New online class: Create a cohesive product line

Create a cohesive product line

For Big Cartel’s latest online class, we’ve enlisted Melanie Abrantes to talk about expanding your product line, telling your story, and more. This free class is part of an ongoing partnership with our friends at Skillshare. They provide countless classes focusing on design, photography, business, and other topics. They’re all online, so you can enroll any time.

Melanie is a talented designer who has been creating cork and wood bowls, planters, and more since 2013. She’s a full-time shop owner and also regularly teaches workshops. In this class, she talks about timing the release of your collections, how to develop consistent branding, and more. Follow along with this class and develop 3 new products. When you’ve completed the class, upload a project and the Big Cartel team and your fellow classmates will help give feedback. Once you’ve completed Melanie’s class, check out the other Big Cartel classes on Skillshare.

The Big Cartel API is here

Big Cartel API Beta

Calling all devs! The beta release of our API is now ready - making it possible for you to extend Big Cartel’s core features and build awesome things for our massive community of artists.

We’re considering this a “beta” because it’s currently a limited subset of the features that the full API will ultimately have. We’ll be rolling out more API features over the coming months, and we’ll prioritize which areas come first based on your feedback.

However, don’t let the “beta” thing scare you. The functionality available now is stable and ready for production use. Sound exciting?! Ready to get started? Check out our API docs and make sure you have everything you need for your integration. Then, apply for an invite and we’ll get back to you shortly with the next steps.

Make sure you’re signed up for our Developer Newsletter and follow our API Changelog to get the latest about updates to our API, and please reach out with any feedback or questions. We’re so excited to see what you build, and even more excited to see what our shops do with it.

Recap: Indie Fest 2015

In July, the whole Big Cartel Crew gathered for our annual Indie Fest in Ojai, California. Once an artist community, Ojai still doesn’t allow large chain stores within its city limits, and this independent spirit made it the perfect location for our yearly retreat.

While we made plenty of time for fun, relaxation, and getting to know each other a little better, Indie Fest was a perfect time for some distraction-free planning. The company is spread out across the US, so time spent all together in the same place is priceless. We kicked off projects, talked about what new tools shop owners need, and took time to share our processes and goals across different teams. As always, we’ve come away from the week together brimming with ideas and plans for the future of Big Cartel and the artists who believe in what we do.

New field guide: Social Media

Social Media Guide

As you set up your business, it’s important to think about where and how you want to share with your audience. It’s great to promote products, tell fans when they can find you at events, and give a glimpse behind the scenes. But it can also be overwhelming to figure out which platforms you should use (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Vine, and the list goes on) and what you share.

It’s a lot to work out, especially when you’re fitting it all in between making your products and packing up orders. The latest field guide is here to help, with suggestions about scheduling your time and nailing down your communication style. Once the plan is in place, it’s time to have fun and let your personality shine through.

Read the Social Media field guide »

Big Cartel Live: New Orleans

Big Cartel Live in New Orleans

Hey New Orleans: we’re coming for you, Sept. 16-18! The Big Cartel crew is headed to New Orleans, and we want to get to know the local artists, makers, and shop owners.

We’ve got big plans for our short visit: If something in your store admin isn’t working the way you expected, the support team will be taking appointments to talk through issues face-to-face. Questions about store design, photography, or social strategy? The community team will help you design a few slideshow images, set up an actual photo studio to shoot your products, and be on hand for whatever else your shop needs to get into tip-top shape.

And because we’re fans of fun, of course we’ll organize a little shindig or two.

So mark it on your calendar: on September 16-18, we’ll set up camp in New Orleans to make some new Louisiana friends. Soon we’ll open up reservations for one-on-one help. Those spots are sure to go quick, so sign up here to be the first to hear about our trip to NOLA!

Both sides of the retail coin

Connect online and in-person sales

For those of you who sell primarily at events, there are a lot of people who’ll window shop your booth, then go home after, thinking about what they saw, and want to buy online. Help fans connect your in-person presence with your Big Cartel shop with these little tips:

1. Send them to your shop with discounts

A stack of cards printed with the address of your shop and a discount code for their next order online will help more timid shoppers seal the deal.

2. Promote exclusive items

If you can’t show every item on your table or in your booth, let shoppers know that there’s more to enjoy online. Before the event, sneak peek some new items that will be available to in-person attendees before anyone else. You can even take pre-orders and have products available for pick-up at the event.

3. Keep inventory in check

Work from a single inventory to stay organized and updated. When you turn on inventory tracking in your shop admin and use the iPhone app for in-person sales, you won’t accidentally oversell while you’re away from your shipping supplies. If you don’t want to worry about online sales while you’re out and about, put your online shop in event/maintenance mode to keep things organized.

4. Make loyal customers

On average, 40% of the people shopping your store online are return customers. Now’s your chance to meet them in person and let them know the face behind the brand. Be personable, get their contact info and reach out to them. Swap cards, put them on your mailing list, bring them into your brand family. If you’re not the type of person that loves to charm a crowd, employ someone who does. Find a sibling or friend who believes in what you do and bring them with you.

5. Learn about your product

Online, you’re caught behind a curtain a bit. In person, you get the chance to see how your fans react, which products they love, what price points sell quickly and how your packaging is perceived. Take notes during your event on how to improve the experience for your online shoppers. Implement the changes you come up with while things are happening live around you.

New online class: Create a lookbook

Skillshare

We’re excited to announce that we worked with designer and photographer Kate Miss to create another online class for shop owners. This free class is for artists and makers who are looking for fresh ideas on how to photograph and share their work. Kate will walk you through the purpose of lookbooks, different photo styles, and help choose one that’s right for your brand and budget.

Skillshare video

Kate is a talented designer who runs two of her own online stores: Kate Miss Jewelry and Kate Miss Prints. Our friends at Skillshare partnered with Big Cartel on a series of free classes specifically for artists, makers, and creatives. Their classes are completely online and you can enroll any time. When you’ve completed the class, upload a project and give feedback to your fellow classmates. When you’ve finished Kate’s lookbook class, follow along as she shows you how to build an online shop.

New Shop Indie: baby gift guide

Land of Littles

With a baby of his own on the way, Big Cartel’s own customer support champ Andy Newman has an eye out for all the best infant accessories. Our latest gift guide is full of his favorite finds, and will also come in handy for your upcoming baby showers, birthdays, christenings, or to win your way to that “favorite uncle” (or grandma or godparent) title.

Grab something special for your favorite bundle of joy in our #shopindie gift guide »

Introducing Danyelle Rose

Danyelle Rose

Our support team continues to grow and get better and better, especially with the addition of Danyelle Rose, the newest member of our tight-knit crew.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Danyelle has spent most of her life involved with power tumbling. Over the past 10 years, she’s been practicing and training, as well as teaching and coaching ages 3-18. A seasoned coach, Danyelle is highly skilled at communicating and guiding anyone through a challenge whether it’s pulling a full twist on the floor or setting up a custom domain for an online shop.

Outside of the gym, she previously ran a website for music artists and fans and spent some time writing music and singing with friends. She’s a long-time passionate supporter of artists and relishes sharing other people’s creative energy and space. Basically, Danyelle is a perfect fit for Big Cartel and we’re certainly happy to have her!

Build an Online Shop class graduates

It’s been about 1 month since Big Cartel launched our first class on Skillshare. So far, over 5000 current and future shop owners enrolled to learn how to set up a great looking online store from seasoned designer and Big Cartel user Kate Miss.

Take a look at some of the shops that have updated their website using the tips from the Skillshare class:

Mockingbird Street

In business since 2013, Mockingbird Street has expertly refined the color palette for their products and their brand. They’ve used the same teal from their logo and a few of their fabric patterns as the highlight color on their site, so everything feels cohesive. They’ve used the Luna theme to let their clean product photography shine.

Design by Cianne

With fun and kid-friendly products like hand-knit teddy bears and pom-pom garlands, Design by Cianne smartly used a more casual, playful typeface in their shop and the Picklejuice theme for a little bit of flair. With a simple color scheme for the shop (mostly white and dark grey), the colorful logo stands out.

Yasmine Diaz

Yasmine Diaz’s bright photos and prints shine within the clean Luna shop theme. The typeface chosen for the site nicely compliments her logo, and the white, grey, and black shop colors keep your focus on the products.

To learn how to set up and design your shop, enroll in the free Skillshare class.