Jake's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Design Roadtrip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Chicago, IL

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 12

JAKE NICKELL

Founder/CEO
Threadless

“I've been lucky-I've done pretty well-but even if I'd been doing this for the past 14 years and making just enough to get by, I'd still consider it a success.”

INTERESTS:

Design Entrepreneurship

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Hobbies & Pastimes Passion Success Struggle Hard Work Money & Financial Security Confidence Focus Planning Talent

FOUNDATION:

Being Creative

TAGS:

art, artists, business, competition, design, development, dreams, growth, hobby, mail, marketing, math, niche, passion, projects, screen printing, struggles, success, t shirts, website

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Taught himself how to build websites when he was 14, but kind of "burnt out" on that after he got stuck making basic sites for local businesses.
  • Was into art and math/computer science, and he had choose between the two when he was picking a college.
  • Decided to choose art school but worked as a web developer on the side.
  • Entered a t-shirt design into a competition and won; realized how amazing that felt and started Threadless that day.
  • Had been spending most of his free time browsing a global art forum online; offered to start printing artists' work on t-shirts.
  • People were interested, but Jake didn't even really know what he was doing; had to call screenprinters, figure out how to make his offer work.
  • Wasn't financially successful for the first two years because he put every dime back into printing more shirts, but that paid off in the long haul.
  • Loves that Threadless fosters a community where artists can show pride in their work, know that 5,000 people all over the world are wearing their prints.

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