Meet Threadheads, the graphic T-shirt brand with a cheeky sense of humour


Threadheads aims to open an on-demand printing facility in the US in Q3 of this year to facilitate faster delivery of its graphic T-shirts featuring original artwork, retro references and pop culture memes in that market.

The move is expected to help boost its revenue from $13 million in FY22 to between $25-30 million in FY23. 

“Forty per cent of our business is in the UK and Europe now, and we’ve achieved that in under 12 months,” Ace Reunis, one of the co-founders and co-CEOs of Threadheads, told Inside Retail

“We see America as the next frontier for us as a business, particularly given it’s the home of graphic tees.”

The brand has already hired an American illustrator and is exploring other ways to localise its offering. Because while certain T-shirt designs have universal appeal, some don’t translate. 

Threadheads’ other co-founder and co-CEO Marcus Siegel pointed to two of the brand’s best-selling designs in Australia, which are rooted in local politics.

“Something like ‘Get on the beers’, or the Scomo tackle T-shirt, you’re not going to sell in America,” Siegel told Inside Retail

“A lot of our designs that are Aussie-centric do well in the UK, but there’s no doubt that as we expand further into Europe and America, we’re going to be tailoring designs to those markets.”  

Rise of meme culture

In the past four years, Threadheads has created more than 30 original designs that have generated in excess of $50,000 in sales, and some have generated over $100,000. One thing they all have in common is that they make a statement.

“We can’t necessarily talk about a lot of the T-shirts that we’ve designed that have been really popular because they’re a little bit risque, or they focus on humour that may be considered crass or cheeky. It’s a point of difference for us,” Siegel said. 

Specifically, some of the brand’s top-selling designs feature swear words and jokes about male genitalia. For Siegel, that’s all part of the charm of a great graphic T-shirt.

“If you wear a band T-shirt, you’re showing support for a particular band, you’re proud to be a fan of that sort of music,” he said. 

“When you wear a T-shirt that has a slogan on it, that slogan resonates with you, and it’s something that you want to share with people – maybe to get a laugh, or get a message across.”

The rise of meme culture has created new opportunities for graphic T-shirt brands like Threadheads to tap into passionate fan bases, with the average internet user spending well over two hours on social media per day.

“When we talk about meme culture, it’s making fun of things that are current, whether it’s in the media or popular culture,” Reunis said. “Ultimately, the underlying thing is that people want to express themselves, and that’s what we do particularly well.” 

One big difference is the speed of change. It’s critical for brands to get products to market quickly in order to capitalise on fleeting trends, which is where Threadheads’ on-demand printing capabilities come in.

“In the case of the Scott Morrison tackle incident, we had that design to market in 24 hours. You’ve got to be fast moving because you only get a limited run with it,” Siegel said.

“The old school bricks-and-mortar model pretty much has no chance, but given that we have an in-house illustration studio, we can get onto things like memes and make a great T-shirt that people seem to really enjoy.”  

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