October 7, 2021
Today’s show is for everyone out there wanting to or currently starting or running a product shop. We had the pleasure of chatting with Kait Fonteno, the Founder and Lead Designer and Developer at Kait Studio where she works with women from all over the world to launch and scale their digital brands. Kait began her agency 7 years ago after leaving a career in retail with a laptop, a baby on her lap, and a goal to help women launch online without unnecessary stress.
Over the last seven years, she and her team have launched over 100 websites on Shopify, Showit, and WordPress as well as numerous courses for clients on Kajabi.
Kait specializes in building out custom product shops on Shopify and we dive in deep with her on the topic of all things product shops and Shopify.
Today’s episode is a GOLD MINE for our product and digital product shop owners. Whether you’re brand new to the idea of a product shop or you’ve been in it for years and are ready to take your shop to the next level, Kait covers everything you need to know about creating, launching, and scaling a shop that stands out and SELLS.
If you’re ready to learn from the inside woman on all things Shopify and product shops, what to know when first starting, should you hire a custom designer right off the bat, should you start with physical or digital products, what even is the difference? What pages or sections should you even have in your online shop? This episode is full of so much information you’ll probably need to rewind a few times to take notes.
Living in the outskirts of Dallas with her almost seven-year-old little boy, husband, and baby number two on the way. They are a traveling family, with her husband in the airlines has had them moving a lot, which is so much of Kait’s story with how she got here.
Kait owns a web design and designing studio where they primarily work with eCommerce businesses, specifically with Shopify. Starting in college she wanted to be a marine biologist because she loved the ocean. Very random and far away from what she does now, but on the first day of college she met who is now her husband, and her journey instantly changed. Dreams started to change and unsure what she wanted to do with her degree, she ended up graduating and going into marketing thinking advertising was where she wanted to head. Then realizing the market was horrific post-graduation, Kait ended up going into retail. Going from sales to management to then assistant buying and taking over social media, she fell in love with it.
To Kait in retail is driven by passion and to be with customers one on one and meet them where they are at. Once Kait had her son she knew she couldn’t continue working 60-70 hour work weeks. She then decided to start an online boutique just for fun to keep busy. That ended up involving a plethora of shop owners reaching out and asking who did her website, who does her social media, and to Kait, she had done those things for so long and had self-taught herself how to code. So when she started getting emails about who did it all, she realized there was a need.
It depends on what kind of shop you are trying to launch and where your budget is with that. If you’re trying to launch some significant custom design site, that can take up to three months, but that is also not including your products. You want to take the time to figure out what kind of products you want on your site, what you want your site to be like, who you are trying to market to all before you reach out to a team.
If you are someone who has a lower budget and just wants to get it up and running, it can take a few weeks. The biggest part of that is getting your products in your hands and getting the photographs and content ready to go. It varies.
Before you dive in deep, get an idea of what you are going to be selling. Get very specific. Get very clear on your audience and on your goals and timeline. That can make a significant difference when you are launching.
One is when you have a really slow website. If that is the case you can combat it a bit, maybe your images need to be resized and you can try to make it work. A slow website and where no one is completing checkout. If you had a great launch and then all of sudden it’s starting to go downhill and you’re getting emails that your website is down. Or issues with your checkout area. That is when you want to reach out to someone.
It doesn’t have to be a full makeover but when you know what those issues are you’re allowing a designer/developer to hone in on them and work with you step by step to fix them.
It depends on your audience and niche and even if you don’t have an audience yet, who you want your audience to be. If there is a possibility to start an ebook or presets, go for it because that is something that doesn’t take a ton of investment. It can continuously sell forever and that could potentially fund your physical products later. If there is any sort of way you can launch an eBook no matter how low the offer is, go for it.
The advantage of going digital-first is there is no investment. Even if there is it’s tiny, it’s probably your Shopify subscription and maybe a designer. But you can go on a million different platforms create an eBook and be done with it and launch the next day.
There is a success from both ends. It depends on what works best for you and how much you are willing to invest upfront.
So often people’s main fear is just showing up because there is this disconnect between having a product and being a person but you’re not your product. A lot of people don’t want to show up on social media, so they make the mistake of here is the product, and here is where you can purchase it.
First and foremost the best way to stand out in today’s market is to let people in and let them know your story. That does not mean you have to tell them all your dirty details, but let them know who you are, what you’re about, and the passion behind what you stand for in your business. It makes customers what to buy from you because they value what you value or believe in what you believe in or they support you because they feel like they already know you from social media. You have to show up as yourself. That could be showcasing your product and talking about it on IG stories, or showing yourself in reels once in a while with your products. Making your name known with your brand gives it that personal feel.
The first thing is to get clear on what products you are selling. Even if it is a category of products. One thing Kait does notice is if someone jumps in and their goal is to make more money than anything else, they start to bounce all over the place. It gets hard for people to understand what they are coming to you for and difficult for you to sell one type of product because it is all over the place. Get clear on what you are offering and try to stick to that as closely as possible. It doesn’t have to be a ton of products, you can launch one or two products and do amazing because you can get clear on why it is amazing.
Next would be to think of a name and get your business information taken care of for your taxes. Buy the domains immediately. The worst and biggest pain is to start working on your business and get everything prepared on the website and you go to buy the domain and it’s not available. Your business name you can’t even put on your URL and that is a pain and headache and can sometimes cost thousands of dollars to buy it from whoever owns it. Get your business taxes are taken care of, your name, and then buy the domains and purchase immediately.
Then go into Shopify and set up a free trial. Be realistic about what you actually need on your website. Think about your audience and what they need.
Trust others and trust me. First and foremost I was so nervous to let people in at the beginning and did everything myself. I didn’t grow a team until year 4 and I was so overwhelmed, so busy, took time away from my family, and was putting too much into it all it. It was hard for me to let go, but once I learned to trust other people with my baby (her business) I realized it’s okay to get help. It’s okay to have people jump on the team with you.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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