“We have similar goals,” said Threadless founder and CEO Jake Nickell. “Threadless was founded in 2000 to support independent artists through apparel, Bucketfeet was founded in 2011 to support independent artists through footwear. By combining our communities and resources, we’re giving artists a whole new way to feature their art and to do what Threadless has always set out to do: make great together.”
Currently, Threadless’ Artists Shops allow anyone with a design idea to set up their own store, free of charge, with Threadless taking care of duties like manufacturing, order fulfillment and customer service. Artists submit designs, which are voted on. The artwork with the most votes is printed on merch like home, apparel and accessories items.
Threadless is looking to the Bucketfeet acquisition to expand their inventory into high-quality, on-demand shoes, something for which the footwear brand is well known.
To get the ball rolling, the two companies have launched a collaboration, a limited-run collection of Bucketfeet shoes with Threadless designs, available on Bucketfeet’s website. A definite win-win: Bucketfeet’s footwear gets exposure to a wider audience (3.2 million Threadless members, according to Threadless); and Threadless benefits because Bucketfeet’s construction process allows for the artwork to be printed before the shoe is created to maintain print quality throughout the manufacturing process.
“Threadless is the godfather of artist-designed e-commerce. We wanted to partner with a company that allowed us to scale our own Bucketfeet brand globally and much more rapidly,” said Bucketfeet cofounder Raaja Nemani. “Together we will immediately be the global leader in on-demand footwear manufacturing.”
Bucketfeet’s online store will continue to function independently through to the holiday season. Threadless will gradually combine the two into one site in 2018.