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Teespring, Inc.
Teespring logo.svg
Type of site
FoundedAugust 2011; 8 years ago (2011-08)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
  • Walker Williams
  • Evan Stites-Clayton
Alexa rankDecrease 4,269 (June 2018)[1]

Teespring is an e-commerce platform that allows anyone, anywhere, to create and sell products online.[2] The company was founded by Walker Williams and Evan Stites-Clayton in 2011 in Providence, Rhode Island. Teespring's platform aims to make selling custom apparel easier.[3] As of 2014, the company raised $55 million in venture capital from Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.[4]


Teespring allows users to create campaigns in order to sell custom apparel. Users create their products in the Teespring Launcher, where they can choose the color and type of item they would like to sell, and add a design. Designs can be uploaded from outside of the platform, or be created using the text and image tools. No orders are processed, manufactured, or shipped, until the campaign has "tipped," meaning that the sales goal was reached.

Teespring handles the production and distribution of the products, as well as the customer service associated with any order placed on their site.

All products are printed or manufactured in different facilities internationally.[3] Teespring offers a variety of apparel including T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, leggings and children's wear. TeespringGo enables users to unlock and sell a wider range of products such as hats, phone cases, plushies and pins.


According to founders Williams and Stites-Clayton, the inspiration for Teespring came in the spring of 2011 when the two wanted to sell T-shirts to commemorate the closing of a local bar. Rather than investing in a bulk order of shirts in various sizes, the Brown University seniors created their website in August 2011 where interested parties could submit pre-orders with their size and payment. The payment information would only be processed if they collected a minimum of 200 orders.

Over 400 shirts were sold, and the two were able to process the buyers’ payment information and successfully fulfill the orders.[3] After receiving numerous requests from other organizations asking for a custom campaign, Walker and Evan decided to pursue the concept of crowd-funded custom apparel full-time.

Rhode Island angel investors Bill Cesare and Mark Weiner invested the first $600,000 in seed funding. The company officially launched in October 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island.[3]

In November 2014, the company announced closing its Series B funding round at $35 million from Khosla Ventures to continue to fuel its growth and expansion, which includes the addition of a new facility in Kentucky that's expected to create hundreds of jobs next year. Andreessen also participated in the round.[5]

Business model[edit]

Individuals create campaigns in order to sell custom products on Teespring. Campaign creators are expected to design and market the product themselves. In exchange, Teespring will fulfill orders on campaigns that have reached their sales goal (called “tipped” campaigns), and will ship item(s) to buyers.[6]


Once a campaign has ended and successfully reached its sales goal, the shirts ordered by buyers are sourced to a screen-printing facility. The designs are then printed on each individual product.[3]


In October 2012, the company announced they had reached over $500,000 in monthly sales.[3] In March 2013, the company reported $750,000 in monthly revenue and a 50% month-over-month growth rate.[7]

In December 2013, Teespring was accepted into the start-up accelerator Y-Combinator which is based in Mountain View, California. Within two weeks of finishing the three-month accelerator, Teespring raised another $1.3 million including $500,000 from Sam Altman, then president at Y-Combinator.[2]

In January 2014, Teespring closed a Series A round of $20 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen partner Laars Dalgaard, formerly of SuccessFactors, led the investment, his first with the firm.

In November 2014, Teespring raised a Series B round of $35 million from venture capital firm Khosla Ventures, with partner Keith Rabois joining the company's board.[4]

As of 2015, Teespring had 220 employees in the US.[8]

2015 they laid off their entire Providence, Rhode Island Staff.


From 2016 to present, Teespring has been under investigation and has been notified to cease & desist the production and sale of illegal Smokey Bear T-shirts. The firm has chosen to ignore repeated letters to cease the sale of "Resist" T-shirts and the illegal use of Smokey Bear's image. This matter is unresolved.[citation needed]

In May 2017, Teespring fell under controversy for selling T-shirts that featured the words, “Black Women Are Trash,” resulting in many Twitter users calling for a boycott of the platform.[9][10][11] Teespring's director of seller success, Brett Miller, responded, “Once we learned of the error we immediately took steps to remove all content in question and ban the offending seller from our platform. We have since fixed the issue.”[12]

In August 2017, Teespring was blamed for selling products and reclaiming the swastika since it was considered as prompting symbol of hate.[13][14] KA Design listed rainbow swastika designs on Teespring in an attempt to rebrand the contested symbol used by the Nazis.[15] Jewish groups called for a boycott of Teespring following news of the controversial products.[16]

In November 2017, Walmart removed a shirt bearing the words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required” from its website, following a complaint from Radio Television Digital News Association, a journalist advocacy group. The shirt was listed on Walmart's website through Teespring (as a third-party seller). Time magazine reported that at the time, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker,[17] there had been 35 physical attacks on journalists so far in 2017.[18]

In April 2018, the company came under fire for selling items celebrating Dylann Roof, a "neo-nazi" mass murderer.[19]

In June 2018, an article by Alex Dalbey in the Daily Dot detailed criticism on social media of Teespring for pulling a line of T Shirts featuring the term "TERFs" (short for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists). The most notable design stated "Fuck TERFs".[20] Teepspring said the T-Shirts “violates our Hate Speech section of our acceptable use policy”. Dalbey found the claim ironic, given "Teespring’s lengthy white supremacist, transphobic, homophobic, and racist designs available for sale."[20]

A Women's March spokesperson told CNN that "many of these fake pages are used to sell merchandise, with the proceeds benefiting individuals instead of our movement. The efforts to capitalize on movement work isn't new, but it is frustrating, particularly as we make an effort to only sell ethically sourced and produced merchandise — a rule these imposter pages don't abide by.[21]

See also[edit]

Self-printing products and custom merchandise[edit]


  1. ^ "Teespring.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Rich, Nathaniel. Silicon Valley’s Start-Up Machine The New York Times. May 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Perez, Sarah. Teespring Wants To Be The Place Where You Can Crowdfund Anything, Starting With T-Shirts TechCrunch. October 11, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Konrad, Alex. Teespring Says It's Minting New Millionaires Selling Its T-Shirts, Raises $35 Million Of Its Own Forbes. November 18, 2014.
  5. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2014/11/18/teespring-raises-35-million-series-b-from-khosla-ventures-as-it-prepares-to-expand-beyond-apparel/
  6. ^ Dumas, John Lee. "271: Walker Williams and Evan Stites-Clayton Talk T-shirts Via Teespring". Entrepreneur On Fire. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  7. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Andreessen Horowitz Invests $20M In Custom Apparel Platform Teespring". TechCrunch. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  8. ^ Perez, Sarah. Custom Apparel Platform Teespring Acquires London-Based Fabrily To Expand Internationally TechCrunch. January 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Lasker, Alex (10 May 2017). "Store apologizes for selling 'Black Women Are Trash' shirts". AOL.
  10. ^ Abrams, Hannah (10 May 2017). "Teespring's 'Black Women Are Trash' Shirt Sparks Outrage". Promo Marketing Magazine.
  11. ^ Solé, Elise (8 May 2017). "Clothing Company Apologizes for 'Black Women Are Trash' T-Shirts". Yahoo! Style.
  12. ^ Weise, Elizabeth (9 May 2017). "Clothing Company Apologizes for 'Black Women Are Trash' T-Shirts". USA Today.
  13. ^ Neuman, Scott (7 August 2017). "Company's Line Of Rainbow-Themed Swastika T-Shirts Backfires". NPR.
  14. ^ "Teespring removes swastika T-shirt for sale online after outrage". New York Daily News. 8 August 2017.
  15. ^ Ruvo, Christopher (7 August 2017). "Teespring, T-Shirt Creator Criticized For Swastika Shirt". Advertising Specialty Institute.
  16. ^ "Clothing company yanks rainbow swastika T-shirt". CBS News. 8 August 2017.
  17. ^ Perrigo, Billy (1 December 2017). "'Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required': Walmart Removes Threatening Shirt From Store". U.S. * violence. Time. Time Inc. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "U.S. Press Freedom Tracker". 2017. Archived from the original on December 3, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "Dylann Roof T-Shirts and sweatshirts are being sold online by a Silicon Valley-backed company". Newsweek. 2018-04-24. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  20. ^ a b "Transgender designer says she was banned by Teespring for anti-transphobic designs". The Daily Dot. 2018-06-06. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  21. ^ https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/17/tech/womens-march-facebook-scam-bangladesh/index.html

External links[edit]