The digital world has not only ushered in the new era of online marketplace, but in the same vein it is changing the rules by embracing the practice of crowdsourcing creativity. If you thought only funding or information could be crowd sourced, then think again. FREECULTR Express is a crowd-sourced design platform that allows anyone to create and sell t-shirts through their very own personalized tee-store featuring original and authentic digital content. Creative minds are motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. Intrinsic factors like self-expression, enjoyment, learning and control motivate creative performance. But, in the real world, especially in a country like India, if given the opportunity to derive extrinsic value out of their passion and creative side.
We @ TheTechPanda had an insightful tete-a-tete with the CEO & co-founder of FREECULTR, Mr Sandeep Singh. After making its mark in the Indian retail sector with the Store concept of the Year Award FREECULTR makes way for another novel idea through its FREECULTR express. Launched in March 2015, FREECULTRs vision to democratize fashion commerce, was given ___ of reality, with the simplified crowd-sourced design platform that allows anyone to create and sell t-shirts through their very own personalized tee-store featuring original and authentic digital content.
How do you maintain the quality of the product?
We ensure quality across the product. It is not a marketplace where anybody can come and start selling their product. We control the kind of product and all they control is the design as they want it to be. So the design changes across the product but the product quality is standardized. The base material, the base t-shirt is also standardized. To sum it up, design is something the user contributes but in the backend we manage the production, the logistics; the entire product from the time the order is placed to the time order is delivered.
What are you doing to protect your ideas from getting replicated in the future? Any IPR strategy?
Since it is a community driven thing, there is a ‘report abuse’ button across each product. People tell them if it is infringing anybody’s copyright. We also have a team, which regularly looks at each design and does a preliminary check on the existence of a similar design on the internet. This preliminary check is done several image search technology. Also, the designs, which are out there blatantly, are definitely disapproved.
At the next level, the community keeps telling them. Thereafter, we do a reverse image search then we disapprove it. It has to be an original art using vectors, illustrations or photographs.
What are your future plans? Any future synergies or alliances?
Since FREECULTR express is such a collaborative platform, we are always on a look out for allainces. We are already looking at several alliances, which are on the way. We already have Beer café store live on the FREECULTR express platform. We have also done a campaign with Smirnoff.
We have a lot of interested NGOs like Naaz Foundation. Lot of people have already used the platform to create their merchandise and build a range, which is not their regular business. For example beer café having a merchandize range in not their regular business. It is a great brand and people love the brand. They would like to take their brand to the next level; they would like to reach out to people through merchandising. Since the entire platform is collaborative, there are going to be collaborations on the way alliances work and also in getting people on board, who want to do interesting contents.
There are some interesting ones, which are coming shortly. But, there are NGOs like BG foundation who have created t-shirts which are exclusively for their cause and the people who believe in those cause buy the t-shirts. And since the model is such that one gets a certain part of the earnings from the t-shirts they sell, it also becomes a way to raise funds.