Beyond DIY: Reinventing CHILDISH

meeting the makers, sarah stickland, CHILDish, oh my handmade

CHILDish was founded in early 2011 by me, Sarah Stickland. I needed a good fundraising project for my daughter’s playschool, so I created a series of personalized dishes. Founded in practicality, quality, and attractiveness, the CHILDish plates and bowls were conceived. They were such a hit that other schools started to ask to use them for fundraising too. The rest, as they say, is history! The very first CHILDish website was built by myself over a weekend using WordPress and a basic Pay Pal button. The wonders of technology is that anyone can build an e-commerce website with little to no money or programming knowledge. Even though my initial website was basic, primitive and not at all user friendly, it did allow me to test my product idea before making a large financial investment. Within the first six months after launching my company, I knew my product was a hit and I needed to upgrade my website.

meeting the makers, sarah stickland, CHILDish, oh my handmade

There were two main objectives for the website redesign (above making it visually more appealing). First was to have a fully functional, user friendly shopping cart, and back end system which would allow me to track and process orders efficiently. The second was to integrate a preview so parents can see exactly what the cartoon image of their child would like on their product of choice. Having a preview was essential to the re-design. I knew from talking to customers that many would abandon their order because they didn’t know if the cartoon image would actually look like their child.

I didn’t realize what a major project I was taking on until 2 months into the project and no progress had been made. My goal of having a custom preview system built into an existing shopping cart software (Shopify) proved to be a major undertaking. There were many delays and moments I thought it would never actually happen, but in the end, it came together beautifully.

My programmer not only allowed customers to preview their orders, but built a robust system that lets me as the owner/designer change and alter my preview. Each month a new limited edition design is launched, available on for that one month. Themes have included pirates, superheros, and astronauts. It’s an easy change to add one of these themes to the preview builder. This allows me to let my designs, and customer requests, dictate the direction of my business. My business is no longer limited by technology.

meeting the makers, sarah stickland, CHILDish, oh my handmade

I am thrilled with Shopify, my shopping cart provider. I find their website templates, user interface and app options have everything I need and more. I’ve added a select few apps including StitchLabs which provides me with important sales stats including what products are my top sellers and cost of goods sold. I also love that they show these stats in pretty pie charts (very important for a creative soul).

But the big question is, was the time and effort worth it? YES! Not only has the website made online ordering easier for my customers, and saved me time on the maintenance of my website, sales have increased.

During the launch week of the new CHILDish website, sales were up 1343% over the previous week.

  • The new website has only been live for just over one month, but daily visits have more than doubled.
  • Average visit time has increased by 214%. Before the new website launch customers were spending on average 1min 37sec at the website, which has increased to 4min 30 sec on the new website.
  • The current CHILDish average conversion rate is 4.5%, 4 times higher than before the re-design and almost double the industry average. The CHILDish conversion rate with the old website was 1.2%. According to Clickz, the average online e-commerce conversion rate is around 2.3%.

It’s a fine game to figure out when to invest in your business to take it to the next level. Having my basic website for the first year saved me time and money and the opportunity to see if my business could support a financial investment. It also helped me figure out what exactly I needed and wanted in a new website.

Shopify is currently running a Build-A-Business competition, amazing prizes but more importantly mentor videos, business article and forum. StitchLabs is made for makers and integrates with other shopping carts including Etsy and BigCartel. Oh, and it’s free!

Meet Sarah!

My sweet spot is where design and business meet. Being a designer first and a business woman second, I approach business problems with the same process I apply to my creative work. I have over 15 yrs of experience in the design field, both running my own design business and as an Art Director with American Girl. I am the owner and designer for CHILDish, an Edmonton-based company that sells and distributes brightly coloured, whimsical, and personalized children’s products. CHILDish believes that childhood is fun, and that every child is unique and should be celebrated.



  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you for your comment Ashley. I’ve heard similar comments from people via twitter and email. I am always curious to know what happens behind the scenes of other businesses, so I thought I’d share my experience. Glad to know people find the post useful.

  2. Kim says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience + your site design is amazing. I just love how everyone can see what they are creating. I have been wishing for something similar for my stationery for a long, long, long time. It’s just fabulous. Congratulations!

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