There’s a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a while: startups I wish existed in Latin America. Part of the problem is that in order to do a decent job with that kind of post, I need to do a little more research in order to determine whether or not the businesses I think should exist don’t in fact already exist.
One of the startup companies that I thought someone should get going is a copy of Threadless, the US-based t-shirt design contest website. Basically it works like this: you design a t-shirt. The “community” votes. If you win, you get a small prize, and your t-shirt gets sold. It’s a fun way for designers to get recognition and a little cash, and for t-shirt enthusiasts (of which there are probably more than one might think) to get new shirts.
So via this thread on Quora, I discovered that such a company had just started in Hermosillo, Mexico. It’s called Fuck Yeah Tees, and while yes, it’s a straight ripoff of Threadless, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In early September, they apparently emerged from private Beta, and now the site is more or less open for business. FYT is offering a prize of $2500MXN (or about $200 US) for winning designs, which members can vote on for 30 days. The site is too new to have finished one competition, but there are a number of promising designs (of which my personal favorite is the one at right). People can vote on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “it stinks” and 5 being (of course) “fuck yeah.”
The key to this type of startup, naturally, is the community. People need to remain engaged and participate in the community. If that happens, it becomes a virtuous circle: better ideas lead to more participants, which builds the community further. As always in the startup world, it’s not the idea that counts: it’s the execution.