[Interview] Hippie Chick Design: An inspiring story to empower women entrepreneurs
It has been almost a year now since we first had a chance to interview with our partner. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything, including online shopping behaviors, and accelerated the shift towards a more digital world.
On October 9th, 2020, we conducted an online interview with Lisa Slavik - Founder of Hippie Chick Design. You might want to know more about her inspiring success story as a woman entrepreneur, and how Lisa has overcome obstacles and diversity to get to where she is now. As a trusted Shopify Expert, Lisa also had some advice to other entrepreneurs to be successful on the Shopify Platform.
Can you tell me more about yourself and your current business on Shopify platform?
Lisa: Hippie Chick Design is a boutique Shopify Agency with a focus tailored to the small business owner. We have worked on over 300 Shopify stores, each a unique expression of our individual clients’ vision.
My initial intent was to focus on women-owned businesses because I believe in women supporting women, but we have about a 50/50 split among our clients. I’ve worked on Shopify stores for everything from beauty and fashion, food and drink, art and media, to personal safety and even goats, chickens and tractors.
I have been a Shopify Partner providing design and E-commerce services for a little over 3 years but I’ve been using the Shopify platform for over 10 years with my own businesses.
My background is in graphic/web design, typography, with a degree in retail merchandising from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I have experience in owning a brick-and-mortar store and an online store simultaneously, as well as extensive experience in wholesale, distribution, and importation.
How did you start your E-commerce journey and your agency?
Lisa:My E-commerce journey started back in 1997 when I launched one of the first beauty and fragrance websites, beautycafe.com. When I started Beauty Cafe, other than having graphic design and retail experience, I was new to web design and E-commerce. The online world itself was also in its infancy. There were few resources and no one to help or mentor me. I taught myself everything as I went along, made my fair share of mistakes, but was fortunate to have a handful of people who believed in me.
After 20 years of having run my own business, to be honest, I was a little burnt out and beginning to lose my way. While my store was successful, I felt there was something missing, something more for me to do.
Then, three years ago, a friend asked me to help them start their own online business. The clarity that came over me was incredible… it was as if the clouds parted and the sky turned blue. I had this AHA moment and realized THIS was what I was meant to do. I could take all my years of experience and save people from all the trials and errors that I had made. Now was my chance to give back and help others achieve their dreams of having their own business.
So what are your daily tasks and what do you like the most about your job?
Lisa: My mornings begin with coffee while I go through emails to plan out my day. I have a first in, first out policy with clients to prioritize the work. I use a project management tool that my clients have access to so everyone knows what is going on at any given time. My clients love using it since they can log in at their convenience and see where I am and what is needed of them. My mornings are dedicated to uninterrupted work and one on one training with clients. I reserve the afternoon for phone calls.
What do I love about my job? EVERYTHING!!! Working with my Shopify clients keeps me constantly inspired.
What do you like about Shopify Platform?
Shopify empowers the small business owner and gives them access to tools that initially were only available to those who had extensive computer skills or deep pockets. Shopify brought E-commerce to Main Street. The Shopify community is inspiring and always helpful to others just starting out. The Theme and App developers listen to the community and continue to improve the Shopify platform.
Would you like to share more about your team? And what kind of services are you offering with Shopify?
Lisa: I’m a Jane of all trades but a mistress of none. I believe in working with specialists and I consider myself fortunate to work with some of the best.
Helly and Hitesh are my developer dream team. Whether it's customizing a premium theme or custom code theme development, we make our client’s vision come true. Chris assists with clients’ Photoshop and Video Editing needs, as well as consulting.
Lisa Slavik and her team
If a client’s needs extend beyond my scope or area of expertise, I can refer them to my extended network of experts who specialize in Social Media, SEO, Google, and Facebook.
Hippie Chick Design offers design, redesign, migration, training, and consulting on the Shopify platform. While we do provide maintenance and updates on an as-needed basis to our clients, we are not a task-based agency - there are other companies that focus on those services.
Let's talk more about your customers. Where do they come from? Any memorable experience of working with them?
Lisa: My business is called Hippie Chick Design, so that name alone is only going to resonate with someone who is automatically part of my tribe. We are not a cookie-cutter agency; we think freely outside the box. My clients are like family and I am blessed to have met a few of them. Every day I find myself inspired by them. We learn from each other.
I generally work with clients based in the United States. I’ve tried working outside the US but to be honest, the time difference is a hindrance, especially since I am located in Los Angeles.
While some of my clients hold full-time jobs, the majority of them are focusing on their online business. I worked nonstop during the months of March through June of this year because my clients were taking advantage of the downtime to start their new businesses.
Memorable Experiences? Oh gosh, almost every single one of them. So far I’ve worked on over 300 Shopify stores and each one has been a different experience for me. They are all memorable to me. It’s the people, it’s their stories, it’s the reason why they are starting their own business. I’ve been so fortunate to collaborate with some of the MOST amazing people.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you solve it (For ex: handling requests from customers, etc)?
Lisa: One of the biggest challenges I’ve come across actually has nothing to do with their Shopify store, it has to do with them believing in themselves and taking that first step. I try to meet my clients where they are at in their journey. I’ve been there, I’ve walked those shoes so while I may not understand their particular fear, I get it. Stepping out on your own can be scary. I make myself accessible and I hold hands and push gently when necessary. But to be honest, there have been a couple of times when I’ve just had to let the client walk away and do what’s best for them in their own time. I’m here when they’re ready to start walking their path again.
How do you use PageFly for your clients?
Lisa: PageFly is such an incredible tool, not only for my clients but also for myself. I’ve used PageFly for everything from creating mockups to landing pages for Facebook Ads to an additional page to complement a site.
I recently installed PageFly for a client who wanted to use a specific membership app but we kept having issues with it. Our calls and emails to support went unanswered. The only way to make this particular app function properly with our theme was to use PageFly. PageFly literally saved the day, the client loved the design I created for them.
The majority of the time I use PageFly to help clients manage their Facebook Ad landing pages. They just want a single Buy Now page to drive their ads to. I train clients on how to use PageFly so they can maintain the page and update it on their own.
Did you have any difficulties using PageFly? And how did you solve it?
Lisa: I’ve never had any issues using PageFly! I love the new templates and features they continuously add. If you have experience using other web development tools like Divi or WordPress (something with sections) you will feel quite comfortable using PageFly. And because it’s on the Shopify platform, it’s even better!!
Just one last question, do you have any advice for new E-commerce entrepreneurs on the Shopify Partners ecosystem?
Lisa: Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with others who believe in you. Start a journal or a Pinterest board to help you define your brand and your voice. Something that you can use to help you stay your course when you veer off. Define your target customer. The Shopify community is amazing. If you have questions you can always reach out to various message boards on Shopify, or Facebook. There’s always someone who will help.
Most importantly… whatever you do, make sure it’s something you love to do. In the words of Joseph Campbell… “Follow your bliss.. find where it is and don’t be afraid to follow it”.
Hippie Chick Design is proud to be a Certified Shopify Expert and Partner and Shopify Affiliate, with over 300 Shopify store builds, redesigns, and migrations. With an over 20+ year experience running online E-commerce business, Lisa and her team has been constantly empowering small business owners, especially woman entrepreneurs, to achieve their business goals and dreams.