Behind the Scenes: Designing a Strong and Timeless Logo

Gift and housewares logo design

Whether you’re launching a new brand or redesigning for an existing one, a timeless logo is essential for creating a strong identity that’ll grow and propel your business for years to come. When you have to reassess and restart, this kind of work is not a step back, but rather, a huge step forward.

Samantha Leung of Handmade Sam Made came to us at a point in her business when she was ready for her visual identity to be realized to its full potential. Her line of brass geometric mobiles and wall sconces—inspired by traditional Finnish himmeli—had such a distinctly modern, minimalist style that it was easy for us to imagine her business evolving into a brand that encompassed not only an aesthetic, but a lifestyle. This would help position her brand as a leader in her industry, while also making the evolution of her product offerings, from air plants to plant-inspired enamel pins, a more seamless transition.

Sounds like a lot of big changes, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes, the true artistry of a redesign lies in knowing the difference between what to change, what to keep, and what to enhance.

hemleva-planter

Photo © Samantha Leung

hemleva-plant-pins

Photo © Samantha Leung

hemleva-wall-sconce

Photo © Samantha Leung

hemleva05

Photo © Samantha Leung

Transforming a strong brand foundation into a timeless logo design

When Samantha came to us, she’d already built an incredibly strong foundation for her brand. She was doing a stellar job of knowing what her brand’s style was, who her customer was, and her Instagram account (with its gorgeous photography) was driving much of her sales.

What was lacking were a name and logo that tied all these elements of her brand together in a way that was as beautifully cohesive as her products. The messaging, style, and vision were all there—they just needed to be brought to life. As our designer, Jess, got to work on the visual identity for the newly-named Hemleva, Arianne compared our creative approach to that of building a new “home” for it to live and thrive in:

“Samantha, I think of your work like the framing of a house. All the 2x4s and plywood are up in the shape of the house, and now it’s our job to add the design details. We might add decorative molding and beautiful windows or even a little tower, but we’re not going to tear down any of the work you did and change the configuration ‘just because.’ We definitely don’t want to change what you’ve already built, because your foundation is so strong.”

Before & after: how refining your brand sets you up for success

Hemleva before and after rebranding with Aeolidia

Hemleva before and after rebranding with Aeolidia

Sometimes a brand requires a complete makeover. Sometimes, it simply needs to have its true identity be brought out in a way that feels natural and timeless. Hemleva already had so many brand elements “playing well together” that our job was to tease them out and make them shine. Jess’s designs were meant to be ones that Sam and anyone familiar with her brand would recognize and think, “OF COURSE that’s what it should look like. That’s what’s always been there, just scratching the surface.”

This reframing and refining of a brand makes it that much stronger. We wanted to set up Hemleva to take charge of its identity with strong, iconic visuals that would make it easier for the brand to stand out as the original leader in its class. The long-term goal behind Hemleva’s timeless redesign was to convert it to greater memorability in customer’s minds, a more commanding presence in retail stores, and overall success for Hemleva that will stay true to Sam’s aesthetic for years, no matter how her product offerings evolve over time.

Gift and housewares logo design brand board Stamp/seal design

View the Hemleva project in our portfolio »

Visit the Hemleva site » (new look/name coming soon)

Do you have a strong, inspired brand that simply needs to be propelled to greatness?

Contact us about realizing its fullest potential.

Workshops & Events in California in April

Aeolidia workshop in California

Quick news update!

Aeolidia is going to be in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ventura this month. Here’s where you can find us:

Shopify Unite

April 20-21, 2017
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California
unite.shopify.com

Arianne and Shoshanna will be attending to learn more about the future of ecommerce.

Make Your Website Smarter workshop

April 26, 2017, 7pm – 9pm $25
@ the pARTy Gallery 5522 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90018
creativethursday.com

 

Do you have a creative business that sells products? This workshop is for you if you’re either planning to set up an online shop, or you have a shop site that could use some improvement. The Aeolidia team will be sharing guidance about how to set up a shop, what content to include, and how to organize what goes on it.

The evening will begin with a presentation about website content, website design, and what you’ll need to see success online. Topics may include:

  • What pages should be on your website?
  • What content do you need to gather for a website?
  • What kind of photography should you have?
  • What software should you use?
  • Where do you buy your domain name?
  • How do you get people to visit your site?
  • How do you get people to purchase?
  • What about blogging and newsletters?

We’ll cover all this and more, as well as answer questions about your specific website. We will break into groups, and solve each other’s problems and make plans for your personal best next step.

We can help with:

  • Getting set up on Shopify
  • Choosing and adjusting design themes
  • Feedback on your existing website
  • Answering questions about design and strategy
  • Suggesting quick changes to improve sales

Please feel free to bring your laptop for some hands on learning.

REGISTER NOW

Craftcation

April 27-30, 2017
Ventura Beach Marriott in Ventura, California
dearhandmadelife.com

Arianne will be teaching two classes and she and Shoshanna will be giving one-on-one advice and feedback to attendees via Think Tanks and office hours. This event is sold out.

Benny + Lou: Starting a Baby Clothing Store with the Right First Steps

Primary logo for a children's brand

We love working with baby businesses as they get their big starts—and we mean baby both literally and figuratively, from young, new businesses to those like Benny + Lou, a baby clothing store that came to us right at its infancy for business branding and visual identity work.

Founder Marissa Cornetta, who named the online boutique after her grandparents, envisioned it being a retail destination for stylish, comfortable pieces made by small brands with high quality fabric. Her taste for classic, sophisticated looks with a playful, darling twist really drove the project’s creative direction, from the copy we developed for her home page to the business stationery and unboxing experience that Jess on our team designed once she finalized Benny + Lou’s logo.

Working with a design team like ours to create a visual identity when your brand is just a newborn definitely has its perks. Whereas many businesses often stumble and learn from their branding mishaps along the way, with Marissa we were able to apply our decades’ worth of design experience to her new boutique. She got to skip the growing pains, and we got to bring her vision to life.

Inspired by the child-like sophistication so prevalent in Marissa’s approach, Jess created a logo that paired a simple sans-serif font with a scripted type, showcasing the uniqueness of each element but also how beautifully they go together, like children. She also introduced an illustration of three leaves to be part of the Benny + Lou branding: “The 3 leaves remind me of little kids of different ages with their individual heights and personalities.”

print design for a children's brand muslin bag design for a children's brand Brand board and logo design by Aeolidia for Benny + Lou. A logo and brand identity design for an online children's clothing boutique with a classic, yet playful style.

Meanwhile, I got to work on copy for the Benny + Lou site. Though the home page would be very minimalist with not a lot of copy, these few words play a big role in introducing customers to the brand and inspiring them to explore the site’s offerings. In the case of Benny + Lou, the home page copy served as a kind of manifesto or mission statement—elements of the home copy ended up becoming central to brand’s messaging, popping up in places like Benny + Lou’s Thank You card and Facebook page:

The sweetest little things for the sweetest little ones.

In developing the Benny + Lou style guide, Jess wanted to exude luxury along with childlike approachability, two qualities that were underscored by choices like a watercolor version of the logo, which gave it a wonderful sense of depth and individuality. The color palettes of dusty blue, dark navy, light tan, and pale pink added a sophisticated twist to the more traditional pastel children’s colors. They’re soft, cozy and calming. These would become the guiding principles for the collateral we created for Benny + Lou, which included business stationery, unboxing experience, shopping bag/gift wrap, social media graphics, and newsletter graphics.

card design for a children's brand

Early on in the project, Marissa had expressed to us the design styles that best describe her vision for Benny + Lou—they included brands like William Sonoma home, Club Monaco, and Serena & Lily. Jess noted how all are different but have a sense of simplicity in common: “So many are simple, but unique and well executed.” By designing Benny + Lou’s logo to be flexible in how it can be used, it became easier to bring in the graphic elements and patterns that we paired with her branding. “Plus,” added Jess, “I believe the refined simplicity will stand the test of time, and mold better with your business as you grow and perhaps diversify your offerings.”

View this project in our portfolio »

Ready to take your brand’s first baby steps with us?

Contact us about developing the right visual identity for your store!

How to Be Bold About Promoting Your Business

Our favorite practical, actionable advice for promoting your business online and driving targeted traffic to your online shop.

“We fail far more often by timidity than by over-daring.”
―David Grayson

If you feel confused about how to get more people to visit your site, if it’s hard to get attention on social media, if you’re not sure where out there your customers are… guess what? You need to go out and get these people yourself. Here are three of my favorite articles (all from the Shopify blog) about how exactly you do that.

Hacking the Press: Clever Ways to Get Free Press Coverage with Zero Budget

We’re going to look at some of the most clever ways you can get any influencer or journalist’s attention—even in a crowded space—so you can get more traffic and sales for your business.

The Single Best Way to Get Traction for Your Ecommerce Startup

If you are brand new to running an ecommerce business and think that “doing light SEO, social, or ads” is going to be a path to overnight success… stop what you are doing and read this closely.

How Two Friends Turned Up The Heat and Sold $170k Worth of Spicy Honey in 10 Months

Our first efforts included emailing our personal contact lists and posting to our personal Facebook pages (asking for feedback is much easier than asking for sales) which led to our first $1,000 in sales.

Knowing that press begets press, we made a list of potential press targets and our possible connections to these targets, and then Casey aggressively pursued any and every lead.

RIGHT? This is good stuff. It makes me despair when I see people with a great product getting no attention. Each of these articles point out that you really need to go out there and get attention yourself. You can’t just set up shop in your living room (like my first grader did earlier this year) and expect a stream of customers knocking down your door. It sounds ridiculous, right? But that is what I see so many people doing, and wondering why it’s not working. Go out and get that press you need!

What daring things are you planning for your business next? Hiring an employee? Going to your first trade show? Investing in a custom website? Pitching your products to bloggers?

These are things that should be a matter of course for a healthy business. If any of them make you feel timid, I hope you’ll get out there and make things happen for your biz in 2017!

Want me to point you to more of my best finds? Our newsletter is where it’s at:

Join the Shipshape Collective

join the aeolidia club

Do you run a creative product-based business? I think you’ll get a lot out of our community. Bonus: you'll get instant access to free tools for making a website work, pricing your products, building a brand, and more. Let our helping hand lift you up. No reason to do this alone!

Aeolidia is Hiring Brand and Web Designers

Aeolidia-hiring-designers

Aeolidia is a web and graphic design studio that works exclusively for creative businesses with a penchant for design. Whether it be brick and mortar shops who curate collections by independent designers, or the independent designers themselves, we know how to create a successful ecommerce experience, and have been doing so for over a decade.

We are seeking freelance web designers or small design studios to join our busy team. We are looking for friendly people who would welcome doing their best work collaboratively with the remote (but never distant) team at Aeolidia.

Our process is almost certainly quite different than what you do with your own clients. It will take some practice to shape your process to match what we demand for our clients – come ready to learn and stretch out of your comfort zone, and we will support you every step of the way.

Is this you, or someone you know? We are a demanding, exacting group, and are pretty much incapable of doing less than our best. You should be, too.

You should be:

  • A web designer with solid ecommerce design experience.
  • A brand identity designer with experience in product packaging design.
  • Accustomed to being an authoritative and enthusiastic guide to your own clients.
  • Able to express yourself clearly and cheerfully to clients over email and phone.
  • Punctual to an extreme.
  • Excited to keep growing and learning best practices and new technologies.
  • A champion of creative, design-oriented businesses.

You should know:

  • What makes a memorable, distinctive, and effective brand identity.
  • How to design a strategic, user-friendly, high-converting ecommerce experience.
  • Best responsive design practices and strategy.

You can:

  • Live and work from anywhere in the world.
  • Have your own design methods, tools, and techniques.
  • Set your own schedule (as long as you hit our milestones).
  • Continue freelance work with your own clients as you work with us.

What we do:

  • Design brands that sell and are meant to last.
  • Design custom ecommerce sites from scratch.

We are looking for friendly people who would welcome doing their best work cooperatively with the remote (but never distant) team at Aeolidia. This is a 1099 contractor position, 20+ hours a week.

If you are interested

Wonderful! We’d be so glad to hear from you. Please fill out the form by clicking the button below. If you have a question for us first, you may email jobs at aeolidia.com.

Apply for the job here

6 Ways to Protect Your Business From Competitors

Here is how to outsmart competitors and copycats. 6 ways to build a strong foundation to outlast trends and keep growing.

Today we’re talking about how to protect your business from competitors and copycats. We have received web design inquiries from over 400 businesses since the start of the year, most of them trying to figure out how to make their business work and sell more products. Often, I look at what they’re selling and how they’re presenting it and have an, “oh, this is going to be SO hard” sympathy cringe.

Other times, I get a thrill of excitement about a business’s products, brand, story, and potential. Maybe the website is boring or sloppy, but the foundation of the brand shines through, like a rough gem ready to be chipped out of the rock surrounding it. It’s a thrill and an honor to polish and set these gems.

Aeolidia doesn’t make these businesses work. They’re going to work anyway. We help them reach their potential.

What is your business’s potential? Here are six ways you can build a solid business foundation that will keep you competitive through the years.

1) Understand your business’s “why”

Your business’s potential relies on the foundation of your brand. All efforts to improve your business will be easier or harder depending on how well the foundational work has been done.

Your brand isn’t your logo.

Your brand is made up of all the things that make your business different, that people can use to identify it. The voice, the values, the personality, the purpose.

Rather than asking, “what makes us different?” ask, “what difference can we make?”
Read more: Focusing on a Different Kind of Difference

Instead of asking, “what do my customers want?,” ask, “why have I started this business?”
Watch more: Start With Why TED talk

2) Create a unique business

You need to find something that your customers can see as a meaningful difference between you and your very closest competitor.

If people can buy what you sell from anyone, how are you going to convince them to buy from you? Without your own unique value, you’ll be in a race to the bottom on price.

There are so many people out there selling so many things that it can seem next to impossible to distinguish yourself. If you want your business to last (and keep growing and growing year after year), put in the work early in your timeline to build this foundation..

Remember there’s no “more unique” or “less unique” or “unique enough”—something is either unique (one of a kind) or it’s not. And it needs to be capable of continuing to be unique.

3) Design a business that’s hard to imitate

If your product is easy to design and manufacture, you’re going to spend all your time trying to stay ahead of copycats. What are some ways you could make it hard for others to copy you and take away your singularity?

A common business model is funny sayings printed on basic mugs using available fonts. This is common because it’s easy. Since it’s easy, guess how quickly someone can do exactly what you’re doing, reach more people than you can, improve on your product, and sell it more cheaply?

What if you created your own ceramics? Imagined your own sayings? Hand lettered them in your own style? Or came up with an entirely new idea that isn’t in such a saturated market?

If it feels easy to jump into a business venture, step back and see if it’s too easy. Could anyone do it? Is this an area that you’re going to have a hard time distinguishing yourself in?

What can you do in your own way that you don’t see in the market today? How can you be inimitable?

4) Make something people will miss

Finally, while it’s easy to create something unique (fire hydrant cozies? stilts for dogs?), it’s important that your unique product is something that people will want. Will people miss you when you’re gone? Or could you leave your market without creating a ripple?

This is about finding a hole in the market, that once you fill, people can’t imagine having to do without. You want to create something unique that people really want–either an improvement on an existing product, or something people have been doing without until you came along.

If you’re one of many selling the exact same thing, it won’t matter if your business exists or doesn’t. People will still be able to purchase. But if you sell something they can’t get anywhere else, you’ve set yourself up for success. What unique and valuable spin could you put on what you sell, who you sell to, the style of your product, or how you sell it?

5) Move quickly to market

If you come up with an amazing product or business idea but don’t move fast enough or can’t produce enough of it or reach a large enough audience, somebody can realize your business vision and leave you in the dust. Trust me, if you find a unique idea that people want, you will quickly be up against copycat businesses.

How will you compete against businesses with financial backing and cheap factories in China?

To be known as the first, you first have to be known. If you have something good, don’t sit on it. Put all of your resources into creating the product, marketing, and establishing your brand, so you can capture as much of the market as you can before competitors move in. At least when they do, you can legitimately call yourself, “The Original.”

6) Continue to innovate

Being the first, even at something that becomes trendy, is still valuable. It can boost your business into the spotlight, and give you a burst of popularity. But you can’t rest on your laurels, you need to keep creating. When your flagship product takes over the world and becomes old news, what will you make next? Trying to best competing businesses without innovating is hard.

Keep your business in the habit of creating and experimenting. Use your resources during good times to be preparing for your next big thing. You don’t want to be stuck trying to invent new products too late, when your business is suffering.

How to prepare your business

Here is what you need to have a hope of growing a thriving business:

  1. A solid understanding of who exactly your product is for. If it’s meant for everyone, it’s special to no one.
    Read more: How to Identify and Attract Your Dream Customer
  2. A deep understanding of your brand’s distinguishing characteristics. If you can’t tell why people should choose you over another, your customers don’t know, either.
    Read more: Make Marketing Easy With a Unique Selling Proposition
  3. An inimitable process, method, or style. So your success isn’t immediately usurped by others who can do it quicker, better, or louder.
    Read more: How to Deal With Copyright Infringement

Pinpoint your three closest competitors and find (or create) differentiating factors between you and them. Next, take these unique selling point(s) and consider how easily they can be imitated, and what steps you could take to protect them. Now that you know what’s special about you, figure out how to show your customers, rather than telling them.

Easy to say, not so easy to do, I know. I’d love to chat with you about your business more, if you have any questions.

Was this helpful?

This was originally sent (in a shorter form) to my newsletter subscribers. I talk about this kind of thing all the time! If you’d like to join our subscriber list and be invited to our Facebook community, please sign up here:

Join the Shipshape Collective

join the aeolidia club

Do you run a creative product-based business? I think you’ll get a lot out of our community. Bonus: you'll get instant access to free tools for making a website work, pricing your products, building a brand, and more. Let our helping hand lift you up. No reason to do this alone!

YAYA: Using Shopify to Bring a Jewelry Store to a Huge New Audience

What could be more perfect than creating a shiny new Shopify website for a jewelry store? We recently had the pleasure of introducing Israel-based jeweler YAYA to a completely new audience in the U.S. Their big launch involved not only a new website, but an incredible amount of fun and intense work on the foundations of their brand—from marketing and differentiation exercises to copywriting, SEO and social media consults—to ensure they reached their dream customers.

Much like YAYA creates jewelry and gifts that can be infused with personalized meaning for the receiver, we too did quite a bit of custom work in order to make sure this project suited their every need.

Photo © YAYA

Photo © YAYA

Bringing a popular hometown jeweler to a huge new audience

Having successfully launched YAYA in Israel, Alon and Yael Yanay were excited for their brand to make the cross-over to a U.S. audience. But how do you launch an established brand in a new and different market while still preserving all that makes it unique? We first set out to define YAYA’s target customer in the U.S., and equally importantly, what sets the brand apart from its competition in this new market.

By working one-on-one with our marketing expert, Caroline, Alon dove into the story of YAYA and the passion that drives them to live and give meaningfully. They also discovered the theme and philosophy that would become the driving vision behind the project. Caroline discovered:

“I think you touched upon a very useful word in this most recent exploration: COLOR and COLORFUL. While you may intend for this to be describing new designs you have in process, it seems to me like it may be a very fitting description for YAYA. Many times you have mentioned the vibrancy of your lifestyle… Perhaps YAYA’s USP has to do with incorporating color into stamped jewelry designs that are more commonly monotone and subtle in their color palette. And even more so, maybe it also has to do with infusing color into the aesthetic of the whole site, and expressing a colorful vibrancy in all that YAYA offers! Color is fun, it is playful, it is friendly,  and color can also serve as the perfect metaphor for a multicultural brand that embraces diversity.”

YAYA custom Shopify home page

Translating a unique selling proposition into art and copy

To further help YAYA reach their new target audience, we worked on the new web design and copy development in tandem with our SEO team, who helped us find the most strategic search terms for the brand and incorporate them in a way that felt natural and engaging.

A “gift guide” section on the homepage mirrored the personalized experience that YAYA offers in real life, working with each customer to help them find (and customize) just the right gift for their special someones. The copy was written to be friendly and inviting, and always with the goal of supporting the brand’s beautiful photography, which Christine chose to spotlight on the homepage.

“Your photography is so fantastic—it really tells the story of your brand. The images are engaging, beautiful and inspiring. So I really wanted to showcase one, nice and large, here. The caption written by Natalia borders the image at the bottom, with a call-to-action button to make a purchase.”

By balancing simplicity and color, the new design created a bright and vibrant platform from which the jewelry could really shine. And since choosing a gift for someone can often feel like an overwhelming experience, the layout was kept clean and decluttered to quickly help customers find what they’re looking for and create a shopping experience they’ll want to return to. This vision was carried throughout every interaction a customer has with YAYA—from the first moment they visit their website to the confirmation email they receive when they make an order.

Soon after launching the new YAYA site, we received a picture of Yael and Alon fulfilling their first U.S. order—smiles, high fives and hooray for a true team effort!

YAYA's first orders to the U.S.

YAYA’s first orders to the U.S.

Yael Yanay and Alon Abadi of YAYA

Yael Yanay and Alon Abadi of YAYA

Alon was a delight to work with from start to finish, and after launch, told us,

“Working with Aeolidia team was a great and enjoyable journey – the entire team was dedicated to the project and put their soul and heart into it – very professional from all aspects – a great and enjoyable experience to work with such an amazing team.”

Is your jewelry brand ready to reach a new audience? Contact us about launching (or re-launching) in a fabulous new direction.

See this project in our portfolio »

Visit the new YAYA site »

What To Do When You Change Your Business Name

What to do when you change your business name. You’ve chosen your new business name - exciting! Here are four important next steps for you.

Recently, I wrote about How To Think Of A Creative Business Name That Will Last. Last week, we talked about how to claim your name once you’ve come up with it. This post is all about the practicalities of changing your business name. What do you have to do next?

You’ve chosen your new business name – exciting! Here are four important next steps for you.

1) Required by law and good business practices

Make a list of any legal and regulatory steps you need to take. Here is a helpful article about this from the Small Business Administration: How to Change Your Business Name: Legal and Regulatory Steps Explained.

2) Hire a graphic designer

In some cases, you will be able to adjust your existing logo to use the new business name, but in most cases, it will be time to redesign the logo, or design a new logo for a new business.

The foundation you’ve built while brainstorming your business name is all information that you should take to your graphic designer. This means the things you discovered about your unique selling proposition, your business’s style, and your target customer.

Looking for a graphic designer? Hey, that’s us! View our portfolio here, and get in touch here.

3) Adjust your marketing materials

You will need to change your business name and URLs/handles on all of your digital and print marketing materials.

Make a list of all of the materials that will need to be updated:

Your website:

You will want to incorporate your new name and logo. If the renaming is part of a full rebranding, you will likely have new fonts, colors, and graphics as well, and this is a good time for a full website redesign.

If you aren’t redesigning the website, you will want to check it thoroughly to replace all text mentions of your brand name, update links to your social media accounts, and to your email address. For instance, your social media icon links in the header and/or footer of your site, in blog posts, on the contact page, etc.

If you’re switching to a new domain name as a result of the renaming, be very certain to redirect all of your old links and pages on the site to the new domain, so you don’t lose your Google ranking.

Printed materials:

Now is the time to design or adjust business cards, postcards, letterhead, stamps, stickers, and any other printed materials you’re using to pack orders, or otherwise market or advertise your business.

If you have a brick and mortar shop, you need to consider the store signage, product packaging and retail displays, the printed materials you use to bag customers’ purchases, the name on physical gift cards, and what the receipt says. You will want signage that announces the change to transition your old customers to the new name.

If you sell your products to wholesale buyers, you will want to decide what to do about the packaging for the inventory that hasn’t yet sold, and how to keep these buyers in the loop about the change.

Within your social media profiles:

For this step, check your bio or profile information on each social media platform you use to update your name, URL, and mentions of any other social media handles.

Other online accounts:

Do you have an Etsy or Amazon shop or are you selling on any other marketplaces? Are you using Google My Business for a brick and mortar shop? Is LinkedIn up to date with your new company information?

Are you using tools to help you automate your social media? You will need to update them with your new account information.

Check out all the places where you have information about your business online and get them up to date with the new name.

Your newsletter, email signature and voicemail message:

If you use an email signature, or have voicemail for your business, note the name change there.

You’ll want to send newsletters announcing the change, and also be sure that your standard email newsletter template (including the header graphic and footer text) is updated with your new information.

Redirecting all links to your old URL:

If your business has been around a while, there will be links to pages on your site spread all over the web. There will be mentions of your site on blogs and other websites, links from Pinterest and Google, mentions on social media. People may have bookmarked your site or emailed it to friends.

To make sure you don’t lose any traffic, you want to set up 301 redirects. These automatically move visitors from the old page to the new page, and tell Google that the page has moved permanently, so they can replace it with the new page. Shopify provides information on how to set up 301 redirects in the Shopify admin.

4) Announce your new business name to your customers

Come up with a marketing plan to re-launch with your new name. Don’t just switch the name with no fanfare, and act like everything’s normal. You want to bring your customers along for the ride.

Read our blog post about changing your business name without losing customers!

Lots more help like this goes out weekly to our subscribers

Want to feel more savvy about all the details that go into running a business? Our newsletter is the perfect place. I’ll share my best advice bit by bit over a few weeks, right to your email:

Join the Shipshape Collective

join the aeolidia club

Do you run a creative product-based business? I think you’ll get a lot out of our community. Bonus: you'll get instant access to free tools for making a website work, pricing your products, building a brand, and more. Let our helping hand lift you up. No reason to do this alone!

Building a Website For a Retail Store and Craft Fair: Crafty Wonderland

When a retail store grows in unexpected (but amazing) directions, it may be time for a new website. Back when Crafty Wonderland began in 2006, it was a twice-a-year craft fair showcasing gifts and goods by Portland’s finest artisans. It was such a hit, it grew into the largest fair of its kind in the Northwest before expanding into a fabulously successful 10-week pop-up shop that morphed into a permanent brick-and-mortar location.

Phew! Quite a ride, right? As exciting as it was, Crafty Wonderland’s expansion sometimes caused customers to be confused. The retail store and craft fair were two different aspects of the brand, but founders Cathy and Torie were fielding calls and visits from customers who showed up at the shop expecting a craft fair. Or expecting a pop-up shop. Or wanting to shop their beautiful goods online.

Their existing website wasn’t making things clear, and it was time for a change:

Before and after: a website for a retail store and craft fair

The Crafty Wonderland site before Aeolidia showed just a stream of blog posts on the home page. The new website makes it clear what they do, and allows you to choose the branch of their business that you’re interested in.

Crafty Wonderland show overhead photo © Shannon Rowland

The Show! Crafty Wonderland show overhead photo © Shannon Rowland

Crafty Wonderland shop exterior, photo © Crafty Wonderland

The Shop! Crafty Wonderland shop exterior, photo © Crafty Wonderland

Creating a shoppable website for a retail store that’s also a craft fair

Understandably, Cathy and Torie were ready to simplify and clarify their online presence: “We feel that our current website does not do a great job to distinguish and explain the two facets of the business. We have wanted to add a commerce element to that but are overwhelmed with thinking about how that would add to the confusion!”

Crafty Wonderland show booth photo © Shannon Rowland

Crafty Wonderland show booth photo © Shannon Rowland

Crafty Wonderland show booth photo © Shannon Rowland

Crafty Wonderland show booth photo © Shannon Rowland

Crafty Wonderland shop interior, photo © Crafty Wonderland

Crafty Wonderland shop interior, photo © Crafty Wonderland

Crafty Wonderland shop interior, photo © Crafty Wonderland

Crafty Wonderland shop interior, photo © Crafty Wonderland

We were now looking at three aspects of Crafty Wonderland’s business: the craft fair events, the brick-and-mortar store, and the online shop. Christine on our team created a design that highlights all these facets in a clean, easy-to-navigate website that won’t overwhelm visitors with too much information. Using a simple navigation bar that immediately differentiates each element visually, the design helps guide customers as they find and discover what they need.

“Your visitor will know right off the bat that Crafty Wonderland has markets, a local store, and an online shop,” Christine explained. “The upcoming market date/time now lives in a notification bar up top—so you can display it when a market is coming up or hide it if you’re not in market season.”

The new Crafty Wonderland home page, designed by Aeolidia.

The new Crafty Wonderland home page, designed by Aeolidia.

Shopping online at Crafty Wonderland is a breeze!

Shopping online at Crafty Wonderland is a breeze!

Cue the shopping: using featured items to entice and inform

Further down the fold, Christine included four featured products from the online shop to drive home the message that Crafty Wonderland also sells things that customers can buy here and now:

“The awesome thing about this new website is that you can reach more retail shoppers and sell your goods. One great way to make those sales is to showcase what you’re selling right off the bat. I am guessing that most people new to Crafty Wonderland are more likely to be shoppers than sellers, so this new design lets shoppers shop the online store AND attend a market. Win-win!”

The crafty duo’s original hand-drawn illustrations by Ryan Berkley, paired with a bright color palette, clear typography and a few handmade details help keep the design crafty but current, further hinting at the aesthetics of the products they sell.

The new site not only showcases all the different aspects of Crafty Wonderland’s business, it makes it easy to navigate. And you know what they say about about craft fairs: easy to navigate means easier to shop. (We may have just made that up, but we hope it’ll stick!)

Visit the brand new Crafty Wonderland site!

View this project in our portfolio for more info and detail

Is your business hard to understand online?

The team at Aeolidia has a knack for untangling even the knottiest business branches so that they make perfect sense to the perfect customer! Our schedule for spring is filling rapidly, and I urge you to get in touch today so your website can be a lean mean selling machine before the end of the year.

Build a stellar customer experience

Would you like some expert thoughts on how to create the best online experience for your customers? This video was only available to paying Brick House Branding students. But now you can get it! Lela Barker has given her blessing for me to share this video exclusively with my subscribers. Want to watch for free? Just sign up below, and I’ll email the video link directly to you:

Shipshape Collective Freebie

Crafting Your Customer Experience

Here is how to take your customer experience from 90% to 100% and reap the rewards.

Make Your Shop Work by Hiring the Best Shopify Experts for Creatives

Aeolidia is one of the highest ranked Shopify Experts, and our custom sites transform businesses and result in substantial increases to online sales.

I’m talking to just a few special someones with this post. You are the special someone if you can answer yes to these four questions:

  • Do you own a creative or design-oriented product-based business?
  • Are you on track to gross at least $100,000 with your business this year?
  • Are other branches of your business growing, but online retail is slow?
  • Is your ecommerce conversion rate low (like 3% or below)?

You, I am talking to you: I have a suspicion that you can’t afford not to invest in your ecommerce site right now. Things change very quickly with the internet, and what worked 3 or 4 years ago is not going to keep you competitive.

Your business is at that tipping point where the return on investment for hiring Aeolidia can be huge. Not sure you believe it? Email me today, and I’ll ask for just two numbers from your stats which I can use to predict how your business will do with and without our help.

This is my latest party trick, and it’s been illuminating for the business owners I’ve been talking to.

If you know anyone who might fit the above criteria, please introduce me—I’d love to help out.

If you’re new here

Aeolidia is a web and graphic design studio that has been setting up online shops for designers, makers, and other creatives since before Etsy launched. Aeolidia serves those at early stages on their path with an informative blog and supportive community, and meets established businesses at that tipping point where strategic design can be transformative and cause exponential growth.

Aeolidia is one of the highest ranked Shopify Experts, and Aeolidia alumni include Emily McDowell, Rifle Paper Co., and the Renegade Craft Fair. They all started small, just like you, then grew and met goal after goal with their businesses.

The custom websites Aeolidia creates have a reputation for transforming businesses, taking them to the next step, and resulting in substantial increases to online sales.

Here you can see some of our design work:

Frankie and Claude, a thoughtfully designed stationery and lifestyle brand.

Logo design for a stationery brand: Frankie & Claude

 

Skincare logo, packaging design, and product photography: Mafu

 

Petit Collage website redesign

Shopify toy store website redesign: Petit Collage

 

Handcrafted HoneyBee, product photography hero shot

Skincare logo and brand identity and product packaging: Handcrafted HoneyBee

 

Luxury spa logo and product packaging design

Luxury spa logo, product packaging design, and photography: Azalia Spa Goods

 

Aeolidia 2017 schedule

Get the most up-do date info on our schedule here.

We are booking all available 2017 blocks right now, so don’t delay if you have big plans for the year.

We only work with businesses that we can make a real difference for. Let me know where your business is at and where you want it to be, so we can make a plan. I hope to hear from you today!

Get in touch for a free consultation and custom plan for your online shop