Dynamic Pricing Under Scarcity

I came across an online made to order T-Shirt shop, which is a very legitimate and decent site despite its name  200nipples.com. It is different from any other made to order shop, like Cafepress.com.

  1. This is not a site for you and I to sell T-shirts
  2. They make custom print on T-shirts, graphics done by designers they hire on 10% commission
  3. They sell only 1 design at a time 
  4. There are only 100 t-shirts to sell for each design and then they say they scrap the design
  5. The T-shirts are numbered 1-100
  6. The Price?  It is same as the number on the T-shirt. You pay $1 for #1 and #100 for $100

From the 200nipples blog:

What’s with “200 Nipples?”

That’s how many nipples we assume will be covered by any single run of our high-quality shirts. (We’ll have the third-nippled buyer in there occasionally, but we didn’t want to count on it when naming the company; this is serious business, after all.)

It is a new model of dynamic pricing under scarcity (however artificial) and betting on customers high willingness to pay based on exclusivity.

I think this is a great experiment, I like the entrepreneurs showing creativity  but

As a viable business model I doubt its viability and scalability. Limiting to one design at a time seems unnecessary. It is easy to change however, but may cannibalize the sales as those not willing to buy a T-shirt for $40 or more may choose one that is available for less. While the first few designs and some of them will sell out for a total revenue of $5050 from a design, it is questionable that this would hold for the majority. There isn’t a large customer base that would want exclusivity or would want to pay $30-$100 for exclusivity. This is a T-shirt not limited edition collectors item. The macroeconomic conditions are also not conducive to such a pricing model that requires high discretionary income (or even abundance of bubble days).

I see the latest version that shows RIAA people going to heaven sold just  42 T-shirts. The number has not changes since Sunday night. True they have not done any marketing, but is not going to be an outlier.

I think those entrepreneurs are not after making it big with this T-shirt shop, they are probably looking for marketing credentials or more, just like more bloggers who spend hours of their unpaid time writing blogs that never get read.

Good luck Wade and Shandra.