C/C: What was something you learned while working with us?
Conni: I learned that the key word is working “with” C/C. Creating something so important for an ecommerce business, I needed to have someone I could ask questions to and feel confident that the answers were in the best interest of my company and not in the best interest of C/C. I never had any doubts that they always kept what was best for STL at the forefront.
C/C: What were your goals for your new ecommerce site, and do you feel you’ve made progress towards those goals?
Conni: These were our main goals, and I absolutely feel we’ve made progress in every area:
• Bring traffic to our shop and web site
• Provide the visitors with an easy and personal experience
• Go beyond blogging
• Increase sales and overall awareness of our mission
• Easy to maintain and manage from the back end for teen staff
We have also been able to keep our business alive in a pandemic, expand our audience and attract new customers, and learn so, so much about running a business.
C/C: In what ways has having an ecommerce site changed your business?
Conni: It took our business from being just a simple awareness campaign to a company that had a product with a purpose, spreading our mission to a much greater distance.
Having an ecommerce shop challenged the teen staff—as well as myself as the founder—to a new level of needed skills. One of the reasons I created STL was to help teens realize that their talents, ideas, and energy have value. I want teens to believe in themselves and build confidence by trying new things needed to run a business.
Having a shop has increased the skill set of the teens in areas of marketing, photography, making promo videos, maintaining a website, public speaking, and creating new Simple Boxes every two months. So the shop not only increased our sales, it increased our knowledge base in how to run a small business! We have so much more to learn, but boy have we already learned more than we ever thought possible once we started the ecommerce shop.
Our most successful campaign to date was Dec 2020, when we created a Military Mailer for teens (ages 18-21) in the military during the holiday season. STL has a give-back charity for teens in foster care, and the extreme success of the Military Mailer enabled us to donate a portion of our profits to this cause.
Despite COVID and virtual school for the teen staff since March, we were able to continue our ecommerce business and still follow all the social distancing rules. We just had to revert to Zoom for a while! People are shopping online more than ever now. Had we not had an ecommerce shop, our product, the Simple Teen Box, that originally relied on vendor shows, would have become dead in the water. With the shop we were able to give the community an opportunity to purchase with a purpose this season for our young active military, and we were able to give back to teens in foster care because of that success. It was so much more than we could’ve expected in our first six months of having our new site, and we’re so grateful for our relationship with C/C that made it all possible!