Case study: Animal Onesies

Written by Mark Forrester on July 26, 2013 Customer stories, Woo news.

A great case study by Australian Mike Langford on how he quit IT consulting to become a ‘Tigger Trainer’ (as he defines himself in his email signature) selling animal onesies on a WooCommerce powered website.

254742_509773935729834_1110464230_nIt’s an embarrassing thing to admit on a WooThemes blog, but 9 months ago I thought WordPress was just for blogging; and that coming from a guy who works in IT Consulting! Okay blogging is a long way from generic project management of large CRM implementations, but the reality is that I have built several websites from scratch using PHP / MySQL, including a couple with shopping carts, so I should have known better. I also now realise how many weeks of my life I could have got back!

In July 2012 I had a new venture that I needed to get off the ground fast: a niche product from Japan that had gone crazy in the US and UK. Animal Onesies! As I whinged to technical friends about the pain of having to build another new website, one of them suggested WordPress and explained that some themes are designed for eCommerce. So I started my research and within just a few hours I had chosen WooCommerce as my shopping engine of choice. I didn’t have any experience with WordPress, let alone integrating with a commerce platform, but that’s the beauty of WordPress – it’s designed for people with no experience! WooCommerce’s fun branding and positive reviews, combined with the plethora of plugins and extensions, drew me in.

Things moved fast – within 3 days I had a test site up and running while we simultaneously pulled together our domain name, brand and product photos, and within a week Animal Suits was born!

animal-suits-full-range

We launched with just 12 designs of animal onesies, sourced from Japan and shipped to us by sea. We combined this with a second product, animal hoods based off the popular trend product Spirit Hoods from LA. It was a very simple shopping experience with just 16 products and two categories, integrating with Paypal, clean and easy. But as things grew, so did our needs, and I started investing in plugins and extensions, and spending more and more time on the WooThemes community forum. Occasionally I would need to go to WooSupport, and considering the small amount I had paid for WooCommerce I didn’t expect much back; but again and again I was impressed with the speed and friendliness of the response (despite the occasional stupid question), and the success rate in fixing my problems.

The Animal Suits homepage.
The Animal Suits homepage.

So I now have 52 products and am about to launch my kids sizes, adding another 12 styles to the range. I just counted 30 plugins which is actually a reduced number after I conducted a website page load speed review. Similar to the adage “there must be an app for that”, I’ve learned that if you need some functionality for your site, someone has probably built a plugin for it. Sadly I learned this the hard way after spending a week custom building an automated email to be sent to customers after they would have received their products. I then discovered the Follow Up Emails Extension from Woo. Dang!

I see all 30 of my plugins as essential (I know I should reconsider that!) but here are 5 that I couldn’t do without:

Stay tuned for the new kids range of animal suits
Stay tuned for the new kids range of animal suits.

I’m now taking this to the next level with a freelancer to build out some of my more complicated requests, and a conversion optimization team about to do a deep dive on my site. As my needs have grown, WooCommerce has been able to support them and I’m confident that it will continue to do so long into the future.

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10 Responses

  1. Luke
    July 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Excellent idea and your website is looking great!

    The image opposite your logo (bulk discounts and free express shipping) isn’t working, you forgot to add “http://” to the url.

    • Luke
      July 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      I have to say the models are fantastic, there poses are brilliant!

      http://www.animalsuits.com.au/kigurumi/

    • Mike
      July 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      thanks for pointing this out Luke – fixed it now 🙂

  2. Alvin
    July 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Congratulation mike and Woo team…. Keep up the good work…

  3. Linda Campbell
    July 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    I must say, great idea!! I love animal onesies and have an adult panda one myself, given to me by my SIL for Christmas last year 🙂 I can’t wait to get more. I even own some animal hoods!! Keep up the good work!! Going to watch for the kids launch cause I know a couple little girls who’d love some…

    • Mike
      July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Hi Linda, we launched out kids ones today 🙂 Such an adorable photoshoot, although somewhat exhausting. What’s the expression? – don’t work with kids and animals…. / animalsuits?!!

      http://www.animalsuits.com.au/kids-animal-onesies/

  4. Paul Barrs
    July 30, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    I Think I”ll just click the “like” button… oh, hang on, I already did!

    PS. mark, your breakdown of plugins… invaluable to those setting up. All the best 🙂

  5. abhishek
    September 7, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    your designs are great

  6. Jay
    September 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    What theme is the website based on?

    • Ryan Ray
      September 17, 2013 at 12:01 am #

      Not based off of any WooTheme theme, right click and view the source code to find the stylesheet and see. 😉

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