Startup - Our Tech Stack

Startup - Our Tech Stack

What Technologies are used to create Slappy Wares products?

This has been a learning experience but also has yielded great traction in a short amount of time. We haven't had to build this from scratch and have customized things a bit with Shopify template dev.

  • We use Printful for our on-demand printing and fulfillment. So far, they've been reliable and easy to integrate with our e-commerce store. Zero cost until we sell a product. Pretty good deal. 
  • Adobe products (primarily illustrator and Photoshop) are what we use to create our clever T-Shirts. 
  • Shutterstock - we could easily create every single piece of artwork and typefaces from scratch but the time involved to do that would severely slow our time to get products to market. We often grab stock art in vector format and customize it for our purposes. Pinterest doesn't like this and flagged us for it. 
  • Shopify is what we use for the online store front and it's been pretty great to set up with a variety of one click apps and add-ons. We pay a low monthly fee that you can see in their pricing. The Analytics has also been very useful to show trends, traffic sources and top moving products.
  • ETSY - getting set up took over a month. It's a long story. We're currently populating the store with products via Printful. It's another storefront similar to Shopify as an e-commerce platform but better because it's also a marketplace. To add a product listing costs .20¢ which is cheap and likely keeps the scammers / bots a little at bay.
  • Facebook - has also given us a storefront and marketing avenues $0 to start and paid ads as we see fit to drive eyeballs for item, collection and site traffic.
  • Google - has also given us a parallel marketplace and an avenue for marketing to drive traffic as well. There was a bit of a hurdle here for mapping Shopify products to Google but their tech support helped me resolve issues.

How much development was needed? Did you have to write tons of code to get this up and running? 

I'm a developer who has built and customized e-commerce platforms as well as social media platforms. Other than a little template modification and custom CSS for Shopify this has been low to no development needed. Most integrations simply require a point and click.

How hard was it to get approved to sell on these platforms? I've heard stories.

It's a mixed bag with quick wins and long slogs. Printful, Shopify and Facebook were the easiest to get up and running. The only headache has been getting validated on ETSY, Pinterest and Instagram to sell.

ETSY's rejections were due to account validation automation failures that took a ridiculous 6 weeks to resolve but their customer support hung in there.

Instagram and Pinterest's rejections seem to be centered around treating us as a combination of low rent hacky third world dealers and/or bots pushing low rent junk. We currently do NOT have store presence in those market places. 

Google and Facebook's hurdles were around using Shopify tools to export/map our product fields to their APIs.

Is there any other technical advice you'd give?

I hit on our trials and tribulations. Overall there's a plethora of tools that allow someone to get a storefront up and running that doesn't require a load of up front investment, investment in inventory or fulfillment infrastructure. This is a piece of the puzzle but letting the world know you even exist and what products you have is the next piece I'll write about in our next blog. There are torrents of information out there and it's hard to be seen.

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