Ello to topple Facebook's earning might with t-shirt sales... initially

Ad-free social network Ello has announced its first revenue stream will be specially-branded t-shirts after the firm entered a partnership with t-shirt design firm Threadless.

Ello's first t-shirt design

The designs will be created by Chicago artist Chuck Anderson who goes by NoPattern, with up-and-coming artists also invited to create their own apparel-based interpretation of the site and its ideals.

The first design pictured is a subtle take on the Ello logo. Black and white shirts with the logo will also retail for $25.

Paul Budnitz, co-founder and chief executive of Ello, said: “Ello is about freedom - freedom from advertising, freedom to be who you want to be, and freedom to create. Working with brilliant artists like Chuck is a way we support Ello's creative community.”

Jake Nickell, founder and chief executive of Threadless, said: “What's truly special about us teaming up with Ello is the incredible commitment to supporting the arts. Both of our companies are rooted in creativity, and together we're making art accessible to a wider audience."

Speaking to Re/Code Budnitz denied the firm was planning to fully fund its upcoming operations off the back of the shirt sales: “It would be hilarious if we funded Ello with T-shirts.”

Instead he touted the site monetisation through the sale of interesting new features. “We’re going to let everyone [build] Ello into their Ello, we’re essentially building an app store that allows people to customise.”

He added that the app store will be fully launched in 2015.

Ello earned £3.4m from its latest funding round in October - the firm is unlikely to deliver a return to investors through t-shirt sales.

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