Failed Swag Store Concept

This morning I had a crazy thought (which is not that rare of an occurrence). For a long time it has bothered me that the swag store is hosted on Shopify and doesn’t have a neat domain. The current set up is for practical reasons (our fulfillment company uses Shopify) but it still bothers me.

Today I came up with an idea that could have brought the Swag Store back to WordPress (well, sort of) pretty easily. So WordPress.com has some ecommerce options, one of them being a Shopify integration. Since I knew that Hello Merch (our fulfillment company) uses Shopify I thought I had something here.

My first hurdle was finding the right theme. After talking with Kathryn I found out that some themes have a grid page type which would make creating the frontpage product grid much easier. So I ultimately went with Forefront, which I really like.

I then ran into a snag that I couldn’t resolve. Everything was working and looking pretty good. The way the Shopify embeds work is you can point the “Buy Now” button to either the checkout page or the cart page. If you point it to the checkout page then the customer can only buy one thing and they can’t change the quantity. If you point it to the cart page they can add more items but only from hellomerch.com, you can’t press the back button and add more items from the new store concept. So it works as it was designed for, as an option to push people towards your main site or allow them to purchase one item quickly. The problem was that wasn’t how I wanted to use it.

Since limiting customers to purchasing one item is lame I abandoned the concept. Its bums me out but I learned something new today which is always a good thing.

If you a curious about it, you can check it out here.

constraints breed creativity

During this year’s grand meetup I heard a flash talk that featured one of my favorite artists Jack White. In the talk it was mentioned that Jack White believes that constraints breed creativity. I found this concept to be pretty interesting:

I’ll admit that sometimes I feel that while my swag is pretty good I could make it better if I had increased financial/design support. What if I didn’t have to rely on whatever disposable income I had that month or the few minutes of time I could beg or borrow from a designer. Could you imagine how much better my swag could be?

But now that I think about it, the constraints that I’m working under have actually made my swag better. I’m driven to create things that no one has ever seen before. A drive born partly out a desire to show people what I’m capable of with limited resources, hard work, and a bit of creativity. I have to be smarter about what I try. I need to design twice and print once. I’ve had things I wanted to make that took skills I didn’t have, so I learned those skills. So all in all I guess constraints aren’t that bad.