not one, but two new sites

So busy that only yesterday was I able to look through all the email that’s been accumulating. Yesterday, Stanley and I took a break. I wanted some good apples and he wanted an apple pie, so we went to Silverman’s Farm in Easton. It was busy busy busy—but not as busy as I’ve seen it before. Probably because the leaves haven’t turned yet. At any rate, we got apples, cider, and Stanley got his pie.

Sad thing about the pie, though. It was marked “apple,” but it turned out to be a peach pie. Stanley was disappointed—nothing like setting your mind on a piece of hot apple pie and having your tongue burned on a piece of peach. But, he said, “I’ll just have to eat this anyway [sigh] ... ” (He gave me a bite—it’s pretty good pie.)

Then we stopped at Balducci’s for some decent cheese. We’ve been working so hard we decided to indulge ourselves a little. Heck, maybe we’ll win the Powerball next week (yeah right).


footnote journalWe launched TWO websites last week! First to get launched was Footnote Journal. Footnote Journal publishes a database of information gleaned from the footnotes of 10K filings (annual reports filed with the SEC), in this case, focusing on tax and pension information. The editors compiled this information for 900 publicly traded companies and are offering it as a standalone product or a two-year subscription.

The editors of Footnote Journal wanted a very simple ecommerce solution—and they didn’t want it to be PayPal as they believed it would not be as appealing to their high-end clients as one with that isn’t generally associated with eBay. The toughest part of the whole project was finding a merchant account provider that would accept digital goods as the product. It may have been easier if the editors were going to provide the product on a CD or something more tangible (to the merchant account providers, that is!), but the whole idea is to provide clients with the information they need as quickly as possible and you can’t get much faster than pay and download. The logo was designed by Victoria Chave of Chave Design (New Haven).

Rarities FashionLaunch number two was Rarities Fashion, a site which sells women’s silk, taffeta, and velvet apparel and accessories hand made in Vietnam. The owner discovered beautiful clothes made in Vietnam when she traveled to Hanoi to perform in a concert. Eventually, she decided to make them available to women in the United States by launching a website.

The first website was clunky and served as primarily a showcase, requiring potential customer to call the owner with orders. It had some kind of a java applet that didn’t work well and just slowed things up considerably, and changing the lines and prices was extremely difficult. The owner wanted something where not only could people actually order online, but also something that was easier to maintain and update and where she could even update text, prices, and products herself. Oh, and she wanted this at as low a cost as possible.

The overall look was designed by Victoria Chave of Chave Design (New Haven). We created the template and stylesheet for the look and implemented it as closely as we could using Zen Cart, an open source shopping cart based on PHP and MySQL which, fortunately, was offered by the owner’s web hosting company.

Right now there are 33 products being offered. The hard, time-consuming, makes - my - eyes - spin part of building this site was not the actual products themselves, but all of the different swatches in many, many different combinations that had to be embedded. Keeping it all straight was the hardest part for me, but now I know how I need the content delivered next time I do an ecommerce site such as this.

This site IS PayPal-based, because that’s what makes sense. With PayPal, customers don’t even need an account in order to buy something—they can pay for stuff with a credit card if they choose. In addition, PayPal offers some nifty tools for tracking and delivering orders and even integrates with UPS. And no monthly gateway fees or monthly shopping cart fees. Plus the service charges are comparable to or less than the going merchant account rates AND they pay a decent rate on the money in your account—last time I checked, it was more than 3%.


Also worked on skinning a shopping cart or two—which is creating a look and feel for the cart that matches the merchant’s overall site. I like doing this—it’s kind of a puzzle and my goal is always to make it look the same as the main site, but better somehow, even if it’s just a better handling of the typography. I have no problem with the “as good as” but the “better” is the challenge I’m not always able to pull off.

And working on maintenance for many of our existing sites, enewsletters, advice, support—that kind of stuff. Trying to collect on an invoice that’s way overdue (a client that’s not only out of state, but out of the northeastern portion of the US altogether). Working on longer-term projects that I’m anxious to see get off the ground.

My ass feels embedded into my desk chair. I need to make some time to plant the irises that arrived while we were away and play frisbee with the dog. Would do it now except I have two things due today and, well, it’s raining.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/26/05 at 07:16 PM
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

Next entry: slipped away for a while

Previous entry: pascagoula, miss.

<< Back to main