Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

We have had some great success lately with our “Keeping Politics Positive” t-shirt contest. We have been able to get great designs, provide royalties for 10+ designers, and also get some great press.

One of my favorite articles was from Tom Serres, CEO of Piryx, Inc, on RealPolitix.com. Here is the link and the full article.



Hey Folks!

I recently had a great conversation with a social entrepreneur out of the San Diego area, Jimmy Hendricks. No, not the infamous James Hendrix of the 1960’s, but a fellow entrepreneur bridged by passion to do what is right for the world. Jimmy, in his own unique way, is helping me achieve my goal of making politics accessible and exciting again – ideas that are core values to the Piryx mission.

The Web can be home to political debates that cause mountains to crumble at the words and actions by fist shaking, red faced, online community members who’s sole passion in life is to shout to the entire world, not why their candidate rules, but why “the other guy” is scum. Messages on the Web that confess to political hacks (literally) of public official’s emails are only overshadowed by discussion boards littered with virtual yelling matches.

A democratic design community and e-commerce site based in San Diego, Collarfree.com, seeks to reverse the negative discussions surrounding the upcoming elections by providing proactive and positive involvement through a contest titled, “Keeping Politics Positive.”

The contest, which runs through September, allows people to submit and vote on t-shirt designs for Obama and McCain. The talent within the community of more than 5000 users creates shirt concepts and the winning shirts will be available for purchase by shoppers.

The contest aims to not only spark involvement, but also to ignite upbeat and constructive behavior in political evangelists on the Web. Where other communities spend their time berating the opposition, Collarfree expands on their philosophy by requiring all t-shirts be for a preferred candidate rather than against another.

“We wanted a way to promote the election but stay true to our company values,” said Collarfree co-founder, Jimmy Hendricks. “Our company slogan is Fashion for Independent People and one of our core values is positivity, so we created a contest built on that and chose the campaign name, ‘Keeping Politics Positive’.”

Collarfree founders, Jimmy Hendricks and Patrick Dillon call their process “Democratic Design.” They are creating a community that has, among other things, fostered a political playground where no one gets punched in the gut. Through user generated fashion designs representing the beliefs of the designers, they prove that political campaigns can be anything but a war zone.

Collarfree.com is a San Diego based company founded in April 2008. For more information visit @jimmyhendricks on twitter or send an email jimmy@collarfree.com


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A San Diego company, Collarfree.com, has found an innovative way to spark involvement in the 2008 election by launching an online t-shirt competition in the month of September called “Keeping Politics Positive”.


Graphic designers around the world submit stylish, pro-candidate t-shirt designs into Collar Free’s voting system on a daily basis. The public votes on their favorite shirts for either Obama or McCain.

Then the shirts are ranked and displayed based on their win percentage, calculated by totaling the positive votes for each design. The founders Jimmy Hendricks, 27, and Patrick Dillon, 29, call the process “Democratic Design”


“We wanted a way to promote the election but stay true to our company values. Our company slogan is Fashion for Independent People and one of our core values is positivity, so we chose the campaign name, Keeping Politics Positive. We have encouraged our designers to submit stylish, pro-candidate shirts and everyone loves it” – Jimmy and Pat




The company is awarding two $250 cash prizes for the top Obama and top McCain shirt plus a 10% commission on any designs sold to the designers.


The business model used by Collar Free is a new trend among online communities called “Crowd Sourcing”. Companies post design competitions recruiting designers both domestically and internationally and then allow the public and consumers to select the products they love best. The process increases demand, reduces risk, and engages customers, frankly because it’s fun.


In a recent NPR broadcast, MIT professor Eric von Hippel, an expert in innovation management, says online design is becoming a substitute for in-house research and development while voting takes the place of conventional market research.


“This is really the biggest paradigm shift in innovation since the Industrial Revolution,” von Hippel says. “For a couple hundred years or so, manufacturers have been really imperfect at understanding people’s needs. Now people get to decide what they want for themselves.”



The “Crowd-Sourcing” model is getting a lot of traction and appeal from consumers, but the challenge is turning fun into profits. Regardless of the outcome, it looks like Collar Free has found an exciting way to get involved and enjoy the process.


Collarfree.com is a San Diego based founded in April 2008. They currently are an e-commerce community, but they are quickly expanding into retailers and are providing custom design for companies.


For more information visit http://www.collarfree.com  or

Contact: Jimmy Hendricks, jimmy@collarfree.com, 619-795-2993.


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One of the toughest things a new company faces is what opportunities to accept. As new company, staying alive is the number one priority short term, but long term building a brand and a core value structure is the number one priority.

I call this balance “Brand vs. Opportunity Economics”. As a new company every opportunity needs to be plotted on this chart. A great brand opportunity that financially tightens the company can be just as bad as a great financial opportunity that is immoral or erodes a companies brand.

The question we’ve looked at this month is “How can we get involved with the election, but still position our selves as a fashion company?”.

Our answer was to have a “Keeping Politics Positive Campaign” and have our designers make fashionable, pro-candidate t-shirts promoting their favorite candidate. So we are having Obama shirts compete against each other and McCain shirts compete against each other to produce the best designs.

Political t-shirts are not our brand, but the democratization of design is. So we are going to showcase how our voting system works and how head to head competition can equate to the best clothing as it does in politics.

Right now this is a hypothesis, but we believe this is a great way to showcase our voting system and the positive values Collar Free represents.

What dilemmas has your company faced?

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