Springleap is sprung …

Eric Edelstein asked me to take a look at an exciting new project he is involved in called springleap. I’m a little new to springleap so I got in touch with Eric and his partner, Eran Eyal, to chat about springleap on Skype. Here is the transcript of our chat:

springleap

And now for the interview. You will note that it has been edited down a little but just to remove some fluff (largely my own). The interview is pretty long so I have shifted some of the conversation to an extended section (apologies).

2008-03-13

Paul Jacobson:

17:05:41

Ok, baby with mom, let’s chat about Springleap

Eran Eyal:

17:05:53

fantastic

Eran Eyal:

17:06:01

what would you like to know Paul?

Paul Jacobson:

17:06:35

Everything

Paul Jacobson:

17:06:44

what is Springleap, where did the idea come from?

Eran Eyal:

17:07:22

Well – Springleap is an empowerment initiative for South Africa

Paul Jacobson:

17:07:57

ok, sounds broad …

Eran Eyal:

17:08:26

ranging from the cotton manufacturing trade, through the garment manufacturing industry to the retailers and all the amazing talented artists who deserve a platform for exposure

Paul Jacobson:

17:09:08

so basically bringing clothing and local artists together?

Eran Eyal:

17:09:31

Eric and I opened the doors to eSquared Fashion 2 years ago and our business model was to scour the world for amazing artists producing original desings on 100% cotton

Eran Eyal:

17:09:41

specifically with an emphasis on Asia.

Paul Jacobson:

17:10:09

Yeah, Eric mentioned it to me when I met him last year

Eran Eyal:

17:10:19

TO answer your question Paul – yes : in a way that has never been done before.

Eran Eyal:

17:10:26

Basically..


… the rest of the conversation …

Paul Jacobson:

17:11:12

is this the good stuff?

Eran Eyal:

17:11:16

we believe that all the talent we need and ability to produce product was right here in SA

Paul Jacobson:

17:11:35

Nic Haralambous will love this …

Eran Eyal:

17:11:40

What do you mean “the good stuff?”

Eran Eyal:

17:11:56

ah yeah – his blog rocks

Eran Eyal:

17:12:02

I am a very proudly SA guy

Paul Jacobson:

17:12:14

well, the innovative model that creates positive opportunities for SA …

Paul Jacobson:

17:12:21

… the good stuff

Eran Eyal:

17:12:34

I have loads of friends in the industry who we would love to see EXPLODE onto the scene

Eran Eyal:

17:12:46

ah yeah 🙂 that’swhat I thought

Eran Eyal:

17:13:00

The thing is Paul : there is SO MUCH talent here in SA

Paul Jacobson:

17:13:09

Well, let’s talk specifics …

Paul Jacobson:

17:13:19

how does the process work from the perspective of an artist?

Eran Eyal:

17:13:19

and it is just waiting and yearning for a medium.

Eran Eyal:

17:15:05

very simple : The Artist joins springleap (no costs and very quick) and downloads a t-shirt template pack (only about 1.4MB) which has a tshirt in 12 colours for them to choose from available in Photoshop, Illustrater, Flash and Freehand

Eran Eyal:

17:15:52

They then decorate the shirt with their design and re-upload it to springleap where the community votes on them

Eran Eyal:

17:16:28

they will also soon have the ability to create an entire profile about themselves and can already blog.

Paul Jacobson:

17:16:44

ok

Eran Eyal:

17:16:46

Users can critique the work as well as vote

Paul Jacobson:

17:16:57

ok, very nice

Eran Eyal:

17:17:26

That way the artist can get a very real impression from the mass public regarding his or her work

Paul Jacobson:

17:17:26

Would the choice of software package to support limit artist involvement?  Is the software readily available?

Eran Eyal:

17:18:32

We chose industry-standard software which allows the artist to design in either vector-based or rasterised graphics. This way everything also runs really smoothly when it’s time to go to print.

Paul Jacobson:

17:19:18

One question which comes to mind is how a struggling artist can participate if the artist doesn’t own a PC with the required software?

Paul Jacobson:

17:19:45

I imagine there may be an opportunity for some sort of studio where artists can bring their work and have it translated into the right format for upload?

Eran Eyal:

17:20:03

Very good question, and one that plagued me for a while

Eran Eyal:

17:21:28

An interesting initiative I am working on as a test model is with African Art Centre in Durban. They deal with loads of amazingly talented African artists who don’t necessarily have computers, and we are trying to find a solution to empower these artists together.

Paul Jacobson:

17:21:49

That seems like a great model to really empower those artists

Eran Eyal:

17:22:28

Regarding other users, at this stage we are focusing on people with computers and in the future I have some ideas that I would like to thrash out such as hiring a lan for a day to do this sort of cool thing for those that don’t have computers readily at their disposal.

Paul Jacobson:

17:22:40

almost like a lab?

Eran Eyal:

17:23:02

yeah – not a constant one, but once in a while

Eran Eyal:

17:23:53

Our main focus for now is to make sure that all the systems are great, quality control is perfect and that we are able to build of strong foundations.’

Eran Eyal:

17:24:05

so that is very much the future for the moment.

Paul Jacobson:

17:24:20

What about ownership of the designs and the use of the designs on the shirts?

Eran Eyal:

17:25:05

One must consider that from very early grades now, children are introduced to design on PC – so there is an enourmous talent pool out there from really young ages ranging through to the proffessional level.

Eran Eyal:

17:26:07

All art must be totally original when submitted to us – we are really hardline on this issue. We are interested in creativity – not reguritation or theft of design.

Eran Eyal:

17:27:34

our team loves to scour the net regularly looking at design, so it’s going to be hard to pull one over our eyes. We cover this issue quite well in our terms and conditions which must be accepted before an artist submits their design.

Paul Jacobson:

17:28:25

What I was getting at was whether the artists retain the rights to their work or whether there is a transfer or license of some kind?

Eran Eyal:

17:31:06

If the designer is one of the 20 winners of the month, we retain the copyright and they retain the credit. In return they receive MASSIVE exposure, cash and recurring revenue – all of which will grow as the springleap grows. In a year from now we want to be giving the guys MASSIVE prizes every month and increased production numbers will equate into increased revenue and exposure for that artist.

Eran Eyal:

17:32:06

If the design is not one of the 20 winners, the copyright reverts back to the designer

Eran Eyal:

17:32:16

within 90 days

Eran Eyal:

17:32:27

sorry – after 90 days

Paul Jacobson:

17:33:00

What about licensing the work from the artist under something like a Creative Commons license?

Eran Eyal:

17:35:17

sorry Paul – isn’t that like an “open source” model for the design – (might be off the ball here). Ultimately we are also building a business here that requires us to have the exclusive rights to that design. Without it the business model will fail and the so will the artists chances for real exposure.

Eran Eyal:

17:35:40

the model we selected is good for longevity of both.

Paul Jacobson:

17:36:23

well, there are 6 CC licenses that permit a range of uses of the content

Eran Eyal:

17:36:49

btw – we are also intending for the creation of other products from that design as well such as limited edition posters which the artist gets recurring revenue as well

Eran Eyal:

17:37:05

please tell me more.

Paul Jacobson:

17:37:56

My 10c is that it can be more empowering to let artists retain copyright, license designs under an appropriate CC license that permits you to do what you do

Paul Jacobson:

17:40:33

but more about your product

Eran Eyal:

17:40:57

It’s a very good point Paul – but it is important to also note that for us to run this model, we need exclusive rights to that copyright. Sould that artist change their mind in the future or should something happen to them, we will have invested cosiderably in that design and artist to be placed at risk.

Paul Jacobson:

17:41:10

how does the process work for someone who wants to get one of these awesome shirts?

Eran Eyal:

17:41:55

This is where the business model becomes quite elegant

Paul Jacobson:

17:42:01

tell me!

Paul Jacobson:

17:42:36

(I need a wardrobe refresh)

Eran Eyal:

17:43:06

When voiting for tshirts, one can be informed if and when that design becomes available. It will be available in eSquared stores, Big Blue and off the springleap website for the first 30 days

Eran Eyal:

17:43:56

thereafter the remaining stock is pulled from the shelves and goes into a vendor backend. THis backend also reflects voting on that shirt and other stats.

Paul Jacobson:

17:44:54

are shirts available from the vendor backend?

Paul Jacobson:

17:45:27

where can people find eSquared stores?

Eran Eyal:

17:45:32

Anyone buying a minimum of 24 tshirts at a time can apply to become a springleap vendor and enjoy having amazing 100% SA garments on their shelves that they know are going to sell as well as enjoy the benefits of massive marketing engine

Eran Eyal:

17:45:47

something that no one else has ever offered shops in SA

Paul Jacobson:

17:46:36

is there a revenue share or out and out sales to vendors?

Eran Eyal:

17:46:58

We will be selling in 3 Big Blue stores as our major partner from day 1 : Kalk Bay, Irene and Rosebank – and soon thereafter in all their 18 stores

Eran Eyal:

17:47:36

You can find an eSquared in Cape Town, 11 Regnet Rd, Seapoint as well as in Durban, 161 Gordon Rd, Morningside.

Eran Eyal:

17:47:58

out and out sales to vendors.

Eran Eyal:

17:48:23

SO basically we sell the shirt to the vendor and the artist get’s their commission.

Paul Jacobson:

17:48:26

ok, so Joburgers go to Big Blue?

Eran Eyal:

17:48:53

That’s correct, or buy live from the website.

Paul Jacobson:

17:49:27

groovy

Eran Eyal:

17:49:31

As we get more vendors online the will be displayed boldly on our homepage and within the website.

Paul Jacobson:

17:49:49

online sales options?

Eran Eyal:

17:50:01

It’s really a VERY difficult maket for vendors out there Paul, and this is going to help them a lot.

Eran Eyal:

17:50:46

We accept primarily Credit Card, but are considering ET – we just don’t want to make our affiliates unhappy.

Eran Eyal:

17:51:12

oops

Paul Jacobson:

17:51:17

ok, so what are the big benefits for vendors?

Eran Eyal:

17:51:25

that’s EFT – but we accept ET as well – good movie

Paul Jacobson:

17:51:47

very good movie 😛

Eran Eyal:

17:52:23

Speaking from experience with eSquared, it is very difficult to procure good stock that is regular in SA

Eran Eyal:

17:52:56

The local fashion designers aren’t exactly swimming in cash and that makes supply enormously erratic.

Eran Eyal:

17:53:26

The other side of this is that they do not provide any real marketing or exposure.

Eran Eyal:

17:53:47

We provide both in a huge way and link to their website (should they hve one).

Eran Eyal:

17:54:29

We also provide a price point for vendors that is lower than they can buy from most of the local guys, very often by a very large margin.

Paul Jacobson:

17:54:38

or do you make money from sales, period?

Paul Jacobson:

17:54:54

I was getting to price point …

Eran Eyal:

17:55:05

AND of course the voting system gives them a good idea of the pulic’s desire to procure that item

Paul Jacobson:

17:56:05

so what will these shirts cost your customers?

Eran Eyal:

17:56:20

not to mention the awesome quality, production and presentation – and totally SA. Top to bottom.

Eran Eyal:

17:57:07

The tshirts are R183.00

Paul Jacobson:

17:57:28

what is your revenue model?  where do you make your money?

Eran Eyal:

17:57:34

Oh yea – we are also VAT registered  –  a very cool bonus.

Eran Eyal:

17:58:06

In the long run, Paul.

Paul Jacobson:

17:58:43

Are you guys bootstrapping or do you have some form of VC funding?

Eran Eyal:

17:59:17

it’s a hugely expensive endevour but we believe in the industry and SA.

Eran Eyal:

18:00:30

Eric has found the backers but we built this off our investments with 2 long hard years of work with eSquared Fashion. All our cash went into this

Paul Jacobson:

18:00:55

I see there are “blogger warz” going on, what is that about?  Looks like fun …

Eran Eyal:

18:03:12

The blogger warz : we pit 2 bloggers every month against each other. They work with a designer to come up with their own original designs. The blogger with the best voted design wins R2000 which is donated to a charity of their choice.

Eran Eyal:

18:03:28

watch out for celeb waz and designer warz soon.

Paul Jacobson:

18:03:33

brilliant

Eran Eyal:

18:04:13

This month’s winner goes up against Rafiq next month who was featured on Carte Blanche

Eran Eyal:

18:17:01

one thing I forgot to metion is that the name of the artist as well as the name of the artwork is proubly emblazed on the back of their winning design tshirt

Paul Jacobson:

18:17:02

have an idea how to come with a designer

Eran Eyal:

18:17:31

awesome! – I love to see what individuals come up with

Eran Eyal:

18:18:03

everyone has such a specific flavour to thier thinking and it’s incredible to be witness to this process

Eran Eyal:

18:19:16

we’re launching the springleap SEO comp – on the 1st April at 12am (noon) SA time, judges will take a screenshot on google.com with the search “springleap”. 3 points for top, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd. the overall 2nd place gets R1000 & 3rd R500. if springleap is knocked out of 1st – the winner gets R2500

all that is required – take a screenshot on the 1st april, send it to us, and get publicity for yourself / company

Eran Eyal:

18:19:58

😎

Paul Jacobson:

18:20:27

that sounds interesting

Paul Jacobson:

18:21:00

so if run a Google search and if Springleap isn’t first on the list then whoever has most 1st place rankings will win R2 500?

Eran Eyal:

18:21:47

Yup! Spot on

Paul Jacobson:

18:22:31

so you’re pushing people to blog about springleap like crazy?

Eran Eyal:

18:23:24

More importantly we are curious to see who the best SEO guys are (Eric thinks he’s preeetty good ;))

Paul Jacobson:

18:24:39

well, so far springleap is on top but Charl and the iMod guys are getting close

Eran Eyal:

18:25:10

yeah – but are they good enough (Eric asks)? 😀

Paul Jacobson:

18:27:13

well, I am not sure if anyone can match Eric … but stranger things can happen …

Eran Eyal:

18:28:31

a final thing :

Paul Jacobson:

18:30:04

it was a bit nuts   😐

Eran Eyal:

18:30:06

inside the tshirt’s hem, every month, we include a positive message to uplift people : so when you put on your shirt, you read something that is going to make you remeber of the wondersous reality that you live in. (this will also be a monthly competitions coming soon). We call it “Positivity”


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Paul
Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

6 Comments

  1. Thanks Paul

    It was awesome to chat with you this afternoon – really looking forward to the amazing growth we have ahead of us.

    Go long – go strong

  2. Thanks Paul

    It was awesome to chat with you this afternoon – really looking forward to the amazing growth we have ahead of us.

    Go long – go strong

  3. Thanks Paul

    It was awesome to chat with you this afternoon – really looking forward to the amazing growth we have ahead of us.

    Go long – go strong

  4. Hey Eran

    Thanks for the opportunity. This is an exciting project and I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out.

  5. Hey Eran

    Thanks for the opportunity. This is an exciting project and I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out.

  6. Hey Eran

    Thanks for the opportunity. This is an exciting project and I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out.

What do you think?

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