Interview with Threadless Tees Founder, Jake Nickell

December 4, 2012 — 10 Comments

Jake is one of those rare individuals that began creating for creativity’s sake.  His story begins with him joining an online forum where people were submitting artwork, and he began creating TShirts out of the custom pieces.  Thus, the foundation for Threadless Tees was born!

I got to interview Jake a few months back, and he’s a standup guy with a great story.  Enjoy!

Interview with Jake Nickell, Threadless Founder


Or, if you want, you can download the interview here.

Key Points:

  • Jake got into the business because of his love for art
  • They were profitable from day one!
  • He never traditionally thought of it as “crowdsourcing” from the beginning.  That aspect took on a life of it’s own.
  • Where’s Threadless headed next?  Perhaps apparel expansion?  Different clothes?  Who knows?

What about you?  Did you enjoy the interview?  What was your biggest take-away?

Andrew Mason


Andrew is a husband, learner, founder, dubstep aficionado, eater of carnetas burritos, and marathon runner. I love building communities that learn together!
  • I really enjoyed this interview. (i was looking at the website while listening to this interview). I agree with Jake Nickell, companies like his and kickstarter help people be creative and multiple people benefit from the result.

    • Absolutely. No downside to the business model that I see!

  • Tim

    A great job as always Andrew! Keep these incredible interviews coming. This is the sort of thing that inspires others to keep moving forward!

    • Thanks man. That’s my hope. I love learning from people like Jake, and figured others would too!

  • Seth

    Seriously… this was an awesome interview. I hadn’t heard of Threadless Tees before this interview, and now, I can’t stop looking at their products. What an innovative and ground-breaking company. Throwing aside popular wisdom that a company must be up on the latest and greatest technology in order for a company to be successful, Jake Nickell reminds us that the core of a business is finding an unmet need in the public and meeting it. In this case, the need was an artistic outlet for people wanting to collaboratively design and express their humorous thoughts. Listening to Jake detail his story of rising up from his beginnings as a student-entrepeneur and hearing him impart his wisdom on doing something that you’re passionate about and find rewarding was a true joy. The business nerd in me can’t get enough of innovative companies and concepts like this!

    • Seriously man. I’m a total “how businesses work” nerd myself, and I love Jake’s story because it’s *so* organic. Huge business driven by passion for creativity? What’s not to like about that?

  • Yeah, I really enjoyed hearing from Jake about how organic of a movement it was. In hindsight, it seems like an obvious success in the making, but I love how it took someone more interested in the collaborative and expressive elements to recognize the potential and act on it over a business minded person. The promise this kind of business holds is immense!

  • Ed

    Great interview. It’s always interesting hearing how rapid-growth companies like this deal with trying to maintain their rate of growth.

    • Good point Ed. It feels like a “sneeze.” After the initial burst of momentum, how do you keep it up?

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