Posted on Leave a comment is Born – #270

In Blog 269 I Talked about building a Shopify site. In this blog I am going to talk about is born

There is so much to creating a great website. There are many ways to go about doing it as well. There is one thing that must be dialed though and that’s your product. In previous blogs I’ve talked about how important it is to build a great team. Well since I’m a team of one so far, I think I have that one nailed. At least so far. Another important lesson I learned is that product is king. If you don’t have product that people want, it doesn’t matter what else you do.


Another piece is to have a website that is easy to find what you are looking for. So many times, I’ve searched for items and had a hard time finding what I was looking for. One site, I was looking for a warm jacket since I’ve gained a few covid pounds. I did a search for “warm Jacket” and sleeping bags showed up? Someone needs to work on taxonomy lol. For the last few months, I’ve been putting together a site called Doggy Daddy. It’s a site where people can find products with dog images on them with over 100 breeds to choose from and growing. I acquired the URL and have a trademark in the works.


I started building the site with the free theme called “Dawn”. It was a nice basic site and allowed me to understand the inner workings of a Shopify site. Actually it was probably good enough to just stay with but curiosity got the best of me so I did an upgrade with infinite scrolling which I like and a marquee which will scroll all the different breeds I carry. I love the way Shopify sets the sections up to make it easier to break down certain areas of your site. I have the new arrivals first after the marquee and then the top categories and featured product which I change every week. I have some more categories I’m developing after that then it goes to two featured collections. Socksmith is the only branded product I carry so far and Doggy Daddy as its own brand with exclusive product.


As you keep scrolling down I have a section on my inspiration, my Mini Poodle Teddy, with a few “Teddy items”. And towards the bottom I end the page with my blogs I write each week. I started with my love for dogs, then blog two starts with My dog Teddy and finally the third one is about Australian Cattle Dogs. In starting this site, it has been interesting to me to learn about the breeds as I create product. Since I’m so passionate about mentoring and coaching people what better way to share my learnings of the different breeds I come across. It is so funny too because I can be in casual conversation with someone about their dog and I feel I have so much information about their dog to share.


I love unique product. Probably why I enjoyed doing Private Label for 6 years at Zappos. I found an artist I just love. He is an amazing pencil artist, and his name is Gary Tymon. He works out of the United Kingdom and has amazing graphics. I have his work on coffee mugs and notebooks so far but plan to expand the collection soon.


I found another Artist from Romania at Mimoza Studios that have unique graphics perfect for black t-shirts and some realistic watercolors I plan to use this week. On top of these two I have been using other artists I’ve found on Etsy and Creative Fabrica. The best part of this adventure is it makes people smile. That is so rewarding to me. Once I get this site going and learn more about driving traffic to the site I plan to convert this site a little and add a shop for merchandise here too. I’m debating on keeping this one a pure blog and adding a separate site utilizing which I also own. To be continued…



…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Posted on Leave a comment

Building a Shopify site – #269

Building a Shopify site

In Blog 268 I Talked about how the Etsy site gained steam. In this blog I am going to talk about Building a Shopify site


My wife asked me the other morning what my blog was about now. It got me to thinking about it a little more in depth. Originally I stated this in my about me section:


“This is my journey in the footwear industry that shares tips on what I’ve learned starting from when I began in 1980.

I start out with my adventures in store management with three different companies and on to my 11 year run with Nordstrom. I had many wonderful mentors at Nordstrom and strengthened my buying skills.  Finally I share my amazing 18+ year journey at Zappos and continue to what the future may bring.

I’m sharing my journey for those who are hoping to get into the shoe industry, or for those who are looking for tips from an old shoe dog.

I hope you enjoy! Mike”


So I think the same message is still there. If you have followed me since the first blog you know that everything that I experienced, shaped me in some way or fashion to who I am today. My hope was that by sharing my experiences it could help others. Now in 2023 I’ve shared most of my footwear journey, at least up until 2009. The years between that time were great but I decided I needed to move on from my previous employer so here we are. I think what I’m sharing going forward will have the same sentiment. I’m experiencing new things and want to share my experiences to help others who may want to do the same.


I’ll be talking about the three shops I’ve created on different platforms, eBay, Etsy and now Shopify. I’ll go into how I’m going to convert my blog site into an eCommerce site with the blog still intact. And with all of those, how I got customers to each of them. I am going to look into creating a product line with something to do with footwear or footwear accessories at some point, once I get these sites running smoothly.  And finally I’ll go into my job search and tips on how to do that. Of course depending on my next career some of these things may have to go a little slower but I have a lot of time left and no shortage of energy.


I was happy to become a “Star Seller” on my Etsy site. You receive this honor if you have stellar reviews, on time shipping and timely responses to messages. Back in Sept. I didn’t see a message from a seller I bought from and got dinged for that. It goes for all messages. I applied for a trademark for Soleman and am going through the process of getting it registered. My thought was I’d find an insole line I could private label for myself and convert the Soleman Studios website to an eCommerce/Blog site. I would have to add Woo Commerce for the cart. I knew the process of trademarks would take a little while, so I had time to check into everything. I already have a registered trademark for Soleman for blogging and am just waiting for the other marks to get registered. Based on the positive response to Dog merchandise I also submitted one for Doggy Daddy.




I decided to go to the Magic show to see if I could hear of any job openings and to hunt for an insole manufacturer. I ran into a guy I used to work with at Zappos named Terry. I always liked him, and we had a similar sense of humor, so we clicked on that front too. He was at the Socksmith® booth. They had so many different patterns and the quality was amazing. I asked him what the minimums were and there were doable for me, so I bought 10 different patterns. I thought I’d put them on my Etsy site to start and then build a Shopify site or start the conversion of Soleman Studios. When I got home, I found out Etsy doesn’t allow for brands as it’s more of an artsy type site for people who create items.


That weekend I started listening to You Tube tutorials and found a guy @MeticsMedia that I really liked. He explained things clearly and was easy to follow his instructions. He has several videos out, so I listened to a bunch of them and a few other people too. I liked his videos the best. I felt I could do one now. I had tried several months earlier with no luck. This time I felt sure about it. It still was a lot of trial and error but after a week I had put together a pretty good site, now to fine tune and add the Sales Channels. I learned a lot from my Etsy site about SEO and such so had a pretty good grasp on how to do that.




To start with you choose a theme, there are a few free ones and others you can buy. Of course, the two I liked were $280 and $350 to set up. I decided to do the free one first then I can always upgrade later. From there you add your product. Since I had two different types of products, Print on Demand and now the Socksmith® socks, I had to set up two different shipping profiles. One would go directly to Printify and the other I would handle the shipping myself.


Next, I had to choose a plan. They had different layers and costs associated with those layers. I opted for the basic Plan to start with. I jumped right in with the eBay site and found it takes awhile to take advantage of the bigger plans so this time baby steps. I also set up all the financials on how my payments get processed too. I knew the URL was available for so I opted for a custom URL instead of the Shopify route. With the URL you also get an email to go with it, so I picked Next you can add a bunch of different apps for reviews and such, I decided to start slow and do the reviews, product reviews and Pinterest pin to make it easier to Pin things to Pinterest.


The cool thing about Shopify is that everything seems a bit easier to manage, from the images to the content and various other things so I was happy to see that. Etsy has built in customers though so the marketing would be a little more challenging. I put together a Facebook page, an Instagram page, and a Pinterest. Next product. Printify makes it easy by being able to copy existing product from one store to the next. I planned to have some differences between the shops, so I’d tweak them once I copied them over. It was a lot of work. I then built out the categories and put each of the items in the correct category, this way it was easier to shop.


Product mix


I added some new items aside from the socks, A fanny pack to hold your doggy treat for walks or training purposes, Almost 100 different t-shirts with different breeds to offer a vast selection for dog owners and of course coffee mugs. Linda suggested to take the breed name off to have a cleaner look. It worked with the Shoedog shirt so why not, can always add them back later if needed.


The sales channels I started with had a few integrations I had to solve for but after a few days I figured it all out. Now to flip the switch and go Live. I posted a few things on various social media channels and had three sales right off the bat, Thanks to Margaret, Dee and my brother David. I was pleased with how it looked and how easy it was to shop. Maybe I should build Shopify sites for people too, one step at a time…


Now the fun part begins, Marketing…


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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