Since I co-founded Solid Cactus in 2001, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with hundreds of eCommerce store owners. Some have faded away, victims of competition or the economy, while others have weathered the storms and went on to become some of our nation’s largest etailers.
When I see them written up in trade magazines or featured on national television, I always feel a sense of pride knowing that at some point in their history, the Solid Cactus team contributed in some small way to their online success.
Each week, I publish an internal newsletter that goes out to our entire staff. Department managers contribute news items such as kudos, employee stories, events going on within their group, fun stuff that makes Cactus, well… Cactus! Another thing I include is a list of the week’s new store launches and redesigns.
One this week caught my eye. Napkins.com.
First thing I though of was, “Wow, that’s a great domain name, let me check out the site.”
As I clicked away, I saw it belonged to a long time Solid Cactus client who we’ve had the opportunity to work with for the past six years – PartyPail.com. Edward Hechter started his online venture after spending several years working for Solid Cactus’ parent company Web.com. He realized that owning his own business was something he wanted to do, but whatever he started had to be fun!
He and his wife Lisa opened their party supply and paper goods site and like many small business owners, filled orders from their garage before moving into larger quarters as their business grew. In Party Pail’s case, the company moved four times before settling into their current 11,000 square foot warehouse where 25+ employees pick, pack and ship nearly 10,000 orders a month.
As the company grew, so did the number of sites under the Party Pail umbrella. The growth they experienced caught the eye of paper goods manufacturer, Hoffmaster Group, and in 2012 Hoffmaster acquired the online empire Edward and Lisa started from their kitchen table.
Today, Edward’s vision guides the company’s eCommerce strategy as more online stores are added to the mix – the latest being Napkins.com.
After visiting the new site, I emailed Edward to congratulate him on the launch and to find out what was behind the niche site that sells disposable tableware to commercial clients. “We are seeking to create a B2B e-commerce site with a focus on meeting the needs of Foodservice, Restaurant, Catering, and Event Planning professionals. The paper goods and party business has tended to put its focus on selling product in “retail package” quantities, and they tend to merchandise products in a way that isn’t useful for corporate and business clients. We wanted to change that by creating a site that is easy to navigate, and has product merchandised in wholesale / trade quantities, organized the way these types of clients would want to see them,” according to Edward.
When it came to designing the site, Edward’s years of experience helped the Solid Cactus design team come up with a look and feel he felt would be beneficial for his customers while maintaining best practices. “We wanted to design a site where the user experience would work well on both desktop and mobile devices, and made it easy for customers to see all coordinating items within a product category, and purchase with the minimum number of keystrokes and mouse clicks / finger taps,” Edward said.
Napkins.com is the 10th major design project Edward has done with Solid Cactus and he’s not stopping there. “The entire team has been been exceptional to work with, and we have two more projects already signed and ready to work on with this great team.”
It’s stories like this that makes me proud of what we’ve built, knowing that with each new or redesigned online store we deliver, we’re leading the owner down the path of eCommerce success.
Scott Sanfilippo is Co-Founder and Brand Ambassador for Solid Cactus and has nearly two decades of eCommerce experience dating back to 1994 when he opened his first online store, TheFerretStore.com. Since then Scott has owned 39 online stores and has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs achieve their own online success.