Issue No. 190: Am I Typecast?

Last Word: On proprietary products and eCommerce


Issue 189’s most read article contained four indicators of eCommerce success, one of them is depicted above. Internet retailers are nearly 3x more valuable when they source and/or manufacture a product that cannot be found elsewhere.

A great example of this is the new initiative of Pittsburgh’s Cotton Bureau, who is relatively quiet startup with a thriving marketplace for well-designed tees. For example, they sold 3,100+ units of one design in January 2017. Their custom site converts exceptionally well, they’re currently sporting a 🔥7.7% conversion rate in 2017.

Led by Michelle Sharp, Cotton Bureau’s Blank will manufacture their own t-shirt blanks and will attempt to do so domestically. The timing couldn’t be better, as American Apparel will leave a void for companies desiring high quality t-shirts for their own branding or product lines.

From yesterday’s announcement:

Today, we’re lifting the lid on Blank, our project to design and produce better t-shirts from the ground up: our sizes, our fits, our fabrics, our colors. Over the last six months, we’ve been building relationships with people all over the garment industry: pattern makers, fabric suppliers, cut-and-sew operations, industry consultants, full-service apparel factories, fit models, and more. We’ve even produced a few samples. We’re going to need all the help we can get, which is why reached out to for funding last year (remember this cryptic line?) and hired a project lead to give it the attention it deserves (we’ll introduce her in a bit). Exciting, huh? It’s something we’ve been talking about forever, and the fact that it’s actually happening is a bit surreal. Let’s answer some questions.

Read more about Cotton Bureau’s “Blank” initiative here. If you’d like an introduction, email and I’d be happy to connect you to their team. Cotton Bureau is one of four partners. – @web

See more of the issue here.

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