Interview: JackThreads Founder Jason Ross Talks About His Booming Site And Inspiration

by Chelsea Burcz · October 24, 2011

JackThreads, the flash sale site that caters to hip young men in a format similar to "Gilt Groupe," is led by founder Jason Ross, a young entrepreneur from Ohio. The site teamed up with Thrillist last year, and has been making a name for itself in the fashion business. Below, Ross gives us some insight to his booming company.

How did JackThreads begin? Growing up, I had always been into clothing and having cool things -- during my college years especially, but, I realized that there was this huge hole in the market for guys like myself looking to buy the kinds of brands that I loved at affordable prices. Post-graduation, I saw that the private shopping club model was taking off in Europe and so I set out to bring it to the U.S. to address the lack of online retail options for guys. After about two years of development, we launched JackThreads on July 31, 2008, with our headquarters being the master bedroom of my house in Columbus, Ohio. Within that first year alone, we went from zero to 35,000 members.

How do you think your site is aiding (or hurting) the economy? I think JackThreads is absolutely helping the economy. For the brands, we provide an outlet to sell their close-out goods that didn't previously exist. For the customers, they're getting the best deal possible on some really awesome gear. It's a win-win on both sides, and a thriving business is always a positive thing in our economy.

Do you think it encourages people to spend more? Our members are buying items they normally wouldn't have purchased at full price, so in a way, they are buying more but spending less. The flash-sale aspect of the site also encourages people to buy while they have the chance, because the sale will be over very soon and so it adds a sense of immediacy.

How do you curate who sells on JackThreads? Our merchandising team is always watching the market to see what's selling and researching the up and coming brands that match those trends. Since we are our target demographic, we choose brands that we think are cool and merchandise that we'd want to buy ourselves.

Have you always had a passion for fashion? I have always been passionate about having cool things. When it comes to fashion, cool things typically come from the better streetwear and contemporary fashion genre. I love clothing that's different and hard to find. I also always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, so of course, it made sense for me to create a business that was in line with my passions.

Who do you look to for inspiration regarding your business and in life? I’m a big fan of Richard Branson and his book “Losing My Virginity.” He has an incredible ability to read people and situations and to use that intuition to make great decisions very quickly. He also has a proven track record of taking established industries head on with a disruptive business model. Not many people have done this on the scale that he has.

Who are your favorite brands/designers? I’m a big fan of most of our brands, but some of our most popular brands are Supra, Members Only, Hurley, Nudie, WeSc, and Kid Robot. Right now we have a really cool sale running inspired by HBO’s “How to Make it in America” curated by three amazing streetwear brands Mishka NYC, GoodWood and Dr. Romanelli. Each brand created original, HTMIIA-inspired designs exclusive to our site.

Check out JackThreads HERE.

[Photos via, via GQ]