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When I was 12, I designed my first GeoCities website, “My Bruce Willis Fan Site.” In addition to its creative name, it featured lime green text on a black background and a gallery of movie screenshots that I spent weeks arranging and captioning. I even learned how to create a table in HTML so I could build a Bruce Willis filmography spreadsheet to catalogue movie titles and character names, not to mention which movies I’d seen and which ones I wasn’t yet allowed to see.

My Bruce Willis Fan Site
That's basically what it looked like.

Unfortunately, the MBWFS experience hasn’t proven very helpful as I’ve tried to dream up a visual identity for Freddie and Co. In fact, the site design was one of the most intimidating things about launching this project. I knew I wanted to try to do it myself, but I also knew that I had no idea how to do it myself. Most people who are just getting started in e-commerce can’t afford to hire a designer or developer until they make a little bit of cash, so I wanted to keep my experience authentic by DIY-ing the site with a free Shopify template.

Tools like Shopify have free themes and handy editors that make it easy to create beautiful online stores, but I still worried about my site looking scattered and unprofessional.

There were quite a few moments where I found myself getting caught up in tiny details and Googling things like, “Shopify theme why does my blog say news help me.” Eventually, you can find the answers, but the digging can be frustrating. I also knew we needed to get product orders in soon, so we had to have some sort of logo, and quick. I knew I wouldn’t be able to create anything perfect, so I decided to play that up and make it intentionally imperfect. Who can judge you when you set the bar so low?!

Meg writing the logo

Even picking out colors — which was the most fun part — kinda left me feeling like one of those “I-Have-No-Idea-What-I’m-Doing” dogs.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

I asked Jane, one of our (award-winning) designers at MailChimp, to help, and she ended up doing much more. She came up with some great ideas for photography and chose a different store template that let that photography shine. She also made a few small tweaks to the template code to beautify some content that I’d been struggling to death with. She did things that would have taken me days of Googling and trial and error to make half as much progress.

We’re still sticking with a free theme and saving any bigger changes and customizations for later, but having someone with a different perspective come in to help really made the site better.

I wish I could show it to you now! But we have pictures of the socks all over the place, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Speaking of opening, sign up here to subscribe to Freddie and Co.’s newsletter. We’ll announce the store opening and share discount codes and product updates soon. I’m learning all about how to use MailChimp, and growing your list is the first step, right?

😉

-meg 3

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