Best of 2019: Bold Stories Honorees
We asked our merchants to share their 2019 stories with us, and the responses were amazing. We hope these twenty stories inspire you to achieve some remarkable goals in 2020 and beyond.
At Bold, we're truly invested in our merchant community. We love hearing your success stories and how our apps help your business grow.
This year, we invited our merchants to share their stories with us — specifically, we asked them to tell us how 2019 went, from obstacles they overcame to giant leaps forward in their businesses.
Merchants from around the world, of all sizes, and from all kinds of industries shared their stories for a chance at our Bigger, Better, Bolder package, which included free apps for a year and some other cool perks.
After a long deliberation over hundreds of submissions, our selection committee identified twenty merchants whose missions, milestones, and achievements made for truly amazing stories.
Read each honoree's full story below, or check out our showcase page to see what they accomplished at a glance.
We hope these inspire you to set and achieve some big goals to kick off the new decade.
Best of 2019 - Bold Stories Honorees
- Blue Moon Fabrics - Textiles and apparel
- Bigger Bolder Baking - Baking and kitchenware
- Brightbox - Gift boxes
- Browluxe - Beauty and cosmetics
- Callia - Online floral delivery
- The Contract Shop - Legal templates
- Crema Joe - Reusable coffee pods and accessories
- Dr. Seeds - Supplements
- Family Dinner - Community grocery subscription
- Hanna Sillitoe - Skincare
- Jowissa - Timepieces
- Lit Costmetics - Beauty and cosmetics
- LittleSizzle - Stationary templates
- Pixel Empire - Art marketplace
- Pointe Studio - Socks and athletic wear
- Pura - Fragrance devices
- Robin McGraw Revelation - Beauty and cosmetics
- Smart Sips Coffee - Coffee subscription
- Stonemaier Games - Tabletop strategy games
- Wynwood Dog Food Co. - Pet food
- Honorable mentions - Six more merchants with inspiring stories
Blue Moon Fabrics - Textiles and apparel
Blue Moon had already fashioned an impressive business, supplying Hollywood costumers and LA designers with high-couture textiles for over 20 years, but they still hadn't stitched together the ecommerce presence they wanted.
While they had an online store for six years, 2019 was the year they made the change to Shopify. The platform, along with the help of Bold apps, allowed them to create an experience that more closely reflected the services they provided in store.
Thanks to their new online store, they closed off the decade by making their first international sale and creating a 30% increase in revenue.
"With the use of Bold Custom Pricing we were able to offer the whole world the same tiered pricing we offer to our walk-in wholesale clients."
With their new seamless online experience, Blue Moon is set to help designers realize their dreams in style during 2020 and beyond.
Bigger Bolder Baking - Baking and kitchenware
Giving people the recipes they need to bake delicious treats — even if they don't own an oven — is why Gemma Stafford quit her job.
Five years ago, she left her catering career to start an online cooking show. Her hard work paid off: Bigger Bolder Baking collectively has over 5 million followers, including over 2 million YouTube subscribers.
In addition to recipes for oven-baked cakes and other pastries, Bigger Bolder Baking is known for its microwave Mug Meals. Whether you're a trucker on the go, or a resident in a personal care home, these recipes give people the power to cook almost anywhere.
In 2019, she finally opened an ecommerce store, and one of the first products she offered was a mug specifically designed for cooking those Mug Meals. It even came with a spork that fits right in the handle so Bold Bakers can mix, microwave, and enjoy their homemade concoctions all in one easy-to-clean mug.
She also served up a bakeware line and downloadable cookbooks full of her signature recipes.
"The product bundles in particular were a hit because people enjoyed buying not just one mug but a soft bundle."
The Bigger Bolder Baking team used Bold Bundles to pair their mugs with other products, helping to boost average order value.
With plans to continue sharing great recipes and launch new products, we're excited to see what Bigger Bolder Baking will cook up in the future.
Brightbox - Gift boxes
Whether you're celebrating, saying thank you, or just wanting to make someone's day a little brighter, a care package can give them the boost they need.
Brightbox sells compact, affordable gift boxes to help do just that. They started their business to make being thoughtful easy and affordable.
And in 2019, they unboxed some pretty big initiatives.
They created a shiny new user experience, including building more product options into the shopping flow, and being more deliberate with their marketing plan.
It brought them some glowing results.
"The ability to offer add-ons for an extra charge has met a demand from customers and increased our average order value every month this year."
From February to December, Brightbox saw a 50% increase in AOV — in part thanks to Bold Product Options — contributing to a 165% increase in annual revenue.
In the year ahead, this merchant is sure to help people make loved ones' days a little brighter with out-of-the-box thinking.
Browluxe - Beauty and cosmetics
What do you see when you're staring at eyebrows all day? For one small microblading studio, a big gap in the market.
At Brows by G, they noticed that many people had trouble finding eyebrow pencils that complemented their skintone, so they set out to give those people a perfect match.
Building off momentum from a deal they scored on Dragon's Den (Canada's Shark Tank), they launched a new, separate cosmetics brand, ecommerce store, and their first product: a signature eyebrow pencil.
Soon they were in over 100 retailers (including iHerb and Neiman Marcus), got shoutouts from celebrity makeup artists, and generated enough revenue to recoup their original investment.
"Our biggest success of all is hearing from our amazing consumers who have finally found a brow pencil that matches their complexions."
As they grow, they'll depend on Bold Multi-Currency to sell around the world, helping people of all skintones get the match they need.
Callia - Online floral delivery
Callia is uprooting the way people order flowers, and this year they really blossomed.
The company secured a $400,000 investment on Canada's Dragon Den, giving them the ability to grow into 13 Canadian cities.
Part of their success was thanks to optimizing their shopping experience to increase average order value. Using Bold Product Options, they gave customers the ability to easily add a vase, candy, and other giftable upsell items to their orders.
"We gave shoppers a really great experience, thanks in part to our Bold apps, which cleaned up the upsell process for us!"
2019 also saw Callia launch a sister brand, Ivie, which delivers Insta-worthy houseplants to your door.
With an innovative service, subscription offerings, and a sprouting new brand, Callia's growth potential is enormous.
The Contract Shop - Legal templates
Every creative knows it’s the little details that count... which happens to be something they have in common with lawyers like Christina Scalera, the mastermind behind The Contract Shop.
Selling legal templates customized to the unique needs of different types of independent creative contractors and business owners, The Contract Shop makes expert legal advice and protection accessible to all.
"Bold Upsell's clean and very organic feel have helped me to achieve new financial goals in my business. When I found it, I wish I'd known about it sooner!"
In 2019, The Contract Shop was excited to shift their focus from a digital product store to more of an ecommerce model.
Taking cues from ecommerce giants, they revised their user experience and sales strategies, using apps like Bold Upsell to ensure their customers fully understood what they should be purchasing to cover off their legal needs.
The ruling for The Contract Shop was in their favor: They consistently had five or six-figure revenue months this past year, breaking their own sales records.
Crema Joe - Reusable coffee pods
True story: The inventor of the coffee pod has stated he regrets his creation, in large part because of the waste they create.
Luckily, there are innovators like the team at Crema Joe who provide green-minded solutions — like reusable, washable coffee capsules for virtually any single cup brewer — so you can enjoy your cup of joe, guilt-free.
That impact stacked up in 2019, to the tune of 12 million coffee pods diverted from landfills. Not only that, but Crema Joe crossed $1 million in revenue this year, in part thanks to local businesses buying into their refillable coffee capsule program, increasing AOV through Bold Upsell, and being stocked by more than 80 retailers.
Crema Joe’s 2019 also included new product launches and an expanding team, with a priority on creating flexible roles for new mothers.
Here’s to continued growth for Crema Joe as they shrink the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills!
Dr. Seeds - Supplements
If you’ve ever wished you had a doctor on your shoulder when navigating the overwhelming vitamins and supplements aisle, you’re not alone.
Enter Dr. William Seeds, an experienced orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert. With all the confusion around which brands — or even which supplement types — were the best to take, Dr. Seeds took matters into his own hands.
He created his dream supplement line to provide his patients (and the avid fan base he’s rapidly built up) with the support they need to live healthier lives.
After soft launching in 2018, the team behind Dr. Seeds’ supplements had a goal of growing their subscriber base on Bold Subscriptions to 500 users by the end of 2019.
The results were even more amazing than they could have anticipated — increasing their subscriber numbers by 8900% and generating an additional $400,000 in revenue to help them generate a healthy $1 million in their first full year of business.
Family Dinner - CSA grocery subscription
Why drive to the supermarket to buy imported food when you can get locally produced groceries delivered right to your door?
With Family Dinner, people in the New England region have that option.
They run a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm share subscription service that sources 100% of their products — including meat, fish, and dairy — from local farms.
For Family Dinner, it's about more than turning a profit, it's about helping people eat better, celebrate great food, and build a community around the folks who make it.
And with Bold Subscriptions, they're accomplishing just that. They more than doubled their business over 2019, and now serve over 200 families every week in the Boston area.
"We love Bold's suite of apps! It's one of the main reasons that we chose Shopify over Squarespace or other ecommerce solutions."
And thanks to the support of those local diners, they've paid over $250,000 to the New England family farms they're partnered with.
This success was thanks in part to a more focused effort on marketing as well as automating and optimizing their delivery logistics.
"All of Bold's apps help us deliver at the highest level, while operating efficiently and with confidence that everything is working smoothly."
With the demand for sustainable products growing, it looks like Family Dinner is set on a path to grow as well.
Hanna Sillitoe - Skincare
Hanna Sillitoe's journey to clear skin also cleared the way for a burgeoning brand that gives people control over how they treat their skin issues.
Sillitoe's journey to cure her psoriasis resonated with her audience: the interest in her best-selling book inspired her to start a line of skincare products, and even earned her the opportunity to pitch her business to investors on UK's Dragon's Den.
There, on national television, she got offers from all five investors.
"I'm so proud to have created something that genuinely offers hope to people who have felt stuck in a hopeless situation for a very long time."
Since then, her audience has doubled, and so have her sales, thanks in part to some of the packages she sells on her store using Bold Bundles.
In the year ahead, she plans to expand into more retail locations and keep offering solutions for people to live their lives with healthy skin.
Jowissa Watches - Timepieces
Swiss watches have become synonymous with quality, and Jowissa is no exception. The family behind Jowissa has been making watches for three generations, but their ecommerce story just began recently.
They already had a strong wholesale operation, but wanted to be able to sell directly to customers as well. After opening their Shopify store, they finished their first full year of direct-to-consumer sales in 2019, making an additional $100,000 like clockwork.
"It was exciting to enter ecommerce and discover tools like Bold and many others that help SME scale fast and at low cost."
Through Shopify, they share out their product feed to Amazon and other platforms, easily making their products available on multiple sales channels.
And with Bold Multi-Currency, they are able to automatically display prices on their storefront in shoppers' native currencies so people can enjoy a Swiss timepiece no matter what country they live in.
Lit Cosmetics - Beauty and cosmetics
Lit Cosmetics has been dazzling customers with their glitter products since 2002, but 2019 was the year the little make up company shined brighter than ever.
Despite being a smaller fish in the gigantic cosmetics pond, Lit says they're looked at as "authorities on glitter," and are sought out by top makeup artists.
“Our ability to offer unique combinations of products — with help from apps like Bold Bundles — allowed us to launch new colors in seasonal combinations.”
This is evidenced by the fact in 2019 their glitter was sported by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, and Kesha — and even got an endorsement from Oprah Magazine.
Another big achievement was expanding to India, which has quickly emerged as a massive market for the brand. It looks like Lit Cosmetics is set to bring a little more sparkle to the world in the coming decade.
LittleSizzle - Stationary templates
In 2017, two Dutch sisters discovered they had quit their jobs a day apart — without even knowing each other's plans!
That's when they made a plan to get on the same page. Together, they founded LittleSizzle, offering up printable stationery templates, originally specializing in baby shower games and invitations.
Their huge selection of products makes it easy to find something that's right for you, but it was also a challenge to show shoppers everything they're looking for — or to get eyes on new products. That's where Bold Upsell came in.
The sisters added upsell and cross-sell offers to every product on their store, which helped bring exposure to the new bridal shower templates they launched, while also driving impressive increases in average order value.
"We added an upsell or a cross-sell to every single product we had. It definitely paid off. In 2019, we saw an increase in revenue of over 30%! The Bold Upsell app has helped us get more multi-product orders."
The success of their new products inspired them to start developing new templates to help people share and celebrate more life milestones with invitations and games.
Pixel Empire - Art marketplace
This designer marketplace was started by Dylan West, a graphic artist who was selling on Etsy, but wanted more control over his business.
Dylan soon found like-minded creatives to join him — those looking to retain the right to their designs and the majority of profits selling pop-culture influenced swag.
The shop now has a cult following and is home to dozens of independent artists around the world who sell posters, t-shirts, phone cases, and even exclusive VHS cassettes.
"Out of the $70,000 that we raised for charities in 2019, over $4,000 was attributed to Bold Upsell!"
Helping out other people paid off, because in 2019 they broke their monthly revenue records two months in a row.
In 2020 Pixel Empire will focus on another charity drive as well as driving more customers and artists to their marketplace, in part by offering new limited edition products each month.
Pointe Studio - Socks and athletic wear
Sanity over vanity is Pointe Studio's motto, but that doesn't mean their socks don't look great — and it also doesn't hurt that they're specifically designed for the active people they serve.
Their wide variety of athletic socks — toeless, ankle, full foot, and beyond — are perfect for dancers and fitness enthusiasts.
And this year they took their first steps on a few big new things. They used Bold to launch a subscription service they'd been discussing for over a year, and it now makes up over 10% of their revenue.
"We have more than doubled sales year over year and it would not have been possible without Bold."
And it doesn't stop there. They also ran a holiday campaign with planned paid media ads, launched new accessories, doubled sales, and got distribution from Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, and Free People.
In 2020 they'll dance their way to more successes, with Bold keeping time every step of the way forward.
Pura - Fragrance devices
What if you could come home to the fresh scent of Yuzu Citron, Vanilla Chiffon, Moroccan Amber, or dozens of other designer-crafted fragrances from the likes of Nest and Capri Blue?
It's now possible thanks to Pura. You can control their smart home fragrance devices right from your smartphone, and even switch between two different scents.
Pura has gotten used to the smell of success in 2019. Not only did they launch a subscription service using Bold Subscriptions, they also got on the shelves of Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, and Ulta Beauty.
They also got some major media attention from Cosmopolitan, Vogue, USA Today, Forbes, QVC, and CBS’ The Talk.
And all that exposure paid off. In 2019 they saw an increase in revenue of over 1000%, an increase from Q3 to Q4 revenue of over 700%, an initial seed round of funding, and regularly sold out their core products.
Robin McGraw Revelation - Beauty and cosmetics
If you've ever watched Dr. Phil, you've probably seen Robin McGraw in the front row — she's been married to Phillip McGraw for 40 years and has attended every taping!
But Robin's also in the front row to cheer on women with her beauty brand. Launched in 2017, Robin McGraw Revelation offers a line of products that help women embrace the beauty and fun of aging, live their lives freely, and feel empowered.
"Bold is a huge part of the reason our average order value is much higher this year. We are looking forward to improving our sales with Bold Subscriptions."
Providing a great customer experience is important to Robin McGraw Reveltation, and the brand tries to always go the extra mile for their customers, like hiding a motivational quote from Robin under the lid of each package.
In 2019 they improved service and released new products, which got a big response from their customers. Avid fans bought more products than ever and helped Robin McGraw Revelation make $1 million in sales solely in the month of November.
Smart Sips Coffee - Coffee subscription
This Brick, New Jersey, business was founded by Lara Nikola, who sought to quit her day job and spend more time with her family. Created in 2013, Smart Sips Coffee sells a gourmet coffee subscription box with dessert-inspired flavors.
In 2019, Nikola took her business to the next level, starting off with an appearance on Good Morning America, where she got to pitch her product to some of the Shark Tank Sharks and earned ringing endorsements along the way. Even skeptical Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O'Leary, called her brews "damn good."
That media attention perked up revenue. Smart Sips saw a 300% YOY increase in sales and did more business in January of 2019 than they did in all of 2018, attributed in part to subscribers she serves with Bold Subscriptions.
Smart Sips Coffee is proudly women-owned, and Nikola's success story was recognized by national news outlets as inspirational for any aspiring entrepreneur.
Stonemaier Games - Tabletop strategy games
Stonemaier Games wasn't playing around in 2019. Not only did they win the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres award, they also tripled their membership base of loyal fans.
Wingspan, Stonemaier's award winning 2019 game, source.
Their reputation has been growing steadily since 2011, when founder Jamey Stagmaeier rolled the dice and launched the company. It offers beautifully designed, fun board games to fans and backers with a personalized approach.
In 2019, Stonemaier leveraged that reputation as a well-known game publisher to offer a program with Bold Memberships that now has thousands of members. For an annual fee, devotees get early access to games and insider insights on the development process.
"Thanks to Bold, the number of members, who frequently buy directly from our webstore, more than tripled to over 6,500 people."
But memberships aren't the only thing driving revenue: customers also bought over 45,000 copies of Stonemaier's acclaimed tabletop strategy games.
Wynwood Dog Food Co. - Pet food
You are what you eat, and that's just as true for dogs as it is for humans. That's why the folks a Wynwood Dog Food strive to give pet owners healthy options for their furry friends.
They wanted to bring transparency to the dog food industry with a fully open kitchen and factory where customers could see the whole manufacturing process from start to finish.
In 2019, Wynwood opened their second location in Miami, and expanded another so they could make more products right before your eyes. With your pets' health always top of mind, they also launched a new line of cardiac support food they developed with veterinarians.
But what's more impressive is that now they can serve the world through a new online store — one they built from scratch without outside help.
"Because of Shopify's versatility and apps like Bold, I was able to add subscriptions, a store locator, various shipping options (in-store pick up, local delivery, shipping) with complicated rules depending on product type and quantity without the help of any developer."
Thanks to creating a custom ecommerce presence and doubling the brick and mortar locations they've also more than doubled business from the previous year — all while helping canine companions live healthier lives.
Hundreds of merchants submitted their 2019 stories, and while we couldn't give all of them the Bigger Bolder Package, there were a few who had a year full of exceptional accomplishments worth sharing.
John's Crazy Socks - Socks & apparel
When you get a subscription package from John's Crazy Socks, the fun designs or hand-written note from John himself are bound to put a smile on your face. And that what it's about for this inspiring company: spreading happiness.
John Cronin, who was born with Down syndrome, finished school but wasn't sure what to do next. His career prospects seemed limited because of his differing abilities, so he co-founded John Crazy's Socks with his dad, Mark.
The happiness they spread together goes beyond socks. The company has also raised over $300,000 for their charity partners and spreads awareness for different causes (like Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome) with special edition socks.
In 2019, they joined the American State Department’s U.S. Speaker’s Program to advocate for inclusive employment for people with disabilities — something they practice in their own company.
All the while, their socks kept making people happy. Over 90% of their online reviews are 5-star and John still personally delivers socks when he can.
Visbiome - Probiotics
When you need to do a gut check, Visbiome has got your back. This high-potency probiotic helps people treat gastrointestinal problems like IBS and ulcers.
In 2019, they successfully launched a subscriptions service with Bold Subscriptions to give customers savings and more flexibility with their orders.
Their innovative refrigerated shipping distribution model includes a temperature monitoring device that gives customers the peace of mind that the sensitive cultures in their probiotics were unharmed during delivery.
Here For You - Gift boxes
While getting flowers for momentous occasions is a nice gesture, it might not be the most practical gift for somebody who's going through a major life change.
We do a number of services which are unique — and Product Options really helps us with this.
That's where Here For You's compassion packages come in. They deliver gift boxes full of things people can actually use while they're grieving a loved one's death, dealing with an illness, or even taking care of a new baby.
In addition to thoughtful gifts, Here For You also delivered some impressive results. In 2019, they grew their revenue by 20x year over year, and partnered with other grief-related organizations to help people through hard times.
Cavali Club - Equestrian subscription box
This equestrian subscription box made some big strides in 2019. They launched their business with Bold Subscriptions and grew it to 700 subscribers in under a year.
They also launched a shop where subscribers can make follow-up purchases, started creating their own products, and earned over $100,000 in gross revenue during their first full year of operation.
After achieving these successes, it looks like Cavali is set to ride into the decade with some great momentum.
Evil Queen Candles - Artisan candles
This candle company ignited some major successes in 2019. Evil Queen makes candles with attitude. In the words of founder Ida-Sofia Koivuniemi: "Life is so serious sometimes. It's good to lighten up."
The candles are made from American grown soy wax and free of harmful chemicals. Every one is handmade at their small shop in Los Angeles.
And Ida-Sofia has lot to be cheery about in 2019. This year Evil Queen grew their subscribers fourfold and broke $1 million in revenue, all while delivering new, sassy products their loyal customer base has seized on.
KONG Box - Pet accessories
This pet subscription box program is rated two paws up by dogs across America. It expands on the original (and wildly popular) KONG dog toy line. Using Bold Subscriptions, they send out packages with recipes, training toys, treats, and more.
"Bold has been there to help us face new challenges — implementing gifting options and troubleshooting any issues that come up."
Since launching in 2019, they've averaged 70 new subscribers a day, and that growth is expected to continue.
Your goals are within reach
All of these merchants' stories show that achieving ecommerce success is possible when you put your mind to it and get the right functionality for your store.
We hope their experiences inspire you to take action and start working toward your big goals. If you need support along the way, we're here to help.
What are your goals for 2020 and beyond? Let us know in the comments below; we'll reply back with advice that can help you get there.
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