Humboldt Soap Company, a Eureka-based maker of artisanal soaps and skin care products, came to EvenVision with a problem, one that many small businesses are familiar with. They needed a great website, one that was visually attractive, easy to navigate, and had fully integrated e-commerce functionality. But they didn’t have a lot of money to spend having such a website built. They had tried several times to create a website on their own, but were unable to achieve a level of quality that reflected the spirit and values of their brand. By the time EvenVision took on the project, the company had exhausted most of the limited resources it had to spend on web development, and time was running out to get a new site launched
Build an beautiful website that reflects not only the beauty of the product but also captures the hand-crafted element that diversifies HSC. Furthermore, secure effective e-commerce features without traditional merchant/payment systems, while dealing with a limited budget and a 3-week timeline.
By altering our traditional processes we were able to focus on functionality followed by form, and were able to run e-commerce through a PayPal account system to bypass traditional merchant systems and payment gateways. These changes to our methods greatly decreased the required hours and brought the project in under their limited budget.
With the trust of HSC we were able create a fully functional e-commerce site from the ground up within a 3 week timeframe and also create a beautiful experience for visitors looking for top quality soaps.
When creating Humboldt Soap Company’s new site, EvenVision had to achieve the following goals:
- Build a fully functional website that would be attractive to new customers, and that reflected the beauty and visual appeal of Humboldt Soap Company’s hand-crafted soaps.
- Create secure and effective e-commerce features without having to use a traditional merchant account and payment gateway.
- Stay within the limited budget and very tight timeframe.
Creating the architecture for the site presented several challenges that needed to be overcome. Because the client had only a limited budget to work with, EvenVision decided to alter its normal web design process to keep the project under cost. Under normal circumstances, our web design process involves creating several design mockups for the client to choose from. In order to reduce labor costs and complete the project on time (the client needed the site ready to go in 3 weeks), this step was skipped. Altering our normal procedures this brought the cost down, but it also required the client place their trust in us to get it right the first time, and that our designers wouldn’t be able to rely on our normal process of trial and error to make sure the work was meeting the client’s expectations.
When creating the site, our primary focus was making sure it was fully functional and easy to use. Aesthetic considerations were important, but the most pressing issue was making sure that the site was easy to navigate. Building the site also required creating a fully functional e-commerce framework, complete with divisions between wholesale and retail accounts, applied discounts, and accurate shipping parameters. This step required a lot of background work, including integrating the site’s payment system with an existing PayPal account, rather than setting up a traditional merchant system and payment gateway (which would have cost the client more money). When the site was finally completed, it was also important that it be constructed in a way that would allow us to easily expand up on its existing framework in the future.
Once the functional aspects of the site were created, the graphic design came next. One of the most important things that the client needed their new website to do was entice new customers to try their products without seeing them in person first. Soaps and skin care products is a crowded market, with lots of options for consumers to choose from. As such, the site needed to highlight the values that set the client’s products apart. By focusing on the natural ingredients and the client’s expertise as a certified massage therapist, the completed site emphasizes the artisanal quality of Humboldt Soap Company’s products, while also making sure to mention that the prices are affordable for the average consumer. Like the rest of the project, graphic design resources were limited. Using just the client’s homemade photographs and royalty free images, we had to create a professional-looking design that accurately reflected the company’s image, and that would attract new users with its aesthetic quality.
This project presented several unique challenges that required creative solutions to overcome. Thankfully, our designers had a strong sense of vision as to the kind of site the client deserved, and the skill to create a beautiful yet simple layout that successfully captured the elegance of the client’s brand, and that functions as a completed e-commerce site even without the standard payment gateway. The client’s trust in our abilities was vindicated, despite the potentially difficult circumstances. The new site has been launched, and we look forward to monitoring the site’s performance and working with Humboldt Soap Company to make further improvements in the future.
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Welcome to Humboldt Soap Company