I’m Evan Burford, aka The Shopify Guy, and the man behind Cooee Commerce.
I’m a graphic designer and art director with over 20 years’ experience building brands, both big and small.
I’m also a registered Shopify Partner with over 3 years’ experience as a Shopify set-up expert.
I make custom-designed Shopify online stores for Etsy sellers and other small business owners so they can grow their brands online and take their businesses to the next level.
My first encounter with Shopify was a several years ago...
A friend had run into a dead end trying to open an ecommerce site for her handmade jewelry business, whilst working with a Magento developer who was over-charging and under-delivering.
She had already paid him $5,000 and was nowhere near having a site she could open for business, nor any way of taking over the store herself.
She needed help.
I did some research into the pros and cons of the various ecommerce platforms.
I opened a Shopify free trial store, and I was immediately sold.
What first impressed me about Shopify was the simplicity of their platform - how easy and intuitive it was to use. As I built a new store from scratch, I also learnt how adaptable Shopify is, with thousands of customizable themes and powerful apps to meet every conceivable merchant need.
Within a couple of weeks, I had completed a functioning, custom-designed ecommerce site for my friend’s jewelry store, for much less than the Magento developer had already stolen from her.
Not long afterwards, I bumped into another friend who ran a very successful Etsy store selling handmade customized vintage clothing.
But on the day we met, she was very upset. She’d just received an email from Etsy, that announced suddenly and without warning: ETSY SHOP CLOSED
She’d spent several years building a following on Etsy, had many loyal customers, and was earning a healthy 5-figure return every year. And in the blink of an eye, it was all gone!
Apparently her store had received some complaints, and Etsy took these complaints seriously, even though they probably came from competitors with much to gain. And rumour has it that if your Etsy store receives 3 complaints, you're out!
It struck me that many, many Etsy shop owners are exposed in the same way, relying completely on Etsy for the survival and growth of their businesses. They have no other channel for their brand. No Plan B.
As a veteran of the advertising & design industries, I know a lot about the value of a brand. And what I see on Etsy is a lot of successful businesses that aren’t reinvesting in their own brands.
Etsy is a great place to get started in ecommerce. You can validate your products, work out your pricing, and gauge your ability to meet demand. Plus, you have an instant community of potential customers to tap into.
But as your sales grow, you must expand your online presence and take full control of your brand by investing in online store of your own, on a hosted ecommerce platform like Shopify.
Your customer base will expand beyond Etsy’s community to the whole of the web. You’ll get more traffic from search engines and social media, and more opportunities to market directly to your customers and potential customers.
It’s an opportunity to build your own brand name on your own website address.
Shopify is a complete solution for building an ecommerce business. It combines robust management tools, industry-leading hosting, powerful apps, and a thriving developer community into a fully-featured and flexible platform that grows with your business.
Now this doesn’t mean you should drop Etsy. Definitely not! You should continue doing what you are doing on Etsy, but simultaneously start working on your own Shopify online store.