Circuit Training

Last week, our design team did a little exercise: with the timer set, they simultaneously worked on four different illustrations. For each illustration, a single designer would add Type, Color, Line, or Image. Then the illustration would be taken over by another designer to work on another aspect. The result? A collaborative project with an unexpected end result.

Introducing Notes at Checkout

We're very excited to announce an update to our checkout process: Notes at Checkout. Shoppers can now leave a helpful note when placing an order in your shop. Whether it's a specific product customization, detailed shipping instructions, or just a supportive hello, fans now have a very clear way to communicate with store owners with every order. Notes are included with orders right in your admin, print to packing slips, and even import automatically from orders placed through PayPal!

Feel free to let your loyal customers know that notes are already available when checking out in your store, and are a great way to communicate little details to make their experience better.

So what do I need to do?

Nothing! The new notes feature is already added to the end of the seamless checkout experience, after the shopper fills in their information. (Really, head to your store now, add something to the cart, and check it out!)

For shops using PayPal at checkout, we've simply pulled the existing PayPal notes to seller and added them to orders in your admin. That's already in place as well, we've even pulled the notes from all your previous PayPal orders. Enjoy!

April 16th's downtime

Yesterday was a doozy. A lot of you had a really stressful day, (for those of you who are unaware, we had a real bummer of an outage) and we’re very sorry. While sorry doesn’t quite cut it, we want you to know exactly what happened.

At around 1 o’clock, 2 of our 3 database servers broke down. This immediately sent our engineers and support staff into a complete all-hands-on-deck fight to get things fixed, while trying desperately to keep you informed. Downtime is unfortunately an unavoidable part of doing business online, and we do our very best to make sure it’s a rare occurrence, but it still breaks our collective heart when it does happen.

We know how important that time was to you, missing out on possible sales, wondering what that looks like for your brand. Being artists ourselves, we feel that pain. More important, though, is the trust you have in us. We deal with your livelihood, or at very least, that important extra income you use to make your life a little bit better. That trust is very important to us and we’re deeply sorry for the downtime yesterday. We’ve got some techy answers for those of you who want the dirty details, but for the rest of you, know that with each of these issues, we learn volumes, tighten our ship, and become a closer and more efficient team.

That may sound a bit like a silver lining, but we’d actually like to propose another: you! Even in the midst of a hectic situation, which was obviously very frustrating, you came through with words of encouragement, charm, and even a little bit of humor to keep us going. You’re an amazing community and we’ll gladly take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your support.

In the span of 2.5 hours, we sent over 400 apology emails asking for patience, 158 tweets pointing to a live status page, and fully recovered 2 naughty database servers (who—we can assure you—went to bed without supper and are grounded the ENTIRE summer).

Recap: Rails Girls

We recently had the pleasure of gathering with over 120 enthusiastic women and 50 coaches for the first ever Rails Girls SLC. This event was very close to our hearts: Big Cartel is a Ruby app, built from scratch out of a drive to make something awesome with no expectations of what it would become (to read more on that, give this article from our founder a good read). It’s exciting for us to expose more people to a coding language that can open up so much possibility. If attendees decide to pursue a career in tech and start to even out the gender gap, even better.

Because this was such a special project, we needed the perfect venue. The Ladies Literary Club headquarters was constructed in 1877 to provide a home for the Ladies Literary Club, an organization created by women in Utah to provide opportunities to meet, share ideas, educate one another and inspire cultured debates. With a history like that, we knew we’d found the perfect spot for Rails Girls.

In addition to some solid one-on-one time with coaches learning the basics, attendees heard the incredibly likable Hannah Bottalla yell f*#k from the podium. They got a pep-talk from Susan Petersen, the mastermind behind Freshly Picked, and much-needed encouragement from Big Cartel developers Lee Jensen and Andy Borsz.

With such an overwhelming response to our first Rails Girls, we’re already cooking up some ideas for the next workshop. If you weren’t able to attend, we hope you’ll join us in the future.

Sign up now to be notified about our next Rails Girls workshop »

If you were one of the attendees or coaches, make sure and stay connected with your pals from the RG front lines by joining the Rails Girls SLC Google group »

Big Cartel is Heartbleed free

As you’ve likely heard in the news and social media, a major vulnerability, dubbed Heartbleed, was recently discovered in the technology that encrypts much of the data on the internet. Like many other companies, we took immediate action to fix the vulnerability in our own system.

We’re happy to report that Big Cartel is Heartbleed free.

Big Cartel doesn’t store any sensitive credit card information on our systems, we leave that to PayPal and Stripe. We also have no evidence or reports of malicious behavior, but we do encourage you to change your password just in case (in the Settings > Password section of your store admin).

If you’d like to learn more about the Heartbleed bug, visit heartbleed.com. If you have any other questions or concerns about your Big Cartel store, please let us know.

Ferocious Quarterly heads to Creative South

Ferocious Quarterly is a curated publication that collects illustrators, designers, short-fiction authors and written text. For this special workshop edition, our own Dan Christofferson, along with friends Dan Cassaro and Nate Utesch, took the show on the road, all the way to Weapons of Mass Creation in Cleveland.

The issue focused on a palindrome: Go hang a salami. I am a lasagna hog. Attendees divided into four chapters and played a game of telephone, alternating between letterers and illustrators to watched the phrase morph into things we could never imagine. Those chapters will be organized, cleaned up a bit and - coming soon- be presented as a limited-edition “workshop” issue available here: ferocious.bigcartel.com

Everyone had such a great time, that we decided we had to do it again. So tomorrow, the gang gets back together at Creative South. If you’re hanging out in Columbus, Georgia, stop by and say hi. We’re giving away half-hugs for free.

Mini-documentary with Saucesome

Watch the new buzz video now »

Meet Cory and Ryan, the guys behind Saucesome: a small company born when two traveling musicians bonded over Mexican food, and—finding that musical notes and flavors had quite a lot in common—partnered to craft the perfect hot sauce.

We’re completely humbled that after 8 years and 500 thousand stores, we’re still the right solution for pals like Cory Gray and Ryan Stively to follow a passion and try something new. We especially loved investigating their process, learning how they got started, and figuring out how to make their lives a little easier.

So sit back, grab a burrito, and hit play. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the hot sauce.

New Field Guide: Custom Domain

We’ve launched a new guide to help walk you through the wonderful world of custom URLs. A custom domain takes your brand from yourstore.bigcartel.com to yourstore.com, creates a professional first impression, and is one of the best ways to stake your claim on the internet.

Ready to get started? Our latest field guide will give you specific tips on where to purchase your new domain, and the simplest way to connect it to your Big Cartel shop. All that’s really left is to enjoy the new home that you’ve made for your business.

Read the new field guide now »

The Art Show: Episode 5

Listen to episode 5 now »

Passionate music-lovers that we are, it was only a matter of time before we sat down with a musician for some real talk on our podcast. For Episode 5, we invited Jonathan Meiburg, frontman and co-founder of the band Shearwater, to chat with us and he happily obliged. From extremely candid thoughts on the current state of the music industry, to suggestions on the best ways to actually support musicians you love, Meiburg clears up some common misconceptions surrounding what it means to consume and support music, as well as exist as a musician, in these modern times.

Updated Mobile Admin

The Big Cartel Mobile Admin keeps getting better. In addition to improving the navigation, we’ve added dashboard data, including numbers for Weekly and Daily Visitors.

To see the updated Mobile Admin in action, log in from any mobile device at manage.bigcartel.com. Pro Tip: Save the link as a shortcut on your home screen for faster access.