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Posted Oct 17, 2019 by Anastasia Prokofieva

10 Years with Ecwid: Pursuing a Passion and Growing a Business

As you’ve (maybe) already heard, this month Ecwid celebrates its 10th birthday! We’ve come a long way — from humble beginnings as a tiny e-commerce widget to a seriously impressive omnichannel e-commerce platform, supporting 10+ ways to sell online and helping over 1.5 million merchants begin their small business journeys.

To celebrate the big day together, we decided to share some of your stories — successes, challenges, and where your amazing ideas began. If you’d like to join the celebration by sharing your journey, shoot us a message at blog@ecwid.com!

This week, we present Hilary Jones, lady of The Lady and the Carpenter. Hilary shares the story of how she and her husband launch a successful woodworking business on Ecwid, and what she’s learned along the way.

Previously in the series:

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Hilary Jones, Lady & the Carpenter:

“Find the perfect product, sell millions, and live happily ever after. Sounded simple enough. But unsurprisingly, it doesn’t really work out that way. Any successful business has a story of beginnings — a beginning that in reality takes lots of hard work, research, diligence, sacrifice, and a little bit of luck to find the right niche.

Our bread and butter at Lady and the Carpenter is the clothespin. We sell high quality clothespins out of US sourced materials, and over the years, we’ve sold nearly 300,000 of them. Most people give me an odd look when I tell them we sell clothespins. They say something along the lines of, ‘No one hangs their clothes anymore! So how do you end up selling so many?’ But where some might see an obscure item, we saw potential.

Clothespins 2019 (2)

It all started in 2014 when we moved to a new house with a clothesline. I tried out the clothesline on a few larger items; it took about 12 clothespins to hang one comforter, and if my toddler touched it, it would snap off and fall in the grass. It was frustrating, to put it mildly. I started looking for quality clothespins online—thinking they would be easy enough to find—but in all my searching, I only found one company… and it had a waiting list! That got me thinking.

Making clothespins

My husband loved woodworking but pursuing a career in full-time woodworking while supporting a family had always seemed like a pipe dream. Seeing a need with some potential, I talked him into trying to make clothespins. We found a resource with basic information on making clothespin and tried it out. And wouldn’t you know it, they were wonderful!

Lady and Carpenter

Not knowing if it would even be successful, we established our business Lady and the Carpenter and branded our clothespins ‘Kevin’s Quality Clothespins.’ Kevin continued working full-time while making clothespins in his off-hours. Those first two years, we sold so many clothespins, there wasn’t enough time in the day to even consider making anything else. At some points, it was completely overwhelming.

Wooden clothespins

After those first two years, we made a huge decision. We took a leap of faith and Kevin became a full-time woodworker. That was two and a half years ago. Today, our store has over 70 products, including 3D wood art, cutting boards, French rolling pins, toys, cribbage boards, and more… But the humble clothespin is still our bread and butter. We’ve sold over 300,000 clothespins since we opened our shop, and it’s still going strong.

Clothespins set2

We’ve survived the early days of starting a business, but there’s still plenty of journeys left ahead of us. One of our next big goals is to find a few other products that sell as well online as our clothespins. But whatever happens, we’re excited to see how far we’ve come. I still remember how thrilled we were to get that first sample clothespin order.

What We’ve Learned Since Starting Our Business

Your product should fill a real need or want for your audience

To the customers who need our product, each clothespin is a treasure. Your product doesn’t need to meet everyone’s needs, as long as it’s just the right product for someone.

Find people who share your passion

At the beginning of our journey, we asked several bloggers who promote simple living to review our clothespins. We sent them free products, and several of them came through with reviews. Not only did that help us get our name out during our early days, but it also created some great backlinks to our then unknown store.

Talk to your customers

You may have a great idea, but don’t hold it too tightly. Talk to your customers. Find out what they want. What do they like about your product? What do they not? What else do they like related to your product? Kevin’s Quality Clothespins went through several design changes in response to our customer’s input.

We also have a couple of other products that were customer requests, like our large playing card holders.

Maple and Walnut large card holders

We designed the first one for a woman whose son had epilepsy; he had a hard time playing cards and needed more space for putting cards in the slots. Since then, it’s been added to our permanent product catalog.

Set long-term goals

It’s easy to be short-sighted when life gets hectic. Don’t be. Make long-term goals, post them where you can see them, and review them often. What do you want the business to look like in 5 years? 10 years? Adjust your goals as needed. Those goals help keep your vision alive, even when you’re struggling in the short-term.

Find technology to support your business

Whether it be Amazon, Instagram, or an online store, always make sure you’re staying connected with technology trends. Online marketplaces like Amazon will often update how they do things. Keep up with those changes and learn how they affect your sales. We switched to Ecwid because our old e-commerce provider wasn’t optimized for Google’s search engine. That’s vitally important in today’s online market. Ecwid solved our SEO problems and offers reliable customer service when we need it.

You won’t always be doing what you love most about the business

Accounting, building websites, learning about SEO… these aren’t things we love, but it comes with the territory. Those boring or uninteresting tasks give you the chance to do the tasks you really enjoy.

It isn’t always easy… but if you’re doing something you love, it’s worth it!

Owning a business isn’t always easy. If it was, everyone would do it. Equipment breaks, suppliers cause unforeseen delays, customers get cranky (cause no matter how amazing you are, you will never make everyone happy), and all the while, you’re still dealing with normal life. But ask yourself, ‘Is what I’m doing now better than what I was doing before?’ And if the answer is ‘yes,’ press on!

Whether you business is in its baby steps or well established, stick with it. If owning your own business was easy, everyone would do it. Put in the heavy time investment in order to risk success and when the time comes to make those leaps of faith. Be brave and pursue your passion.

Come join the adventure. Click to see how Lady and the Carpenter has grown.

About the author
Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.
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