Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Katherine Hague (LinkedIn, @katherinehague), co-founder and CEO of Shoplocket.com, a startup that has recently launched and which aims to help people sell anything from anywhere in minutes. Part of our efforts to highlight and support entrepreneurs and projects from Ladies Learning Code.
After 6 months of hard work, we’re excited to announce the launch of Shoplocket..
Think of it as a platform powering popup online retailers. It’s Lean Retail. Much like Lean Startup or Lean Manufacturing. It’s a platform for online retailers to find “a plan that works before running out of resources”. Just like CafePress automates the creation of customized goods, ShopLocket makes it easy for makers to sell online without investing in inventory or ecommerce solutions. It’s a way, much like restauranters testing new menus and concepts in food truck, popup restaurant or underground markets, ito test the sales of products online.
During summer of 2011, I had the idea to have some quirky t-shirts printed to see whether I could manage to sell them online. I had a pretty decent blog following and a solid network so it occurred to me that if I posted them for sale on the blog, that people might buy them. For only one t-shirt, signing up for a full storefront solution seemed a little ridiculous, especially since I didn’t even know if I’d sell one to cover monthly fees. At the same time I wanted my product listing to look well designed and professional. These were really great t-shirts, and I couldn’t imagine myself just throwing them onto a marketplace like kijiji or craigslist. I couldn’t figure out why what seemed like an easy e-commerce problem like “I only have one product to sell” was actually so hard to solve.
Using ShopLocket, sellers can be up and running in minutes and can embed their products directly on any website, or share a link to where we host their product. In some cases, ShopLocket will serve as a customer funnel for larger online stores, helping new sellers figure out whether they’ve got something worth selling. But for many others, ShopLocket will be all they ever need. For these sellers we’re a replacement for back-and-forth email transactions with buyers and unprofessional marketplaces. Think of us as the ideal “display case” for your new product.
We’ve been in beta with about 1200 users. We’ve been accepted in the first cohort at Extreme Startups. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without the incredible support of the Toronto startup community. We’re now gearing up for our Demo Day on June 19th.