Vanessa starts a social experiment

For her Employee Art Grant, our trusty office manager, Vanessa decided to embark on a social experiment, by leaving letters for strangers and asking them to respond in some way, either by answering questions included in the envelope or sending along whatever they’d like. So far, she’s distributed letters in Utah, Kansas, New York and mailed letters to friends and strangers to help distribute in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, and California.

Read people’s written responses, see where letters have been left and follow along as the project unfolds here and here. And, hey, if you want to get involved, shoot her an email.

Welcome Andy Borsz

The Big Cartel family continues to grow as we’ve just added Andy Borsz to our team of developers. A studious practitioner of agile software development, we’re beyond excited to be adding his expertise to our dev team.

As a bona fide nomad, Andy grew up all over. He called Brooklyn home for eight years and just relocated to Chicago by way of Jacksonville during the Polar Vortex of 2014. An experimental music lover and musician, you can find him destroying the sound of his guitar in the duo Slasher Risk, or revamping and readying his bus conversion for international touring adventures.

Let’s all give Andy the warmest of welcomes, as we couldn’t be happier to have him joining our ranks.

Rails Girls course in Salt Lake City

On March 21st, Rails Girls is coming to SLC by way of Big Cartel with help from some of our favorite friends, Freshly Picked, and CityHome Collective. Getting more women into programming is a big deal to us - and with this free course, we take a big step to make that happen. So ladies, no matter your skill level, you can come to this fun course and leave with your own bonafide web app that YOU built - from the ground up - with your own beautiful brain.

The course is totally free, you just need a laptop and, well, you! Space is limited so apply now to be considered for Rails Girls SLC.

For full information and to apply, visit railsgirls.com/slc

Welcome Chris Brozek

We’re shifting and shaking up our Support Fort a bit, but it’s taking nice shape with the latest addition to our Big Cartel team, Chris Brozek. Chris has a long history of being the most patient soul in the world, so he can tenderly handle just about any issue you send his way.

His story is a familiar one ‘round these parts. Chris is married to our own Anna, and the two of them owned a record shop in SLC that once employed our office manager, Vanessa. So you could say his addition to the BC team is a reunion of sorts, and we’re happy to now be the home of this indie-loving trifecta. Be sure to contact Chris if you need any help and welcome him to the team while you’re at it.

Big Cartel art class with CUAC

Our last art class with CUAC was such an adorable success that we’re doing it again. If you’re in Utah and the parent of a lil’ one, mark your calendar for January 28 at 4pm. We’ll be at the Salt Lake City Main Library teaching, playing, and laughing with kids (ages 3-12) while learning about icons and symbols. Join us »

2013 recap

We took a little extra time to crunch the numbers, and turns out 2013 was a pretty great year for Big Cartel shops. Keeping it short, sweet, and sexy - our year end recap shows off how incredibly badass all 450,000+ of our stores really are. We love you all!

View our 2013 recap »

Checkout 1.1 iPhone update

Selling in person requires some finesse - and the right tools. With Big Cartel Checkout you are automatically hooked up with your online store to sell in person, take cash or credit card payments, all in sync with your inventory and stats. So today we are pretty stoked for our update to add some more tools to your in-person sales.

Discounts - We wanted to it as simple as possible to offer discounts. Now you can add a discount to any order in seconds and see it update the total in real time. Perfect for when you’re having a sale or when an old friend comes by to make a purchase.

Tax - When you’re selling in person at a market or retail shop or event - municipalities almost always require you charge sales tax. So we’ve made tax a setting in the options panel of Checkout (the gear icon) to help you collect exactly what you need. Set the tax percentage once and it will be added to all subsequent orders. You can always head back to the options panel and change it to reflect any new rates.

Credit Card Identification - Now when you start typing in a customer’s credit card number, Big Cartel Checkout auto-detects what kind of card it is. We even show you an icon of the card to make sure things are working properly.

In addition to these three features we’ve packed in a slew of stability and speed enhancements to help you stay ahead of the curve. As always, if you have any feedback please drop us a note in the app. (Settings > Email a question)

Manage your orders on the go

We’re super pumped to introduce you to the first piece of a completely mobile admin, starting with mobile order management. This is just the beginning, but while we’re building the rest - we want you to put mobile order access to good use.

We built this completely from the ground up. We tossed out everything and started fresh so we could run the latest technologies - including HTML5, CSS 3, and Rails 4. Designed specifically for your smartphone, everything is mobile-optimized. Pages load faster and are easier to use with the stubbiest of fingers on any phone or tablet. This means we simplified our design and focused on your user experience - so you can get your work done faster and easier. This new system allows us to build new features and update the admin faster and more frequently. Hooray!

Like we said, we’re just getting started. We’re already hard at work on the next big thing, and we’ll drop that as soon as it’s ready for you. So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone and log in to your shop at manage.bigcartel.com to start managing your orders now.

Winter Warmup: party in SLC

Guys, it’s really cold in Salt Lake City. But the air has finally cleared out a bit, Sundance Film Festival starts this week, and hell, it’s an exciting new year. So we’re having all of our friends over for a party. If you’re a local, or will be in town for the festival, stop by BCHQ on Saturday for live music, drinks, food, and good times.

The party is totally free, and open to anyone, but you do need to RSVP. That’s not too much to ask, right?!

Where: Big Cartel HQ - enter through 252 S Edison St
When: Saturday, January 18
7pm to whenever - Party time! Music starts at 8.
RSVP »

Make your video, enter our contest

We’re so excited to see what behind the scenes videos hit our inbox for our Store From Scratch Contest. We know that making an awesome video might not be on your resume, or in your budget. But what you don’t know is that our example video was shot entirely on an iPhone, edited using iMovie, used free public domain music, and was completed in just about a week. So no matter your budget or skill level, we’re sure you can do this. If you’re still nervous about diving deep into video making, check out our tips below.

  1. Shoot more than you need. Once you sit down to edit you want all the shots and more at your fingertips.
  2. Use what you’ve got. Our example video was shot entirely on an iPhone 5 and edited completely in iMovie.
  3. Titles add a nice professional touch. Overlayed titles in our example movie were created using Photoshop. The titles were saved out as transparent pngs at full size (Typically 1920px X 1080px or 1280px X 720px) and placed in iMovie as “cutaways.” The transparency can be adjusted and effects can be added in iMovie.
  4. Be clever with your edits. Have your music chosen and ready to go. Then start playing with edits timed to the beats and transitions in the soundtrack. Use those cues to help you find perfect spots to change from one shot to another.

Above all, we’re looking for a store that showcases their process in a fresh way. This video should be a tool you can use to promote your store and give your fans a taste of how your operate. Create a video that really showcases your brand and the personality behind it. And good luck!

Enter the Store From Scratch Contest now »