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An Online Home for a Brick and Mortar: Nora Gray

by Sam Hirst

February 18, 2016

The growth of ecommerce over the past several years has made it more important than ever for a brick and mortar shop to include a website and online shop as part of its marketing strategy. Your online and in-person presence should work to complement each other. As an in-person customer, I may use the website to find the location of the shop, or to read about upcoming classes being offered. And as an online customer, it’s important for me to understand when I land on the website exactly what the business offers, and how I can find what I’m looking for.

Nora Gray is an American-made shop in Indiana selling rustic-chic decor, locally handmade goods, and gift products. Staci Huey contacted us last year, when it was time to create a new website for Nora Gray which represents the business and makes it easy for customers to shop online. She told us:

I began the business by selling on Etsy and using social media such as Facebook & Instagram. I also attended craft shows. A brick and mortar shop became available in my small town of Berne, IN and I jumped on it. Knowing that my personal line would not fill the store, I decided to open an American Made Boutique. Ideally, I would like my site to be organized for selling my items top priority and explaining my company and what we’re all about.

Right now, I feel like my website is useless. I really do not like the overall layout, I feel it is confusing to try to find something if you’re on the hunt for it. Also, I have no inventory tracker so that is a mess itself. I don’t feel like I can advertise my site and feel comfortable presenting it well. Our Facebook, Instagram & Etsy seem to work well; my only limitation with Etsy is it is my personal line only (scarves don’t sell great in the summertime). I want to be able to use my website to promote the merchandise in the shop as well as promote my wholesale line to retailers across the globe.

Nora Gray storefront
Nora Gray storefront
Staci Huey, Nora Gray proprietor
Staci Huey, Nora Gray proprietor
Nora Gray's Americana, made in the USA
Nora Gray’s Americana, made in the USA

Before beginning our design work on Staci’s project, we helped her get set up on Shopify – using the Shopify POS which enables her to sell both in-store and online. This allows Staci to manage her inventory in one place, making sure that she doesn’t sell something online that just walked out the door with an in-person customer!

Staci had a trio of important goals for this project:

  1. Make it easy for customers to shop online
  2. Explain the company
  3. Promote Staci’s own wholesale line of goods

We put our heads together as a team and made sure to address each of these goals.

Sarah began by creating a brand identity for the existing Nora Gray logo. It’s important that a brand include fonts, colors, textures and graphics which can be used both online and on print materials. We can’t start our work without having these details fleshed out.

Working to create a vintage Americana identity for the shop, Sarah then created a website design for Nora Gray, using beautiful borders and a woodgrain texture in the background which lends a clean, vintage feel to the website design.



Sarah worked with Staci to organize the shop’s categories and drop-down subcategories so that it is easy for customers to find exactly what they are looking for, with just one click. And customers who might be visiting the website to find out more about the brick and mortar shop can see the address, hours, and phone number by simply scrolling to the bottom of the home page. Both types of customers are served well by the design.




We brought in our copywriter, Natalia, to write the About page copy for the new website, making sure that online customers understand exactly what they should find at Nora Gray. The copy not only explains what the company sells, but gives online customers a good feel for who the company is:

We are a trio of thrifters, bargain hunters, salvagers, trendsetters, and free spirits who are happiest when we’re busy creating something. Nora Gray is a place where all the things we love come together: our eponymous line of baby blankets, moccasins and infinity scarves, our custom-built furniture pieces, and a bevy of women and children’s clothing and gift items. Everything we feature is made in the USA by us or by fellow artisans and makers.

All-American with a vintage modern chime, our shop is located in Berne, IN, in a small 19th century building that we restored to its original wood-plank, brick-walled glory. Of course, we couldn’t resist adding our own personal touches—an aqua colored ceiling, iron pipe display racks and farmhouse lights give the space a certain charm. All the furniture pieces we carry are handpainted using specialty paints like Junk Gypsy and Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, available at the shop. And because creativity is like popcorn (better shared) we hold regular workshops where you can learn how to use them on your own projects.

If you’re a fan of rustic-chic decor, locally handmade goods, and gifts that tickle your whimsies, we have a feeling we’re going to get along just fine. Browse our online store or pop into the boutique to say hello. The three of us can’t wait to meet you.




In order to promote Staci’s line of goods to the wholesale market, we included a call to action on the home page which links to the Nora Gray exclusives line, and also created a custom wholesale contact form which makes it easy for potential wholesalers to contact Staci.




We launched the new Nora Gray website just before the busy 2015 holiday season (launching on schedule is non-negotiable with us!), and recently asked Staci how the new website is working. She told us:

Our website has been working well for us. Over the holidays we had several online orders and it also worked extra well for us as a place for people to show their loved ones what they wanted for the holidays. It was a “win-win” situation for us.

We’ve also had about 4-5 wholesale inquiries, so that’s good too!

All in all, I think the website is fantastic :). We’ve started learning the program well and it’s been working for us.

Do you need to set up an online home for a brick and mortar shop?

Come talk to us! We’d love to learn more about your business, your goals and your current challenges so that we can put together a plan that’s just right for you.

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