Like many creative businesses today, Lily & Val got its start on Etsy: in 2012, Valerie McKeehan fell in love with chalkboard art and began selling her hand-drawn illustrations and prints on the much-loved site. Less than a year later, sales were so strong that the shop became a full-time business. Despite moving to a Lily & Val website that they hoped would become their main online storefront, owners Val and her husband Mak noticed that about 90% of their retail business still came from their Etsy shop.
After much marketing research, PPC campaigns, and site monitoring, Lily & Val came to us for a full redesign and copy development. The goal: Help move their Etsy business to the new site, and create a web experience that entices loyal and new customers alike to fall in love and make a purchase.
Some of the main things Val and Mak were concerned about in their current site were messaging and navigation:
Most visitors to our website appear to have trouble understanding what we are offering. They simply browse each page, scroll up and down the products, but do not click on anything. We have attempted to fix this by updating our product photography and have seen that that does help a little, but we are still not getting the conversions that we need/expect. I feel that site navigation is playing a huge roll in prohibiting conversions as well.
They also felt the design needed a more sales-focused approach than the one they took when originally moving from Etsy:
Visually, we would like a much simpler, feminine style with a heavy product focus. The current site was built to be a 50/50 representation of the brand itself and the products we sell. Though we want to tell the story of Lily & Val (and find that important) we do think the site needs to deliver a lot more sales.
Having worked with countless creative entrepreneurs who also got their start on Etsy and grew beyond their wildest dreams, the Aeolidia team was thrilled to help Lily & Val with this often challenging transition.
Our designer Christine got right to work, keeping in mind Val and Mak’s desire for a feminine, modern, “pretty-whimsy” design that’s also clean and modern. Inspired by Val’s artwork and the hand-drawn style that the brand is known for, Christine also incorporated lines, dots, and other illustrative details often found in the products. The vintage-inspired navigation menu was a work of artistry as well, both in appearance and function:
Your shop navigation is on the left side. This makes it easy for your customers to access right away all your products.
To the right of the navigation is your slideshow image with the marketing copy on top of it. I selected this image because I think these styled shots — where your customer can see your products in context — really inspire purchases.
Two additional feature areas in the form of slideshows highlight what is important for visitors to understand about Lily & Val as soon as they hit the main page.
Val and Mak loved the new design right away—many exclamation points, all caps, and virtual high-fives were enjoyed by all! In the meantime, I (resident word nerd and copywriter) was brainstorming ways to bring their story alive through copy. Val had expressed she wanted the homepage copy to be minimal, but “light and airy, written in a way that makes the user want to dig deeper into our line.”
I took a cue from their wonderful tag-line, Hand-drawn lovelies by Valerie McKeehan, to create short but concise copy that offered more specifics about their products, while still maintaining emotional appeal:
“Timeless chalkboard art, letter designs & prints. Made with love to last.”
For the About page and additional pages like Licensing Info, Val and Mak were excited for the copy to be informational and enlightening, but also reinforce their brand’s positioning:
Because the hand-crafted nature of our brand is at the forefront for us, we want the copy to feel authentic, sweet and “homey” also driving the customer to understand the Lily & Val process. A focus on Valerie as the artist is a key element. I.E. connect with Valerie, the creative force behind the Lily & Val line.
While Christine and I worked on art and copy, Aeolidia developer Jon was creating a beautiful custom Shopify site tailored to Lily & Val’s needs. He added “Favorites” capabilities so visitors can easily keep track of products that catch their eye, as well as Inventory management tools to make the process of stocking the shop more streamlined. As the site began to come together, Mak wondered if it’d be possible to add Tabs to individual product pages in order to better present information like Details or Shipping. Aside from adding this functionality, Jon made sure that it’d be something Mak could update as new products came along and walked him through the process:
You will be able to enter individual information, per product, into the details and shipping tabs on the product pages. Always enter the term “tabs” for the namespace… For the key enter either “details” or “shipping” depending on which tab you would like to enter content for.
The end result was a relaunched Lily & Val site that’s as charming in appearance and voice as it is in user experience. Mak was impressed by its fluidity and easy-of-use, while Val loved the design’s personal touches—like how Christine used Val’s hand-drawn illustrations for section headers—that truly made it their own.
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