Our good friend Kevin Powell has been developing FoxyCart websites and integrations since 2009. He has a small web development company based in Nashville, TN. We wanted to learn more about Kevin and why he continues to choose FoxyCart to meet his and his clients' e-commerce needs.
Hello! Could you tell us a little about yourself? Who are you? What’s your company? How’d you get started in web development or with your business? What types of work do you enjoy doing? What types of clients do you typically serve?
I’m a self-taught web developer that got my start in the music industry in Nashville, TN. I went to school to be a recording engineer, and moved to Nashville to take a job in that industry. As I watched that industry go through a lot of rough changes I decided that this web design hobby I had could probably become something more. Under The Bed Studios was originally a music production company, but has evolved into a 100% User Experience consulting and web development company. I serve a lot of FoxyCart customers as well as clients that are interested in unique, delightful and easy experiences for their users.
Please describe your experience with FoxyCart. How’d you find it? Why’d it appeal to you? What are your favorite features or aspects of it?
FoxyCart kind of found me. My friend Nick who runs ModerNash Furniture Supply wanted me to make a video tutorial for his ordering process. He sells IKEA furniture in Nashville and used to have users copy and paste information from ikea.com into his website order form so he would know what to pick up. I wasn’t satisfied with this process and I asked him if I could tweak it instead of making the video. As I dug into the code I found this e-commerce system he was using called FoxyCart. At first I tried to roll my own thing, but then I discovered the JSON-based version of FoxyCart and realized I could build anything I wanted on top of this platform. I’ve been refining the ModerNash ordering process ever since.
Did you have ecommerce experience prior to using FoxyCart?
A few things, yes. There’s your basic PayPal “custom” checkout which consists of a lame header image that has to be hosted on a secure server (not something your budget client typically wants to pay for). It works, but it’s not pretty, and it’s a pretty jarring experience for the user to jump from your beautiful site over to cold blue PayPal to pay. Then there was my brief attempt to join a team that was diving in with Magento. I’m pretty sure the developer manual was a million pages long, and required you to basically learn the Magento programming language in order to build something with their platform. Plus you’re tied to their system, their templates, and their way of doing things. I don’t like having my hands tied by a framework, so it really wasn’t for me.
Has FoxyCart helped you better serve your clients? Increase your revenues? Improved your overall quality of life? :)
Considering my ability to serve a lot of custom needs for FoxyCart clients, then yes I’d say it’s increased my revenues. They’re clients I wouldn’t have otherwise. Design shops that don’t want to sacrifice the integrity of their look and feel are always comforted when I tell them we can completely customize the e-commerce platform and their design will not be modified in any way. So that makes for a much easier sell. And then there’s the technology. I’d say not having to do another PayPal checkout page has definitely improved my quality of life. I was afraid to develop e-commerce solutions before FoxyCart.
Got any FoxyCart websites we can look at? What were your favorite parts of each? (We’ll insert screenshots of each, and add them to our featured sites.)
modernash.com - the bookmarklet shopping system that lets you shop on Ikea’s site. I’ve seen a few bookmarklet-based services pop up over the last few years, but nothing ever as involved and specific as this one. It’s perfect for ModerNash’s needs and it’s been a lot of fun to work on.
yallhaulit.com - My first real FoxyCart store! With product pages, category pages, basic add to cart, checkout and receipt functionality. It’s built on WordPress using the amazing FoxyShop plugin which made implementing this thing a breeze. Can’t say enough good things about FoxyShop.
wetheprinters.com/business-cards (Not live until the end of February) - These guys wanted a simple form-based add to cart that would let users choose from several different options to build a business card. I sold them on taking it to the next level. Why just choose options from a form when you can actually “see” your business card being built? That’s way more fun and engaging! It’s especially fun when seen with the CSS 3D transforms I added for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox 10. I have no idea how I would have done this without FoxyCart.
What has been your favorite FoxyCart project? Why?
The ModerNash system. Not only was I able to create an awesome public-facing ordering system, but there’s also a full admin suite of tools and analysis that’s built on top of the FoxyCart datafeed capabilities. I’m even automatically creating custom invoices using the Freshbooks API based on data that comes in from the FoxyCart datafeed. It’s a full software platform with FoxyCart powering it at the center. It’s very cool.
What would you say to other Developers/Designers/Merchants who are looking for an ecommerce solution?
If you want full creative control and no limit on the e-commerce experience you can create, then you want to go with FoxyCart. Partner with a solid developer that can catch or cast the vision you want, and then dream big. FoxyCart is like an e-commerce paintbrush. It’s the tool that creates the painting, but once the painting’s complete, you’ll never know it’s there. All you’ll be left with is an awesome e-commerce experience for your customers.