Interview with Philip Rooke

Philip Rooke
Philip Rooke

Please share details of your third party vendors.

Spreadshirt handles all of its own printing and handling through its five international factories. We do use some third party vendors for base products such as t-shirts from Gildan or American Apparel. However, two years ago we started our own base products manufactured as per our requirements.

How many buyers and sellers do you have on your platform?

Spreadshirt provides individuals, businesses and organisations with a platform for buying, selling and creating ideas. The global community includes more than 70,000 sellers. Our recently launched new commission models include a volume model, making sale on Spreadshirt, even more lucrative for our partners.

Where are your investments directed? Please share details.

For Spreadshirt, recorded revenue for 2015 was EUR 85 million. We also took nearly 2 million orders and shipped over 3.6 million items to 180 countries. Our average basket size went up as global orders increased by 7.5 per cent and nearly 11 per cent more items were shipped than in 2014. So the 5.4 million visitors each month to the Spreadshirt site were buying more per visit. We continuously invest in platform developments, especially the buying and selling processes and simplify merchandising for both buyers and sellers. This aligns with our goal of enabling our community of international sellers to publish any idea on every product we offer globally, in 60 seconds or less, as we become a $1 billion game-changer in the apparel and accessories industry.

What latest technologies are integrated to your platform?

Over the last year, we have made many changes to our mobile interfaces. In some countries, 45 per cent of our traffic is via mobile devices. This provides a whole series of challenges in both the design and functions of our sites. We are currently reworking all our interfaces to be mobile friendly. We also invest heavily in our t-shirt designer tool. The key to creating a good experience is to make it as simple as possible; it is not simple, but our task is to make it look and feel simple.

What macro environmental factors affect your growth?

As a business, we are recession proof. Unique designs and vast consumer choice means customers can come to us for a great gift or highly valued items at a relatively low price. So, we are not affected much by economic cycles. We have an international consumer base that generates ideas and products which have a global following. This means that we sell across the world and have to deal with macro factors such as the currency, border and trade barrier issues that come with that.

Please share details of your global expansion strategies.

Internationalisation has undoubtedly been a major driver in our growth. It has allowed the sellers on our platform to reach more customers and for Spreadshirt to reach more sellers. That has given us scale. We will add more countries in a few years. However, at the moment we will drive our international expansion by making it much easier for sellers on our platform to be able to trade in all countries.

What is your global employee strength? Please explain.

We currently have approximately 500 employees from more than 20 nationalities working predominantly across Europe and the US. I believe is important to encourage an agile and innovative company culture, as well as nurture new ideas and ways of doing things. It really does take a world class team to develop a global platform for virtual, print-on-demand products. Without a good and motivated team you cannot succeed!
Published on: 29/06/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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