SpringLeap, submit your t-shirt designs and you may win


I’m not sure about you, but to be honest I really like a cool designed t-shirt. Though I like how Versace or Armani build clothes believe me that when I see one with a simple but damn funny print I’m buying even if it’s a no name. I do it for fun and there are lots of you that like printed t-shirts. They are also a great resource for a birthday when you can make fun of someone.
But getting back to the South African community, the reason I started this article talking about t-shirts is because I’ve just found out about SpringLeap. What about them? They allow you to submit (for free) a t-shirt design or probably more and the members vote on who’s the best. Each month a winner is announced and 19 runners up that will get their t-shirts printed. But wait that’s not all, because the winner is getting R2 royalty for every printed t-shirt while runners-up get R1 royalty.
SpringLeap, t-shirt design contest
The project was started by Eric Edelstein and Eran Eyal, co-owners of eSquared Fashion and try to take on ThreadLess.

“Having your art showcased in a public domain and getting paid for it to boot, is what is so exciting about this venture.“, Eric said.

The t-shirts are going to cost R160 and that doesn’t include VAT or shipping fees.
I am not sure if they will be able to beat ThreadLess but at least they have the goals set. I wish them all the best. Will you submit a design to SpringLeap?

  1. R160 (ex VAT & Shipping) for a Tee… Heck no… Why not rather the top quality designs on Threadless for half the price!?

  2. Tx for the mention Charl
    Adii – Manufacturing in SA is a lot more expensive BUT we want springleap to be proudly SA
    at a later stage, once the volume increases (and thus costs decrease), we’re going to do everything we can to manufacture in South Africa, and if we can bring down the price, we will.
    but take a visit to YDE or the South African designers at Woolworths and look at the price tags

  3. Absolutely thanks for that guys – both to Charl for the mention and Adii for raising interesting issues.
    It’s a really interesting conundrum that has been raised here.
    Let me shed some light on this topic.
    Have you ordered from Threadless lately?
    Oh boy. I have. Don’t get me wrong – the prints are staggeringly good. They rock. BUT –
    The quality of the garments S-U-C-K. You get what you pay for. Threadless procure STOCK tshirts from 1 of 3 apparel manufacturers. The stuff is very cheap Chinese imported fabrics. They don’t even picking the labels out – I ordered about 100 shirts recently (for real) and they arrived thrown in a brown box with no packaging per shirt. The labels had been half cut out I had to spend HOURS picking out the remnants of the labels. Not only that – some of the cuts differed from the others since they came from different manufacturers.
    Threadless don’t really guarantee anything – least of all that the garment will get to you. Check to see on forums how many people simply just don’t get their garments.
    But having said that – Threadless really have paved the way in creating a model that helps artists in a big way.
    Springleap is the next leap in this mentality’s evolution.
    Our garments are made of SA cotton and printed here is SA. Proudly. Totally. No imports from the ground up. That makes the garment considerably more expensive.
    Our garments are slim cut patterns that were developed SPECIFICALLY to our request made of 165g combed cotton, with reinforced seams – a quality vastly superior to our competitors.
    We give the artists HUGE exposure as we incur a further cost of a placement print on the back of each shirt with the artist’s name and the name of his/her creation – this is a massive added cost per garment – but this endeavour is not about popularising springleap – it’s about springleaping the artists.
    Our packaging ROCKS – I’m not letting on what’s going down on this front – but just wait and see – we are going to knock your socks off.
    As Eric well points out – as springleap grows, the costs of the garments will be driven down due to larger volumes produced and traded – but the quality will always be AMAZING. Not only that – the prizes we will offer will grow as well.
    We are creating an export quality garment that is proudly and totally South African that will change the way the world thinks about garments from SA and SA design, while empowering everyone from the manufacturer to the artist to the retailer.
    To followup on YDE and such – proudly SA? hmmm… where did that garment get made and where is the material from. Oh, good lord! is that the price!
    Go into a Levi or Guess or similar store – the shirts are over R200 – but they are hugely mass produced the whole world around, and the artists are never mentioned. Only the brand. Springleap’s brand is the Artist.
    Stick with us SA – we are going to stick with you.

  4. Don’t want to be a smart ass guys … but I am Alex Ion and it’s me that wrote the article.
    I’m glad that you liked it and it got some buzz. Keep on commenting 🙂

  5. My dad has been in clothing his whole life so in a way, I was raised with the industry. It is true that manufacturing in SA is more expensive than importing from China but I’m all for supporting SA manufacturers in all industries.
    You can get shirts that have been made up already with good quality fabrics and lots of different / modern colour ways. Then you just take that shirt and get it printed on. I’m sure if you do it this way, you will reduce cost. Just shop around

  6. I don’t think that R200 for a designer t-shirt is that bad. I’ve come to expect that these days. Quicksilver, Billabong, Levi’s, Nike, Adidas etc are around the same price, even more. Ok, granted the quality of these shirts are really good.
    So, all I can say that, I’ll have to give one of your shirts a test run for sure to judge for myself.
    And in today’s world, this is all that people are doing – improving on where other companies fail. There is not much real innovation going on anymore, so good luck on picking up on Threadless’s weaknesses and creating a business out of it. 😉 SA based or not!

  7. Guys
    Thanks for all the fantastic comments and insightful input.
    Unfortunately we cannot buy premade shirts of SA cotton of the quality we are after or in the colour ways that have give people on the tshirt templates.
    An interesting note here is that we really don’t get involved in the creative process IN ANY WAY – this means that if the artist chose “I’m on fire red” or “heaven blue” then we cannot change this backing in any way – after all the design won as a complete package – background image included. We do not want to get in the way or shape the artist’s vision – merely be the media that facilitates it.
    So to make sure we have sufficient stock every month of the clours we need and to make sure that they arrive instore on schedule (ie be available from the first of every new month) we are buying the stock cotton UP FRONT and having the shirts made and ready for printing.
    This way we can also avoid nasty hiccups such as a lack of a certain colour of fabric.
    All I can promise at this stage is that quality control is going to be TIGHT – the garment will be a delight from the moment you open the packaging to years later when you pull it out of your cupboard and muse at the positivity of statement inside the collar.
    Once again – thanks for all the invaluable input – please keep it coming no matter if it’s compliment or criticism. We can only improve from both.

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  12. What a fantastic idea to provide designers a showcase to reveal their talent.
    And then to win a prize and also get a R2 ‘royalty’ on each sale is brilliant. Way to go!
    T-shirts off to Eric & Eran at E-squared for this.
    Be well

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  15. Better you then me to take on threadless. I wish you all the luck in the world. My only question is how you guys handle IP. Does the designer lose his Intellectual Property once he posts or does he retain it. How does the TOS work?
    Sorry I’m lazy and don’t feel like digging for it.

  16. Wow – it’s been a WHILE since this post!
    It was started back when we launched Springleap http://www.springleap.com , and we have really come far since then.
    Our garments are now produced ABOVE Woolworths certification and quality standards – 145g biowashed, preshrunk combed cotton goodness and the sizing is just right (took us 6 generations of cuts and material to get here).
    We also have 2 competitions a month now. One is themed (eg : Music, Halloween, Spring, Aviation etc) and one is open – that means you can submit what you like.
    The prize : R4000 (US$500) cash, royalties on reprints and massive exposure – not to mention the kudos and being able to make connections with amazing like-minded designers throughout the world.
    We also just announce our media partnership with One Small Seed and 10and5. AWESOME.
    On the partnership side we are announcing another partnership with PSDtuts group to give our designers premium content and advice.
    BEST OF ALL : 2 weeks ago we relaunched the site with a new look and feel! Slicker, cleaner, more mature and with new areas to really help expose the design community’s talents.
    Other greats are our great Social media elements :
    1. new facebook fan page : http://www.facebook.com/springleap
    2. Twitter updates page : http://www.twitter.com/springleap
    and best of all :
    3. DAILY specials at noon : http://www.twitter.com/springleaping – a new special every day!
    Currently we have a great special on the go : THE TRIPLE TEE SPECIAL : http://www.springleap.com/posts/view/triple-tee-special buy 3 tees and get a thrifty 30%off your purchase.
    So give us a try and best of all – tell us what you think!
    PS : Stay tuned – in the next 2 weeks or so we relaunch AGAIN with no flash header bar – a new style with a DESIGN twist and more functionality again! Plus the site will be iPhone and iPad friendly.
    Oh yeah.

  17. @Shawn Kent – on the issue of the ownership of design
    We have changed the T&C’s of the site considerably since we launched.
    1. We only have one winner per competition.
    2. We only own the winning design’s rights and the winner gets all the prizes for that competition (Cash, royalties etc) – unless we run a special competition where we have a runner up, but we compensate the runners up well in cash.
    3. We sometimes allow designers to sell the original one off drawing/painting which may have become the t-shirt design – but never reprints.
    4. You can submit designs on Springleap that are NOT submitted on any other competition or that have been submitted but did not win. Until that fortnightly competition closes, the designer cannot use the design for anything other than advertising and marketing their submission to attract more exposure and voters or to showcase their design at places like Emptees.
    5. After the competition closes, anyone who is not the winner or runnerup we have done a deal with is free to use their design anywhere and in any manner that they wish.

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