Everyone knows the way to get easy advertising is by getting customers to walk around with your logo all over them. The problem is that most companies that think giving out free shirts will do the trick don’t realize that their shirts are not what people want to wear. What your startup needs is a fresh dose of Startup Threads. Startup Threads, the company that lets you create and customize your startup’s swag is changing the way potential customers interact with your merchandise. You can display your logo more prominently, pick the fabric, and virtually anything else for an overall better product. So stop giving out flimsy XL shirts because they technically fit everyone and give your customers merchandise they want to flaunt.
We chatted with founder Frank Denbow about what inspired the company as well as where it plans to go from here.
Tell us about the product or service.
StartupThreads helps companies ship custom t-shirts and thank you packs to their customers and employees. Companies use us to engage their loyal customers, close new leads, and unite employees.
How is it different?
We handle the whole process of custom merchandise, from printing, storage in our warehouse, and providing marketing tools (like giveaways and our API) to distribute those items to the right people without the hassle.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are going after the $20 billion dollar promotional products industry in the US
What is the business model? We sell the printed items as well as the shipping and fulfillment services through our site.
What inspired the business?
I was participating in a lot of hackathons and building small apps with various APIs. Two things struck me being part of that community: 1) APIs were making it possible to automate many tasks, and could be a powerful core driver of business (as seen with Twilio and SendGrid) & 2) these companies were sending out tons of tshirts to users and leads, and it was working in helping them to build a name for themselves. None of what I saw in the market truly had automated this process of creating and distributing this custom merchandise. If marketers could harness promo products the way they can other marketing channels, the successful campaigns that they run could scale much larger than what’s currently possible with manual solutions.
The company just launched a cool, new integration. Tell us about it?
We just launched our integration with Zapier, which enables you to send custom tshirts and packs from over 500 different applications. Zapier allows you to connect services together, without having to be an engineer, which means you can automate the process of sending tshirts out to your community. You can send marketing packs to your vendors, welcome packages to your new employees, or send tshirts to your customers after they make their first purchase. It’s a new type of marketing automation for the physical world.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got? All the advice you could want is out there, it just may not be given to you in the right order or at the right time.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Shana Fisher since she seems to have a great track record and a unique perspective on startups.
Why did you launch in New York?
From the area and had built a network here which helped me to get my initial customers.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
Toss up between LeBain and Wythe hotel, both great spots.