How did Threadless start?
Founder and CSO Jake Nickell won a tee shirt design competition for an event in London through a now-defunct online art forum called Dreamless. This inspired Jake, and friend Jacob DeHart to create Threadless, an ongoing open call for tee shirt design submissions, as a way to "give back" to the community by actually creating products featuring the work created by participating artists.
What began as a hobby evolved into a business once the idea took off after a few years. Threadless' growth was a community effort of increased participation and word of mouth.