Jeffrey Kalmikoff and Jake Nickell, the masterminds behind the hugely successful, crowd-sourced t-shirt design website Threadless, chart their changing working styles and mindsets throughout eight years of partnership. Their “Do-First Work Ethic” encompasses virtues like: staying scrappy, being 100% reactive to your community, embracing a DIY approach, learning from failure, and always (always) taking the first step.About Jeffrey Kalmikoff I’m your average 29-year-old tattooed metal-head with an eye for design and nose for tomfoolery. The focus of my work as partner and chief creative officer for skinnyCorp is design and strategy for their numerous community-based web projects. These projects range in scale from Threadless, a multimillion dollar t-shirt business and ongoing open-call for t-shirt design submissions which sells more than 100,000 tees per month and has over 900,000 registered users, to YayHooray, an invite-only, just-for-fun design and technology community site with only a few thousand members.
Jake Nickell is a young, entrepreneurial mad man that programs community websites non-stop. He is the founder and CSO of skinnyCorp and Threadless.com, along with countless other side projects. Jake dreamed up the Threadless concept in 2000 after winning a t-shirt design contest on a short-lived online design forum. The idea of sharing designs and opening them up for fellow artists’ critiques appealed to him; he thought Threadless would be a way to give back to the community by creating actual goods out of the submitted designs.