I have really been enjoying our Spring Cleaning month and all the examples & tips for how to dust off your business & make it shine! Today Kate of Magpie Lovely is visiting us to show off her fabulous business makeover and some things she has learned along the way. When I first visited her shop I found the colors to be a bit bright and I wasn’t crazy about the logo fonts or the site navigation, but now I could spend hours poking about her site. It’s new clean style and beautiful hand lettered logo are a far better showcase for the gorgeous items in her shop. Hooray for great design and makeovers!
1. Hi Kate! Thanks for visiting with us on Oh My! Handmade and giving us a behind the scenes look at your business makeover. First off please tell us a bit about yourself & Magpie Lovely:
Magpie Lovely was created to introduce the boutique shopping consumer to the world of handmade, independent artists. The online store features gorgeous jewelry, bags, home accessories and clothes for all ages, with a men’s line coming soon. Our items on Magpie Lovely are hand selected to ensure they reach the level of quality our customers expect.
Some people have a preconceived notion that handmade goods are less attractive or second tier, when in fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are many designers that create items of the quality and style found in upscale boutiques. I truly understand the skill, dedication and love it takes to handcraft high quality fashionable products. The designers featured on Magpie Lovely love what they do and it comes across in each piece they create. The shop presents a great opportunity for them to stand out and reach a new audience who otherwise would not be exposed to their products. Personally, I love when customers are shocked to hear that all the items featured on Magpie Lovely are handmade – which happens quite often.
Magpie Lovely combines my love of handmade products and the desire to do something creative. I love everything about running the online shop, but most importantly getting to know the designers and customers. My marketing/pr background also helps when gaining press and forming new relationships. I have big things planned for the shop in the upcoming months including adding a vintage line, great new products and designers, and a few fun surprises.
Here’s a peek at Kate’s workspace:
2. You recently overhauled the entire look and brand of Magpie Lovely, what made you decide to re-brand and how did you create your current look? (ie. who did you work with, what was the time line etc…)
I took over Magpie Lovely from the original owner on January first. My first priority was to get to know the designers and general operations of the shop. I knew from day one that i wanted to do a complete overhaul of Magpie Lovely, but most importantly I wanted to make it more user friendly for the customers and put the main emphasis on the talented designers. I talked to several web designers until I met Lindsay from purr design (www.purrdesign.com) who was a perfect fit. I had a strong vision on exactly what I wanted the new shop to look like and she worked with me every step of the way. I, of course, wanted the design to be done as soon as possible. I believe the timeframe was about 8 weeks. I am so proud of the new site design! the new look has attracted variety of new designers, which in turn makes happy customers.
3. Let’s take a look at some before & afters. What didn’t work about your design before & what do you love now?
The old shop had a very bright color scheme of lime green and coral. I felt that the products on the old site got a bit lost with the lime green background. I wanted to create a site that lets the gorgeous products stand out on a clean background, which I think I accomplished. Also with the old site, the images were not a consistent size. This bothered me much more than it probably should, but I felt it was important to make all images the same size since Magpie Lovely offers a wide range of products from different designers. The new site also gives several views of the same product, which the old site did not offer.
Now for the new site! It’s so clean, which is my style. It is also very organized, which is my…obsession.
For the logo i worked with the amazing Cathie Hong of Ampersandity. I played around with several different looks, but instantly fell in love with Cathie’s work and knew it was the perfect fit for Magpie Lovely’s new logo. I used two different shades of grey for the logo and kept the image of the magpie bird, just cleaned up a bit. I also selected a sage green as the accent color.
For the packaging I wrap items in brown craft paper and some Divine Twine. I add one of our new business cards and a handwritten thank you note. Customer service is my number one priority. I believe that mistakes happen, but the way you handle the problem is what the customer remembers.
Some of the great new features:
- customer log in – save your information for future visits
- wish list – create your wish list, holiday present guide (great for husbands!) or a registry
- search by designer – a priority of the redesign was to shift focus onto the designer’s stories and beautiful products
- meet the designer – learn a little about the designer of each product
Overall, I think the site is bright, cheerful and very inviting – everything that I was hoping to accomplish through the redesign.
4. Bring us on a little tour of your shop, what are some of your favorite items or designers?
Absolutely! This is the fun part. Magpie Lovely works with so many talented designers, it’s really hard to pick only a few, but here are some of our favorites:
For the kids…
tiny giraffe (new jersey) tiny giraffe was created as an outlet for owner amy’s creative and entrepreneurial energy. tiny giraffe offers eco-friendly toys for modern tots.
handmade pretties (iowa) handmade pretties creator, lara newsom’s undying devotion to recycling and deconstruction lead her down her current path of creation. lara’s background in painting and sculpture left her with a strong sense of color and form.
bink & boo (california) heavily influenced by their coastal socal living, and a love of thrifting, bink & boo pairs their vintage fabric finds with modern textiles for a cheerful approach to their creations.
b. childrens wear (seattle) b. children’s wear strives to make unique and fun items for your little one that reflect their unique personalities. they believe each child is special and try to make clothing that reflects that.
jack & salma (new york) jack & salma is a pure labor of love, inspired by her own children, whose drool was becoming a drag.
and of course, something for the moms…
darlingtonia (california) owner katie kukulka makes each pair of darlingtonia moccasins entirely by hand – leather is cut, holes are punched, and physical effort is exerted while using a completely manual antique Singer 29k sewing machine. after cutting, sewing, adhering, and lacing the fun begins as embellishments are added.
nelle (minnesota) nelle is a nationally recognized independent accessories company whose luxurious pieces delight a captive audience of style editors and industry insiders.
taylor kenney jewelry (colorado) taylor kenney jewelry combines gemstones of sumptuous colors and textures with high quality gold and silver. wire wrapped gems of every hue and tiny luxurious details are signatures of the line.
5. What have you learned during your rebranding & the design process? Do you have any do’s & dont’s to share with us?
I learned that you should not give up on your vision. Throughout the design process there were many ups and downs, but I never lost sight of the end product. I knew I would not be happy until it was perfect (or close to it) and I worked very hard to make sure it happened. I also learned that everyone has an opinion! I shared ideas and concepts with friends and family as the site progressed, but I quickly realized that you cannot please everyone. Take suggestions into consideration, but stick with your vision and see it through. Redesigning the site was a fun (and tedious) process and mostly a huge learning experience. I am so proud of Magpie Lovely‘s new look! It is truly an extention of my personality.
I hope you enjoy the new site! Happy shopping and thanks for letting me share Magpie Lovely’s story.