Product info now in exported orders

Good news! We’ve improved our order exporting feature to now include product information in each order. Because the number of products in each order can vary, it’s a little tricky to include this much detail in one column of a CSV file.

Our solution was to create a special format for our new Items column that contains all of the product names, quantities, and totals. This should make it a cinch to use this feature for order fulfillment. Learn more in our help area »

Updated theme: Snakebite 2.0

We’ve updated our Snakebite theme (with the help of our friends at Fuzzco) to include a customizable slideshow on the homepage.

You can now showcase your products with high-resolution images — and they’ll look great on mobile devices too. Upload large, beautiful photos to call attention to an existing product, or use the gallery as a perfect spot to introduce customers to new products in your shop. As always, great photography is key. Need photography tips? Our field guide can help.

When you select this theme, you’ll see we’re also showing our new default images feature (theme designers, rejoice!). These images were created by Fuzzco to really show off the theme’s potential and give you great ideas for how to organize a good color hierarchy in your theme. Just replace the logo and slideshow images in the theme settings to make it completely your own.

*Note: Those of you currently using a customized version of Snakebite will need to revert to the theme’s defaults to take advantage of the new slideshow feature. Make sure you take note of any existing customizations as you’ll need to reapply them once you’ve updated the theme.

New Field Guide: Pricing

Our new Field Guide is all about pricing. There’s a particular science around pricing, and to get that formula just right can be sorta tricky. We’re here to help. From organizing expenses, to making sure you’re paying yourself, we’ll help you set a price that will help to keep you from relying on sales to get orders, or raising prices after launch to cover unexpected costs.

In this new guide, we’ve revealed the alchemy behind making expenses and profit add up to a fair and consistent price for both wholesale and retail. Grab a calculator and a cup of coffee, and read the new field guide now »

Blake Walters, Javascript & CSS Wizard

Please state your name and occupation at Big Cartel.

My name is Blake Walters and I am a Big Cartel Software Engineer, specializing in front-end development.

How long have you been with Big Cartel?

It’s been eighteen months now, which somehow seems much shorter and much longer than it feels.

Out of the all the projects you’ve worked on, what has been your favorite?

That’s a tough one since there have been a ton of really great things that I’ve gotten to build since starting. If I had to narrow it down to just one though it would probably be the Big Cartel Shop. Starting off the team was very focused and had a very clear vision of what they wanted the storefront to look and feel like, but there was a lot of freedom in how it was executed. We had amazing product photography and a gorgeous design and when it was handed off I pretty much had free reign when it came to animations and transitions and implementation details. Looking back it’s nice to see the little touches that I got to leave my mark on.

It was also incredibly eye opening since, in that instant, we became one of our own customers. We used Dugway to build our custom shop theme and manage the store right in the admin - using inventory tracking and shipping status. And Shop was our testing ground for the new seamless checkout system. It was nice to be able to see things from that perspective: what worked well and what some of the pain points were, and I think it’s really informed some of our design and development decisions since.

I might just be remembering things through rose-colored glasses though. Dan did bribe me with a case of Red Bull to get the theme build finished.

How do you spend your time outside of Big Cartel?

Most of the time you’d find me sitting on the couch with a controller in my hand. Video games have always been a huge part of my life - I think early on it was a coping mechanism from being a gawky, nerdy, socially inept kid but these days it’s just about being immersed in stories and details and gameplay mechanics and competition.

Other than that I like to cook, love cars (driving and oogling more so than fixing), and a fair amount of time these days is dedicated to planning my wedding with my amazing fiancé, Erin.

Can you share a couple of your favorite Big Cartel stores?

I’ve loved Olly Moss’s work for years and was so stoked that he sold his work through Big Cartel. Sadly, working here hasn’t given me a leg up on getting any of those limited edition prints, though.

I’m also a huge fan of Ed + Danielle. Having loved The Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy games, being able to purchase hand crafted plushes, figurines, prints, and even limited edition collectibles right from one of the creator’s and his super talented wife is amazing.

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.