When I first heard about 200 Nipples my reaction was of the “that’ll never work” variety. The t-shirt site operates on a gimmick whereby only 100 t-shirts are printed of each design, numbered 1 to 100 with a corresponding dollar cost for each t-shirt. The first shirt, for example, costs $1, while shirt number 37 costs $37, and so on up to shirt number 100 for $100.
In my wildest dreams, I didn’t think that would work. I couldn’t have guessed that there were enough people out there who would pay $100 for a shirt, just for the bragging rights associated with purchasing that #100 branded shirt. Turns out, I was wrong.
After just three shirts, 200 Nipples is now profitable and is going to start ramping up from one t-shirt every month to one every two weeks. So how much are they making? Well, not enough to retire yet.
T-shirts on 200 Nipples are sold just for a set time period (2 weeks for the first shirt, 4 weeks for the second, and 2 for every shirt from here on out). They’re not sold until they sell out, and so far none of the designs have sold out. The first design sold 36 copies, and second sold 56. But even though the lowest numbered shirts are sold at a loss, the expensive shirts make up for it fast if they sell — and they have been selling.
This month’s design has already sold four shirts above the $80 threshold (including numbers 99 and 100), and half the shirts are spoken for. And if they sell out all 100? Well, their revenue on a sell out t-shirt would be $5,080. The cost to print 100 t-shirts is probably not more than $600 (figure $5 + $1 for the labor to screen print each shirt) and since each is printed on demand, they’re not printing any more than they’re selling.
If 200 Nipples can scale up to Shirt.Woot-level success, and print and sell out a new shirt each day, they’d have a nice little business on their hands (printing five days per week x $5,080 is around
$130k $1.3 million per year in revenue). Unfortunately, that’s about as high as this idea can scale unless it evolves (200 shirts per print run? 2 shirts per day? Popular shirts reprinted later and sold in a side store?). Regardless of how large the the idea scales, congrats to 200 Nipples for their modest success.
Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.