount, but I am guessing it is fairly close to the actual amount printed in eight years, I think they printed way for at the beginning, if I remember right, they used to printed "batches" of shirts at a quantity of 1500, and double batches at 3000. Now I assume it is less when they print up a batch)

Here's where I'd have to guess again, but I would say roughly, that a profit from these shirt sales would be in the $5 dollar range (check with threadless on it, Im guessing) but if that were the case, then from 80,000 shirts at $5 profit each, you have the number: $400,000.

So..

20% of $400,000 = $80,000

10% of $400,000 = $40,000

3% of $400,000 = $12,000

So, if my wild guess numbers are anywhere near correct, then you can see that getting a design to go "viral" in a best case scenario, you would indeed profit as an artist from the royalty based payment, whereas in my case, it is retroactively my worst case scenario, in that you can't go backwards, so I have basically been paid the equivalent (if the numbers are anywhere near correct) of about a 1.5% royalty over 8 years for the design, "The Communist Party".

THANK YOU, GOOD LUCK? (cries)

palitosci
palitosci profile pic Alumni

It´s very important to know how many tee will print per lot (guys/gays) aprox. 1500, 1000, 500, 250? how many? So the benefit to future or not be known.

ThePaperCrane
ThePaperCrane profile pic Alumni
tomburns said: edited down version

I have been paid about $6750

(cries)

I cries for you. The future looks brighter though when it gets another reprint. :)

For the $2000 payout designs I am guessing they print around 750 tees a time these days.

Go on Threadless give us some real numbers!!

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni

Didn't Threadless at some point offer to buy all the rights to a design for a buttload of dollars once it had been reprinted x times? I thought for sure Communist Party was one of those designs. Huh.

Musarter
Musarter profile pic Alumni
tomburns said: edited down version

I have been paid about $6750

(cries)

Dude, I feel for you. That design was the first design on the site that grabbed my attention, as being clever, but at the same time made me think I could do something like that. When anthropologists in 100 years look back on Threadless, that design will be in the top three designs that is listed. Such an inspirational, best selling, and iconic design deserves better compensation. I am sure it will keep earning and with the new system you should continue to get payouts for years to come.

tomburns
tomburns profile pic Alumni

I am sure it will keep earning and with the new system you should continue to get payouts for years to come

Yeah I hope so! Again, that number is just a rough guess, but its in that general area. I guess the point is, if a shirt sells well, you'll get paid well now, and if it doesn't, you won't. I'm down with that, I just need to come up with a new idea for a tshirt that will get everybody's attention like that again (easier said than done obviously) ;)

louisroskosch
louisroskosch profile pic Alumni

thanks for that run down tom. makes me happy they changed their model, and less bummed out that i haven't been printed much here.

Musarter
Musarter profile pic Alumni
tomburns said:

I am sure it will keep earning and with the new system you should continue to get payouts for years to come

Yeah I hope so! Again, that number is just a rough guess, but its in that general area. I guess the point is, if a shirt sells well, you'll get paid well now, and if it doesn't, you won't. I'm down with that, I just need to come up with a new idea for a tshirt that will get everybody's attention like that again (easier said than done obviously) ;)

Thanks for being open about the numbers. With the volume of designs you have there, and their quality, I would think you would sell more. It may be that us artists know Teepublic but consumers don't. That is the biggest problem with Society6; artists put stuff there and it is never seen by the general public even if it is featured in their shop.

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
louisroskosch said:

thanks for that run down tom. makes me happy they changed their model.

Yes, but only if you have a win+iconic idea/shirt like Communist Party.

Here's my past history in a nutshell, which I feel is the other side to the coin Tom describes:

I've been here for almost 10 years, had 18 shirts printed (some collabs, royalty only etc.) and as a result netted about 13k cash and 6k in prizes and store credit.

Thats an average of 1900 a year, adding royalties, lets round it up to 2000 per year. This is fine by me, as some years were better than others and made for a nice tax free bonus as it's a prize. (which as soon as it switches to royalties will no longer be the case for me.)

The thing to note is with my shirts, they may have an instant appeal that garners a win (which is worth $2000 as you know) but none have ever had a sense of iconic. The only shirt I've ever had reprinted, and as a result a reprint bonus, is Doom Regatta. That was a brain child of Ross's. ( a collab, so that $500 was halved in the end.)

So you can see why my feelings about the royalty only deal are not that great.

I used to not give a shit about the money and enjoyed the creative freedom of submitting work outside of my day to day commercial illustration work. Even the fact that there's more crowd sourcing comps available to me, I stuck with Threadless because their prize was well above the others and such a great incentive, even if I didn't win I knew the potential of what was possible gain. Does that make sense? Even though I knew it was only a carrot on a piece of string, it was a fatter carrot than most were offering.

Now, because I am older with more responsibilities and expenses, I find I cannot justify my time and effort for only the possibility of making less than what I would commercially selling a tee shirt design.

The prize was never the real goal, and I know I am contradicting myself here some, but there's no longer that 'bonus' incentive to submit. The carrot has gone and there's only a promise of a carrot, and that promise can't guarantee the size of the carrot.

Wheels03
Wheels03 profile pic Alumni

This may have been answered already, but what's the policy/timeframe on submitting previous designs to other sites? If something's just been submitted/approved by Threadless, do artists still need to wait 90 days before taking it somewhere else or do they have the freedom to simultaneously submit elsewhere (a.k.a. design whoring)?

louisroskosch
louisroskosch profile pic Alumni

mr rocks: yea, this doesn't suit everyone. it suits me though. i had more or less stopped subbing here and focussed on daily sites. now i can start again, bonus!

erikRVA

This is a hell of a topic, very informative. I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts.

Keeping the rights to your work sounds ace, but seeing the same tees from TL on other websites would look odd in my opinion and kinda de-value a bit the product, but I guess is for the greater good.

Fleck
Fleck profile pic Alumni

Overall it sounds great to me, I just hope that artists will show a bit of discretion over where they take their designs. I get an email almost every day inviting me to some 'cutting edge original new POD site' and I ignore most of them now- it may make me a little extra money if I sell through them all but overall I think it really devalues art to have it spread absolutely everywhere. People still love limited editions- me included.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

About existing Threadless designs popping up on smaller POD sites... You've got to remember that most of these other sites are minuscule in comparison to this one, with tiny followings. The only reason I've even heard about them is because of these forums. Your average buyer will always go to Threadless first. As long as Threadless still plans and curates their selections, and keeps running interesting challenges and (re)building the community, I can't see how that will change.

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
melmike said:

About existing Threadless designs popping up on smaller POD sites... You've got to remember that most of these other sites are minuscule in comparison to this one, with tiny followings. The only reason I've even heard about them is because of these forums. Your average buyer will always go to Threadless first. As long as Threadless still plans and curates their selections, and keeps running interesting challenges and (re)building the community, I can't see how that will change.

Not true, and have a read here:

https://www.threadless.com/forum/post/991127/about-threadless-new-compensation-with-numbers/?page=2#comment_form

The fatter carrot's are no longer at Threadless... and this makes me sad. I felt a loyalty for Threadless for almost 10 years of my life but with the carrot gone for me, and my friends Ross, Joe and Bob no longer with the company, I don't feel the same as I used too.

tomburns
tomburns profile pic Alumni

Not sure about that, I feel that if Threadless and another company online both have the same design selling, I will always sell more at Threadless, and it's kinda neat because come April 1st and the new royalty tracker in the dashboard here, I can watch Threadless sales go head to head with DBH, teepublic, redbubble, society6, etc. That, for me, will certainly prove who sells what.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

Yeah, obviously I don't have any figures to back up my claim, just anecdotal 'evidence' that I only ever heard of any of these other sites from you guys. Whereas almost anyone I've ever met under the age of 35 who wears t-shirts knows Threadless.

As for the other thread, I completely get what you guys are saying, but most of it's all just speculation at this point. We don't know what the cash prize structure will be after April 1, other than it won't be $2k for 5 or so designs every week. That doesn't mean it will be nothing. Or did I miss a memo?

Mr Rocks
Mr Rocks profile pic Alumni
tomburns said:

Not sure about that, I feel that if Threadless and another company online both have the same design selling, I will always sell more at Threadless

Yeah, I should have been more specific. FOR ME... the fatter carrots are no longer at Threadless. But even then, I would submit pop culture stuff elsewhere anyways, and some 'art' here. (just because there's folks who can nail that genre better here than I.)

melmike said:

As for the other thread, I completely get what you guys are saying, but most of it's all just speculation at this point. We don't know what the cash prize structure will be after April 1, other than it won't be $2k for 5 or so designs every week. That doesn't mean it will be nothing. Or did I miss a memo?

Laura pretty much said that the cash prize was gone and it's royalties only for regular subs. Prize comps will still have 2k, but if you did not win and get a print, it'll be royalty, where as it used to be 2k printed, no matter where your design came from.

You're right, it won't be nothing, but your chances of getting printed and making LESS than 2k are alot higher, and if it's not a great seller, ALOT LESS than 2k.

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
No account?
Join Us