I have a shop?

Solve Hard Problems with Good People

So, as a web developer, I’ve done a lot of different types of work – small apps, big apps, mobile apps, websites, pixel-perfect CSS, adequate CSS, forms (so many forms), emails, etc. But the big thing I’ve never really even considered is e-commerce.

Until now?

Decided that I wanted to see what it’s like to try setting up a small online store, and since the whole purpose of this website is to try things and talk about them, I present to you my shop. It sells only two stickers and I’m sorry the shipping is so expensive… But this is really about me doing the experiment and less about anyone actually buying the stickers.

But if you like the ‘designs’ (I am not a designer…) and would like to purchase, that’s fun too. Or if you see the designs and say, hmm, that would make a fun t-shirt or hat or whatnot, let me know and I’ll look into adding more things to the store.

So, how did I build a very bare-bones store? I mean there’s definitely more bare-bones ways to do it, but the thing with the setup I’m about to explain is that it’s more extendable than some other store front that’s setup by a company. So here we go:

I’m using WooCommerce plugin to handle the WordPress side of things. My theme has no extra WooCommerce support, so the theming etc of the shop bits is super basic but lots of room for growth.

Then, I have a Square account to handle the credit card processing. The main thing I like about this is there’s no fees unless someone buys something. And also, there’s a Square/WooCommerce integration plugin so I just had to connect the two (and do some weird config steps that probably would have been easier if I’d fully read the docs).

And for the actual products, I’m using Printful for the manufacturing and shipping. I think if I were to more seriously have a sticker shop, I’d buy in bulk and mail myself, but that’s not what this is about. Again, there’s no costs for me until someone buys something, so it’s low risk.

Also, there’s a Printful/WooCommerce integration so I can easily sync the products and the orders. Kind of overkill for just stickers, but makes this whole process super easy to expand and extend.

So, yes, I know I started this by saying as a web dev I’d never done e-commerce, and as you’ll see above, I still haven’t really done e-commerce as a dev. Unless you expand web dev to include someone who makes things on the internet. In this case, I just used tools other than code. Although as I work on theming the WooCommerce bits, there will be some code involved, I’m sure.

So, about the designs – when I started brainstorming, I looked through my twitter bookmarks, phone notes, etc. for fun quotes that might make cute stickers. I am not a designer/illustrator/visual artist, so something text-based felt more manageable. The quote comes from a Hank Green tweet:

So I scribbled that out and then started sketching very loose ideas that might go with it, and that’s how I came up with the question mark heart.

Pulled out my rusty copy of Sketch and played around for an embarrassingly long time to make what I hope are some fairly cute stickers. I ordered them, and am excited to stick them on my laptop or water bottle.

Oh, and if you’re interested, any profits I make from the store will be donated to the Maternal Health Project in Sierra Leone that Hank and John Green are fundraising for. I figure if I’m going to borrow/steal someone’s tweet, that’s basically the least I can do….

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