This morning I had all of these notifications on LinkedIn and wondered what was up. What’s up is that today is the 13 year anniversary of when I legally made Manic Trout a company!! I really wanted to find an old screenshot of the first Manic Trout webpage from 2003 but I apparently do not document my own web sites very well. I found the files for the 2006 version though, which is crazy to find because when you click on index, the entire old site comes up. Woah. That’s all I’ll say about that, ha! I really am sad that I didn’t think to save screen shots before I revamped the site over the years, especially in 2014…which I really thought I had, so maybe one day I’ll find those. But for now, let’s have a giggle at the ghosts of Manic Trout past and see how many of these you remember?
The furthest back I could find is from 2006, as this is a screen shot, you need to know that the first image is the “landing page” (remember those!?!) and when you scrolled over the logo, you saw the second image. Keep in mind that Etsy was created in December of 2005 so we’re at the very early stages of the maker movement here.
We can also refer to that time as the early days, before I understood the concept of running a business, was fresh out of art school and just wanted to make all of the things!!!
Next we jump forward to early 2009, I know it was early in the year as I just finished an insane holiday season after having 3 pairs of $10 earrings in the Real Simple magazine gift guide. They told me to estimate that I would sell 2k total pairs of the earrings they ran and I sold 10k pairs which included every style of earring I sold. I was not prepared. Back then, I was still coding the shopping cart into my site with Mals and had to manually process every credit card when an order came. Then if it was declined, email the person who placed the order. I had no where near enough stock as I only had what they advised me to do, and besides ordering materials and more mailing supplies weekly, I had to bring in my staff from my day job to help in the off hours (they, along with my sister Thea, saved my life that season!). As online handmade businesses were still pretty new, getting lines of credit to process cards was tricky if you were not selling much, so I was allowed to process I think $2k a month at the time and by mid November had already sold $25k for that month. This was however a blessing and a curse though as I was able to take the proof of the orders to Chase and get hooked up for much larger limits immediately. Over all, I realized that I was not in a position for scaling and spent most of 2009 rebuilding so I would never go through the problems I encountered again. This included building a robust new site with a shopping cart that had all the bells and whistles. Which brings us to late 2009.
As you can see, I was really excited about all of the options that I now could use and deployed every single one of them. (I’m dizzy just looking at this!)
So now Manic Trout has made a name for itself, tasted crazy growth and received a snazzy new website…but something was feeling off. I was feeling like I had outgrown the brand. So I enlisted the help of brilliant duo to rebrand and grow up. The result was to finally let go of the paintings (did you notice those were still on the site as late as 2009?) and focusing on jewelry. The rebrand included getting a grown up logo, starting to design seasonal collections, redoing the packaging and of course a cleaned up site.
Pardon the tiny photo, but this was the first version of the new site before the logo and final touches were done. How I wish over the last 13 years I had taken a screen shot of every version of the MT page…it would be a big file, but I really would enjoy seeing them progress. Anyway, the graphic designer finished the new logo and the site became this.
Another tiny photo…I have no idea why only 2010 are this small. Anyway, over the next couple of years, this site evolved and became less and less pink, as web site styles changed, lines were removed and by 2013 the above site had evolved to this one below.
The text bubbles were not part of the design, and from a facebook post or something, but it was all I had from this area…again, kicking myself over that. I was going for a cleaner and cleaner look and really liked how this era of the site looked. But once again, I was facing the dilemma of my jewelry being becoming more mature than the branding. I have talked recently enough about the process that happened next so I’ll skim over it. In short, I hired a brand management consultant to work with me over the past year + to take Manic Trout to the next level. And with that level of course came a new version of the site. I had help on this one from a graphic designer and 3 programmers to each contribute in someway to what you see now if you visit ManicTrout.com and since their help in the fall/winter of 2014, I have kept going and tweaking and changing to make it what it is now. We’ll call this the 2015 because as you can imagine, it never ends!
Crazy to think that I made the first Manic Trout page so, so many years ago, but really glad that today’s anniversary gave me a chance to gather all of this in one place. Here’s hoping that this year is the lucky 13!