SoulBlendr launched in January and, though I have mixed feelings about catchphrases like "Etsy for Bands", it's the easiest way I know to communicate the concept of a site that connects fans, bands and artisans. I hate to sound like one of those gushing judges on a dance competition show so I'll try to keep it in check but I really love this concept. I think it has huge potential for connecting the growing artisan/handmade goods movement with bands' need for unique merchandise and fans' desire for cool merch.
SoulBlendr is really pretty simple, you register as a fan, band or designer and then do your thing. There is a social element to the site which emphasizes connecting bands and designers but also allows for fan interaction. Facilitating the band/designer connection is one of the more unique aspects of SoulBlendr in that bands license and collect royalties on the use of their logos and related ip by designers. Interaction with fans, who could be interested in either category, helps strengthen one's fanbase.
It's still early enough in their development and in their publicity work that the platform hasn't yet been overrun with people so it's a lot easier to have visibility on the site than it will be later as compared to a platform like Etsy which is stuffed to the brim with products.
On a related note, the homepage is very close to Etsy's design, as are the product pages, for example, compare this Leather Wrist Cuff on SoulBlendr to this Handmade Leather Journal on Etsy. Can you say clone?
This means that eventually they are going to be strongly attacked and will have to survive what will be fair criticisms of that choice, especially since it's a site for designers! But, as Eliot Van Buskirk says about Turntable.fm clone Rolling.fm, clones aren't always a bad thing, though I'd be really annoyed if were at Etsy.
That said, I'm finding some cool stuff on here and will be telling some of my designer friends about the site. In fact, I may start talking to my developer friends about cloning this project. I can imagine all sorts of other brands and orgs that would love to be matched up with hip, young designers!
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. Flux Research is his business writing hub and All World Dance: World Dance News is his primary web project. To suggest websites and related topics for review, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.