July 22, 2010, 5:25 PM

Blank Label builds custom-shirts web site from the ground up

The startup e-retailer expects to do $1 million in first-year sales.

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Operating in the ASP.net technology environment, custom-shirts e-retailer Blank Label launched last October and expects to do $1 million in its first year, says Danny Wong, co-founder and lead evangelist.

Blank Label, which operates with no outside financial backing, has developed its web site with an in-house staff of two software programmers and freelancers from abroad found through oDesk Corp.’s oDesk.com I.T. jobs marketplace, Wong says.

Blank-Label.com’s main feature is a custom shirt configurator that lets shoppers choose among several fabrics and colors, plus different treatments for collars, cuffs and pockets. Shoppers also enter information on their body type and dimensions.

Each custom order is sent to Blank Label’s dedicated factory in Shanghai, China, where the shirts, each priced at $45, are hand-stitched and shipped to a customer within three or four weeks, Wong says. Express orders can be received within two weeks.

Blank Label also deployed a white label version of TimZon LLC’s SnapABug live chat application to gather customer feedback. One crucial piece of information it has learned, Wong says, is that customers wanted larger images of their custom shirt designs before placing an order.

The retailer’s I.T. team altered the standard image size to 600 x 480 from 300 x 240 pixels, while keeping the download time of images to within two seconds, Wong says.

Wong, who is a business student at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, co-founded Blank Label with CEO Fan Bi, chief technology officer Zeeshan Muhammad and lead artist and graphic designer Alex Harrison.

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