|The Cool Company Awards 08
And the winner is...
In the three-year history of the Cool Company Awards, RedBubble is the first company to win two separate categories - Online and X-Factor - and it came within a whisker of snatching overall honours.
It's an impressive achievement for such a young company, but RedBubble is nothing if not impressive.
The concept was originally conceived by Martin Hosking (LookSmart co-founder), Peter Styles and Paul Vanzella as a way of bringing print-on-demand technology to Australia. But the idea rapidly evolved into a social networking site for people interested in artistic expression and creativity (an antidote to the vicarious poking and prodding that is the order of the day on existing mainstream social networking sites).
Now in the top three most popular art websites globally, RedBubble has rapidly become the model for how a vibrant, creative community and a successful e-marketplace can co-exist in complete harmony. RedBubble is atypical of social media sites in that it shuns potentially lucrative adverting revenues in favour of promoting the sale of art created by members. The result? Company and member community are all in the same boat.
According to RedBubble, "The net impact is that artists are encouraged to explore their creativity and reach new audiences. Because we only make money when the artists make money (and they set their own margins), our incentives and those of the artists are 100 percent aligned."
When Cool Company applications closed, RedBubble had over 70,000 members who, on average, visited the site four times a week and viewed 20 pages each time. This places it among the most addictive websites in the world (ahead of, for example, Facebook on a per user basis). Sales in its first year topped $1.2m, with over 100,000 products shipped to 71 countries (over two-thirds of sales and traffic comes from overseas). The company has only 12 full time staff, but is managing to evolve at the pace of a company many times its size thanks to its passionate and hyper-active "Bubbler" community, who serve as de facto volunteers.
RedBubble, we think you're top-shelf cool. And so did our judges. And for that, you now have two surfboard trophies to feather that suave nest you've built.
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