Design-Your-Own Shirt Site Turns Consumers Into Designers

Customers can be picky — who wants to buy something that you only kinda sorta like — so it only seems logical that companies are coming up with ways to let the consumer custom-order things like men’s dress shirts, all with a few clicks of the mouse. Enter Blank Label, a site that lets you co-create a dress shirt down to every last epaulet and cuff detail.

The New York Times profiles the new online venture, helmed by 22-year-old Fan Bi. The idea is simple: If you want a button-down with fabric and style chosen by fashion industry insiders, go to the department store. If you want a shirt that you have, in essence, designed yourself, down to contrasting plackets, double pockets in lavender and snaps in white, go to www.blank-label.com.

And if you have trouble once there, Bi says he often will pick up the other end of the line if customers call the number listed at the top of the page. Or, if you’re idle for around 90 seconds, as I just was while checking out the site and writing this, an instant message window will pop up offering to help. Mine came from “Alec [Lead Artist]” who said, “Believe it or not, I’m here to help.”

Shirts start at $45 for a basic button-down and with all the extras like a contrasting inner collar or the aforementioned snaps, can go up to about $72 and arrive in around four weeks. Consumers become the designers — power to the people, as it were. And it’s fun.

Putting Customers in Charge of Design [The New York Times]