Shop Hope's: Brick-and-mortar success expanded into a burst of eCommerce achievement.

About Our Partner

After years of sharing a passion for the fashion industry, Hope Kinsman and her daughter Kelsey opened a small boutique in St. Simons Island, GA. Their brick-and-mortar shop became an overnight success, and they decided to expand into eCommerce. Using a basic Shopify plan, they took their brand online and ShopHopes.com was born.

Again, Hope’s had an instant hit. They developed a wildly successful Instagram strategy that created tremendous site traffic. Within two years, they outgrew their Shopify setup. Hope and Kelsey realized they needed a more robust platform to support their rapid growth and booming sales. That’s when they came to Gauge for guidance. They were ready to channel their success into a stable long-term investment, and we were ready to help.

Project Details

  • Client On-site Project Kickoff
  • Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Design & Development
  • Magento Enterprise eCommerce
  • Integrated WordPress Blog
  • Data Migration from Shopify to Magento Enterprise
  • Joyent Managed Cloud Hosting
  • Consultation & Guidance for Hiring an eCommerce Director

Project Story

Hope’s is a home-grown fast fashion brand for young women. When their flash sale model led to exploding traffic, their business quickly outgrew their entry-level Shopify plan. They needed a reliable platform and a redesigned site to create a better user experience.

When Hope’s approached us, we hit the road to meet them at their St. Simon’s Island, GA headquarters. We were there to discover how to best meet their needs, solve their problems, and set them up with plenty of room for growth. To figure out how to do that, we looked at their operation as a whole and asked employees what worked and what didn’t. Using a professional eye, we analyzed how a new site could solve their problems and support their strengths. Then we determined which platform would be the best fit.

Challenges

Hope’s is a family business, and the Kinsman family had a lot of experience building success from nothing. But this created three distinct challenges for their eCommerce store.

The first was traffic load. The Hope’s team built a regular rhythm early with a wildly successful Instagram marketing plan. Two weekly flash sales caused huge traffic spikes. With 800,000 Instagram followers flooding to checkout, Shopify couldn’t keep up and orders were dropped. The second issue: A site that wasn’t mobile-friendly. Their target customer base often shops only via smartphone, but their mobile site was slow, buggy, and frustrating. The last issue is a common one for successful small businesses: Their business grew faster than their team did. Each family member was carrying a heavy workload. Exhaustion was setting in and they were getting overwhelmed. Not a model for sustainable growth.

Migration & New Design

To address the first two challenges, we recommended a move to Magento Enterprise. Hope and Kelsey made the switch and we walked their team through the entire process. Together we migrated all customer, order, and product data to the new platform. Then we created a custom mobile-friendly site design that’s easy to use on any device. Finally, we put it all together by developing a fully functional eCommerce storefront. With a robust and scalable hosting architecture, their new site can easily handle intense traffic spikes. No more dropped orders or frustrated shoppers.

Hiring an eCommerce Director

With the first two challenges solved, we focused on the third. Keeping Hope’s momentum and creating the long-term stability they craved would be impossible without regular site development and marketing strategy. The family also runs several other businesses, so they didn’t have time to do everything themselves. To us the solution was obvious: They needed an eCommerce & Operations Manager. So we helped them find one.

Drawing from our own experience, we collaborated with their team to build a position description. Then we guided them through the process of posting and marketing the job online. Once they had a pool of strong applicants, we conducted first-round interviews for them. We identified candidates with the savvy and skill to run their new site on an everyday basis. Then we handed the qualified candidates back to Hope’s so they could pick the best fit for their team. They made a great hire and have been building their business ever since.

At Gauge, we love truly partnering with our clients. Using out-of-the-box thinking to create business solutions together is an incredibly fulfilling experience. Our project with Hope’s is an excellent example of that partnership in action. They now have a stable platform and a team that will grow with them, so they can achieve long-term success and stability.

Key Results

Migrating Hopes to Magento gave them stability to power their heavy traffic flash sale model and allowed them to continue growth into the future. Since they didn’t have to worry about dropping orders or having downtime or system issues, business was able to be conducted more smoothly. This allowed them to focus on their strengths and continue providing great products to great customers.