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As the web industry continues to gain momentum in Indonesia, there are hundreds of newly established IT startups that are leveraging the web to deliver their products and services. Some have been very successful and have become highly profitable, and GantiBaju.com is a prominent example. Using crowdsourcing, GantiBaju.com is one of the most exciting startups in Indonesia.
“Ganti baju” means “changing shirt”. Simply said, GantiBaju.com is the Indonesian version of Threadless.com, a community-based website that prints t-shirt designs, which are created and chosen by the platform’s users. Established in 2010, GantiBaju.com currently boasts more than $22,000 in monthly revenues and 18,000 designers. Each month about 1,000 designs are submitted, and 10 - 20 winners are chosen and are rewarded with $175 cash and 10% of royalties for each t-shirt that is purchased.
In its first year, GantiBaju.com has won several awards such as: Asia’s Top 10 Best Web Apps by Singtel Accelerate in Singapore, Best User Generated Content and Best Rising Star on SparxUp Award 2010, a competition for digital startups in Indonesia, and the winner in the business category for SWA Startup 2011, another competition held by a prominent Indonesian business magazine, SWA Magazine.
Crowdsourcing is a new practice for most people in Indonesia - so why did the GantiBaju.com team choose this as their business model? How did crowdsourcing - a brand-new industry - lead to GantiBaju.com’s success?
Aria Rajasa, CEO of GantiBaju.com, was a web interface designer who started this business with no background in the fashion and garment industries. However, he and his associates had a shared vision. They were driven by love of their country and the goal to provide an outlet for other young Indonesians to be proud of their country through design.
The idea was to use t-shirts as a showcase for Indonesian cultures. The t-shirt concept was chosen since it was cheap, easy to produce, and accepted by people of all ages. They also found that there were Indonesians who often submitted designs to Threadless.com and won! So, they decided to launch their own website and start a community building process by sharing their vision as the key message. This vision is clearly stated on GantiBaju.com’s tagline: Proudly Presents Indonesia.
Proven Business Model
Not every IT startup can be profitable within a short period of time and a good business model is needed in order to survive. GantiBaju.com has a simple but proven model: selling t-shirts! In addition to their online retail presence, they have an offline store in Jakarta, yet were in need of a unique competitive advantage: the key was in the design.
Since the founders did not have enough experience designing this type of merchandise, they decided to crowdsource it! Design competition was already popular at that time, so the rules of the game were simple to present and easily understood by both designers and users.
Since the winning designs are chosen by thousands of people, the designer submissions to GantiBaju.com must be really cool and unique. For this reason and using this strategy, GantiBaju.com has won over the traditional t-shirt manufacturers.
Strong Community Engagement
GantiBaju.com is not the only crowdsourcing website for t-shirt design. In fact, there are other startups from Indonesia that are utilizing the same basic concept: other platforms include Fraiday.com and Kaosku.com. However, GantiBaju.com is still leading the way because it of its strong engagement with the community.
Anang Pradipta, CMO of GantiBaju.com, is a community person. He sent messages to almost 2,000 people in several design communities to build GantiBaju.com’s own community. The GantiBaju.com team aimed for personal interaction with as many users and designers as possible in order to build and engage with the community they were building. It was an exhaustive process, but they loved doing it. The focus on the community is evident: they have an online forum to promote collaboration between designers and users to collaborate in addition to using their own products and direct interaction with the community, both online and offline. They are also involved in charitable events like “Pray for Indonesia” to help disaster victims in Indonesia. Recently, they developed a badge system and live ranking feature to improve community engagement within their website.
Although GantiBaju.com will continue to refine its model, they already have a solid foundation as a business that has successfully implemented Crowdsourcing.
By Julian Sukmana Putra, Crowdsourcing.org's correspondent in Indonesia.
Julian is a consultant for a multi-national IT company in Indonesia. He works primarily in helping companies to implement an ERP system. He likes to read and write about IT and business related stuffs. During his free time, he enjoys travelling, updating his blog, and do social works. He is also an active supporter for open education movement.