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A platform for designers/threadless for other items?

Hello everyone,

I hope I don't come across as too self serving with this post, but it's sadly likely! Basically I've been flirting with the idea of setting up a 'crowdsource' based paper goods site. Items such as notepads, journals, cards for all occasion, wedding stationery too, gift boxes and bags.

The way it would work is similar to what threadless did for T-shirts, the best designs are voted for and then put into production, with the artist getting a cut of all sales.

Given you folks are the experts here, does this seem like something that would appeal to you to design for? I personally am not a designer, but that doesn't mean I don't like working with design :)

All feedback would be appreciated, thanks!

P. S. I'm not one hundred percent if this is the right subsection, I'll check tomorrow when I'm less knackered. I'll also update the post with more pertinent details.


Staff member
First off welcome to the forum....

Honestly I'm not so sure it would work, cards especially as you have the likes of funky pigeon/moonpig for that.

Notepads and Journals are kind of one of those things that people buy because they need them or like using them so not sure 'custom fronts' would be of much use there, although I've seen stranger things become popular lol. ... ah it clearly is quite popular as funky pigeon do them......

Wedding stationary is usually one of two types, completely custom or off the shelf... it might stand a better chance than the others.

Gift boxes and bags could be a way to go but again I'm not sure how much custom you'd get from it with 'smaller scale' but bulk purchase for companies could work.

I'd say the biggest issue isn't so much the concept but the competition. I know we've got a few t-shirt designers on here so they might be able to give you a more 'hands on feedback'


Staff member
Welcome to the forum.

I currently work for a company that is attempting to do a similar thing like a cross between MoonPig/FunkyPigeon and RedBubble/Zazzle.

Firstly I think you'd need to have a niche as the market is pretty saturated/cornered by the big hitters and a host of wanna-be's.
People don't want to scour the web when there are a lot of established companies out there with massive ranges.
"MoooonPig dot com"

Another consideration is the software behind the running of the whole thing for customers to buy product and the side where artists upload their designs.
'I know a company' that invested heavily in one package and it doesn't really work that well and the alternatives like 'Smile' (who I think do GettingPersonal and FunkyPigeon) are REALLY expensive. Something like a minimum of £70,000 just to get started small scale.

From my experience of it, it can be a real headache but saying that, I'm not trying to put you off as it's just my experience dealing with the learning curve.
I'm just trying to give a bit of an insight and I hope your idea could be something that stands apart from the rest.
Hi there.

Thanks for the replies, they've been rather helpful. There are competitors, yes.

The reason why this is different is how we 'source' our designs. Rather than just putting anything up (marketplaces like Etsy, eBay) or having our own designers who, ahum, get 'inspiration' from the designers out in the world (paperchase, moonpig) we will hold mini competitions where the best designs are voted for, the people who have the best designs will get some cash and then royalties on each item sold incorporating their artwork. It's more a sideline for those artists really, or for those who just see it as a hobby.

I did initially think of it as just for wedding stationery, but then I started thinking about other paper products. I know that the analogy to threadless was bound to bring up the notion that people buy t shirts more often than notepads and such (of course they do), but companies such as paperchase, and actually just high street stationers/John Lewis all appear to be expanding their stationery lines into more designed items. The demand is there for sure, this is just a different way of getting indie designs out into the Uk IMO.

The biggest issue I think is attracting the 'community' necessary to make this work. I'm not from a design background and I don't really know anyone who is, but that's why I'm posting here and other places to get opinions!

Software can be an issue, and it will be, if I think about going ahead with this.