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Collarfree launches online t-shirt contest 'Keeping Politics Positive'
Sep '08
Collarfree.com, a San Diego based e-commerce and collaborative design community, announced the launch of a “Keeping Politics Positive” contest to spark involvement in the 2008 elections. The contest will run through September and allows people to submit and vote on t-shirt designs for the Democratic and Republican candidates.

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'.” – Jimmy and Pat

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

Collarfree.com is leading a trend among online communities called “Crowd Sourcing”. Collar Free posts competitions for designers from around the world and allows the public and consumers to select the products they love best. This innovative design 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 there is still a significant opportunity to turn the fun into big profits.

Collarfree.com is a San Diego based company founded in April 2008 with revenue from e-commerce and b2b services providing custom design for companies.


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