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Cashing in on Custom: Lessons from a 6-Figure Seasonal Candy Brand

When Sarah Hannington couldn’t find a company to custom print Valentine’s heart candies, she started her own business. Just a few years later, her 6-figure side gig, MyCustomCandy produces and ships personalized candy hearts to influencers, celebrities, businesses, and customers worldwide. Customization is touching every product from lipstick to initial-stamped luggage. Even large, mass-produced brands like Nike and New Balance recognized and jumped on the trend towards unique experiences for their unique customers. Sarah didn’t plan to start a custom business. She was just one consumer who happened to stumble upon a missed opportunity, a gap in an industry expected to reach $31 billion USD by 2021. Sarah shares the ups and downs of a custom seasonal business that scales beyond expectation year over year, and her secret to keeping her cool through every crisis. This is her story. More

How to Use Instagram Stories for Marketing (And Why You Should)

Traditional social media encourages us to put our best selves out there because what we publish stays out there. But there’s a new content format on the scene with a 24-hour life span that encourages sharing in a more authentic way. Instagram Stories are quickly gaining ground as a way to keep your most loyal followers engaged while leaving your content open for others to discover. Stories have changed the way we use Instagram, turning the platform into something more than just your online photo album. Here's how entrepreneurs and marketers can make the most of this new "here today, gone tomorrow" social media channel. More

Why Customer Lifetime Value Matters (and How to Calculate It for Your Business)

How do you measure your online store’s success? Do you typically focus on things like sales and revenue? While these metrics are useful for tracking the short-term performance of content and campaigns, they don’t always paint a complete picture of your business’ future. Even looking at your current sales numbers can sometimes leave you with just a fleeting glimpse of your true financial situation. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one of the most important factors in determining your business’ present and future success. It’s an often-overlooked metric that can accurately predict how much your customers are really worth. By measuring the net profit that you’ll take in over the course of your entire relationship with a customer, you’ll be able to narrow down exactly how valuable they are to your business. More

How to Hire Employees 1 Through 20 (According to Mizzen+Main)

Companies are made up of people at the end of the day, and as established entrepreneurs will tell you about the early days, every new hire counts. But as you add more heads to your team, maintaining your company culture becomes harder. On this episode of Shopify Masters, you'll hear from Kevin Lavelle of Mizzen+Main, a brand that offers the best of advanced performance fabrics with the refined look of traditional menswear. Find out how he created a solid company culture from the ground up while building a 20-person team. More

13 Persuasion Techniques to Convince Ecommerce Visitors to Buy More

When running an ecommerce store, it’s easy to forget that visitor #3456 is a real, live person. A person subject to cognitive biases, persuasion techniques, psychological theories, etc. Having a basic understanding of some of the most popular persuasion techniques can put you ahead of the competition. You’ll have insight into how you can turn theory into practice, science into cold, hard cash. Here are 13 persuasion techniques that will give you an unfair advantage in the most important battlefield of all: the human brain. More

Introducing Checkout On Your Own Domain

Check this out... By the end of July, your customers will no longer be directed to to complete their purchase. Instead, their entire shopping experience—from homepage to checkout—will take place on your domain. No more domain switching. More

How to Sell Makeup Online: The Ultimate Guide

It’s projected that the beauty industry in the US will reach an unfathomable $90 billion by 2020 . Want a slice of that pie? Go for it! But first: coffee. And second: ask yourself a few questions. What's your big idea? How is it different from what’s already on the market? Have you identified an audience for your products? How will you reach them? Is that audience underrepresented by current brands? Whether you're jumping on a current beauty trend, or building a cosmetics brand from scratch, we've packed everything you need to know into one handy guide. Learn how to sell makeup online through real examples from established beauty brands while we take you through the ins and outs of manufacturing, marketing, setting up your ecommerce store, and more. More

How to Pick the Perfect Theme for Your Shopify Store

"Don’t judge a book by its cover" is a saying we’ve all heard. In most cases it's a good mantra to live by. But the hard truth in the online business world is the layout and overall look and feel of your website can play a role in how your business is perceived. Visitors really do judge your store and business by its “cover”. That’s why it’s important to pick the perfect theme for your Shopify store . In this post, we’ll take a look at things to consider when picking a theme for your Shopify store so your business and products can shine in the light they deserve. More

How This Entrepreneur Built Relationships With Independent Retailers

Before you can get your products into retail stores, retailers need to trust that they have the potential to fly off the shelves. In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll hear from John DePaola, the creator of The Pain Brush Cover, who started selling his product door-to-door and ended up appearing on Shark Tank to get an offer that was 4X what he expected. More

4 Little-Known Ecommerce Email Campaigns You Can Steal to Grow Faster

Chances are, you’re doing some sort of email marketing for your ecommerce store. Why? As Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner once wrote, “Email is the glue that binds everything together.” That type of popularity, though, comes with a downside. It’s easy to get stuck sending the same old campaigns to the same old segments, hoping for the same old results. If you want to grow faster, you’ll need to think outside the box and build growth into your ecommerce email campaigns. More

7 Steps to Beautiful DIY Apparel Product Photography

High quality product photography is essential for apparel ecommerce. For many customers, your product images will determine whether or not they buy your product . But essential doesn’t have to mean expensive. The difference between professional and amateur is talent, equipment, and experience. If you have an eye for photography and a modest budget, follow these 7 steps to benefit from our experience and create beautiful apparel product images. More

4 Massive Marketing Trends You Should Be Following in 2017

There always seems to be something new going on in the world of marketing: an update to Google’s search ranking algorithm, a game-changing feature that makes a familiar social network feel fresh again, a new way to connect with customers. It can be hard for entrepreneurs and marketers to keep up. That’s why it’s important to follow the overarching trends, not just smaller developments in the industry as they happen. Even if you can’t predict exactly what the future holds, you'll at least have an idea of the direction we're going in. So, what matters for your business in 2017? Here are some of the biggest marketing trends you should be paying attention to. More

9 Self Care Strategies for Busy Entrepreneurs

Time and time again, studies link good physical health (healthy diet, exercise) to good mental health (decreased depression and stress), and good mental health to increased productivity and creative thinking. What does that mean for entrepreneurs? You’re not doing your business any favours by not taking care of yourself. Self care sets you up to be mentally, emotionally, and physically equipped to handle the demands of a small business. Before you argue that you have no time or money for self care, let me stop you: this is my favorite excuse. I see you. The cost of not taking care of yourself is much greater in the long run. Invest in future you, and ultimately your business, by practicing self care. We’ve put together 9 quick tips for busy entrepreneurs. More

The Unexpected Success That Led This Etsy Seller to Start Her Own Store

Etsy is a marketplace for creators to sell their unique hand-made products and vintage goods. Tamara Mayne makes and sells soy candles on Etsy, and it started out as an experiment. Would anyone buy a scented product online that they couldn't smell? It turns out they would. In this episode of Shopify Masters, you'll hear how she got her start on Etsy and the sequence of events that led her to open her own store to take control of her brand. More

9 Google Analytics Custom Reports by the Experts (and How to Use Them)

When you open Google Analytics, what do you feel? For many people, the answer is “overwhelmed”. There’s a lot of data sitting in those reports, just waiting to be analyzed. The problem is that those overwhelmed marketers and business owners end up poking around a few default reports, recording some monthly metrics, and leaving until next month. Going beyond those out-of-the-box, default reports to custom reports, advanced segments and custom dashboards can help accelerate your store’s growth. Feeling less overwhelmed by the data, you can focus on what matters instead of burying your head in the proverbial sand. You can zero in on the insights that’ll drive smarter business decisions faster. More

How This Tree-Planting Charity Is Helping Reforestation Efforts Around the World

With current conversations about climate change, deforestation, and the finite nature of natural resources, sustainability is on the minds of both consumers and corporations. But more than that, it’s also in our hands. Businesses care about their social and environmental impact because consumers care. That’s why corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a growing focus, especially for companies with a significant carbon footprint. One Tree Planted is a charity that's making it easier for these companies to pursue CSR initiatives and have a positive, tangible impact on the environment. More

Home Office Ideas: Brilliant Hacks to Maximize Productivity

Tell me if this sounds familiar: your family’s living space needs have swelled into every square foot of your 2 bedroom house, edging your home office into your drafty attic or dungeon-like basement – spaces that suit a vampire just fine, but aren’t ideal for mere mortals. It’s sacrifice you gladly make as an entrepreneur. But dark, cramped, and unappealing spaces could actually be doing harm to your business, not to mention your psyche. Investing in yourself, via a space that inspires you, is an investment in your business. Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, we've gathered some creative home office ideas for every budget. More

5 Types of Visual Micro-Content For Marketing Your Ecommerce Store

Micro-content in marketing usually refers to short, snackable, standalone content. It's relatively easy to create and an especially good approach to content marketing for niche ecommerce businesses across a variety of categories. In this post, we'll explore different types of visual micro-content you can create, when to use them, and how to go about making them. More

Starting Smaller: Why This Shoe Brand Only Sold Socks For 3 Years

There's no one-size-fits-all way to launch a business or build a brand. Some approaches seem counter-intuitive at first, but dig a little deeper and they not only make sense but also mitigate some of the risks inherent to entrepreneurship. In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll learn from an entrepreneur who launched his business with a related product (socks), years before launching his flagship product (handmade men's shoes). Kory Stevens is the founder of Taft Clothing, a company that specializes in men's shoes, handmade in Spain, and men's fashion accessories. More

The Right Way to Monetize a Blog (With Lessons From Wait But Why)

YouTubers, writers, cartoonists, musicians, artists—creators of all kinds—have an amazing opportunity to build a business around the large and loyal audiences that consume their work. In fact, it's something many businesses are trying to emulate through "content marketing". Here's what both entrepreneurs and creators can learn about creating a business around content from the co-founder of Wait But Why. More

How to Improve Your Ecommerce Store's User Experience (and Pay Less to Sell More)

Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, once said, “UX is everything. It always has been, but it’s undervalued and underinvested in.” Ecommerce UX is no different. Stores pour thousands into Facebook ads, into product research, into design. Yet, UX goes undervalued and underinvested in. It’s a big problem. One that affects your visitors, your customers, your profits. One that affects you. Because if you’re not optimizing your ecommerce UX yet, know that your competitors are. More

How to Get More Subscribers on YouTube: 8 Tips to Grow Your Following

YouTube sees 1 billion active users every month—that’s almost 1/7th of the world’s population. As the owner of a YouTube channel, capturing some of those viewers as subscribers is how you grow your audience for the long-term. But increasing your subscriber count on YouTube isn’t enough. You want engaged subscribers who will watch, share, and engage with your videos as you continue to create them. Whether you’re using your YouTube channel to market your business or share your passion for making things on the Internet, here are some tips for growing an audience on the most powerful video platform around. More

12 Things to Sell on Shopify (Other than Physical Products)

When you think of Shopify, what initially comes to mind? Whether it’s dropshipping t-shirt businesses or maker shops, you’re likely thinking about physical products—small businesses creating and curating goods to sell in store or ship around the world. But when we say “product”, we’re talking about more than just tangible things. Many merchants are using Shopify in creative ways to sell, well, pretty much anything and everything else. Experiences, courses, rentals, and digital downloads are just a few business ideas beyond physical products. We looked at 14 Shopify stores selling everything from consultations to charitable donations to dress rentals to help inspire your own entrepreneurial genius. More

Behind the Scenes of the Buzzfeed Channel: An Interview with Ben Kaufman

Buzzfeed is a social news and entertainment company, one of the largest publishers on the planet with over 200 million readers and data-driven content that always seems to go viral. In this special takeover of Shopify Masters, we sit down with Ben Kaufman who oversees Buzzfeed's Product Labs, exploring the future of commerce for the media giant. This episode will take you behind the scenes of the new Buzzfeed channel to unpack this partnership and what it means for you as a merchant. More

Introducing the BuzzFeed Channel for Shopify

Shopify is partnering with BuzzFeed to make it easy to showcase your products to BuzzFeed’s editors. The new BuzzFeed channel allows you to easily tag your products for BuzzFeed editors to search, find, and consider featuring in its campaigns, product lists and onsite content. With its unique marketing style, BuzzFeed can help you reach its audience of over 200 million readers, potentially connecting you with new customers and boosting sales. More

What Raising Kids Taught 9 Entrepreneur Dads About Work-Life Balance

My father spent 40 years in the Air Force, but underneath the crew cut and the crisp uniform was a goofball, a wayward beard, a creative soul. He didn’t get to pursue his artist dreams. His was a path chosen by necessity. While I ignored most of my parents’ rules and advice, one thing he said stuck with me always: “Do what you love, dudette.” For other dads, the entrepreneur-types, that same lesson is passing down to the next generation by example. We found nine fathers pulling double-duty as Shopify Merchants, running their own businesses while wrangling rugrats. These are their stories. More

How to Build Your Own Brand From Scratch in 7 Steps

Building a brand from the ground up that stands out is no easy task. “What should it look like?” “How should it make people feel?” “Will it resonate with my target audience?” These are questions that inevitably come up when you start thinking about how to connect the dots between what you’re selling and who you’re trying to reach. Whether you've got nothing but a business idea or want to pivot your existing brand, here's everything you need to know about building a strong identity for your business. More

Ecommerce Copywriting: How to Conduct Copy Research to Boost Sales

Ecommerce copywriting comes in many forms, but is rarely discussed outside of product descriptions. Value propositions, microcopy, Facebook ads, promotional emails—all of these rely on copy to capture attention and convert visitors into buyers. Yet, many ecommerce sites are “just winging it” when it comes to copywriting. The good news is that there’s a 4-step process that professional copywriters use to craft persuasive copy and improve conversions—one that you can steal and use for yourself. More

How a Homegrown West Coast Brand Found an Audience in its Own Backyard

Vancouver is a multicultural melee with a California ease gently clashing with Portland bohemia. It’s Canada’s third largest city, and maybe due to its milder weather, it has the laid back vibe of a much smaller place. Bordered by mountains and oceanfront, it naturally draws and cultivates a more nature-conscious population. When Sonia Chhinji and Fouad Farraj began building their brand Woodlot, they knew that their hometown Vancouver would be the best testing ground for their products. Their freshman line of candles was inspired by their surroundings, after all. And, most importantly, a city that leaned towards healthy living would relate to the values of a naturally-derived brand. I spoke to Sonia, Woodlot’s Co-Owner and Creative Director, about cultivating a modern homegrown brand rooted in tradition. More

How One Entrepreneur Got Her Rental Cakes Into 1000 Grocery Stores

Kimberly Aya is the founder of FunCakes: stunning rental cakes for weddings and parties at an affordable price. She's been in business for over 10 years and has appeared on Shark Tank. On this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll learn how she scaled her online success by going offline with grocery stores, working with brokers to offer her products at 1000 locations. More