tl;dr The minimum payment for all currently existing products over $10 sold on Threadless.com* has increased from $0.25 up to $1.00!
Over the last 15 years, our artist payment structure has changed many times. Starting out, artists were awarded a couple of free t-shirts as payment. Shortly after, a $50 prize was awarded. As we grew, the prize was increased to $100, then $250, then $500. Eventually, the prize grew to $2,000 with an additional $500 for each reprint.
Most recently, we changed the structure entirely from a prize model to an algorithm of earnings based on actual sales. Artists earn 20% of net profits with a $0.25 minimum payment for items sold on Threadless.com. Given that some designs sell dozens of units and some sell tens of thousands, we believe it is fairer for the creators of those designs to be paid based on how well they sell.
This last year being a year of transition into this new payment structure, we’ve learned a lot from community feedback (thank you!) and we’ve made many changes to our pricing, discounting, and promotions strategy. We’ve slowly and deliberately worked ourselves away from the deeply discounted $10 t-shirt price point to a price that can create real value for artists. To demonstrate this, the average sale price for a tee in 2009 was $11.63. In 2014 the average price was $15.55.
Similarly to how we’ve raised our prizing amount in the past, we are working to create more value in each sale that can be translated into more value for our artist community. To start, effective Wednesday, January 28th, we have increased the minimum payment for a unit sold by 4x from $0.25 to $1.00.**
Thanks for the ongoing feedback everyone. We value and take all your opinions to heart. This past year has been a big transition for many of us, and we are always seeking more ways to create the best artist experience possible. This update to the minimum payment is just the start. We have some other exciting changes in store to improve the maximum amount that can be earned as well. Stay tuned!
*Important note: this post reflects pricing on Threadless.com only – not Artist Shops!
**Artist Earnings Update UPDATE: This reflects non-sale pricing only! During sales promotions, if an item is sold for $10 or less, the artist(s) receives a $0.50 minimum. If the item sale price is $5 or less, the artist(s) will receive a $0.25 minimum. For all other items, (ie. sold for greater than $10), the artist(s) will receive a $1 minimum per item.