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Today, BigCommerce is proud to share more about our partnership with Solange Knowles to re-imagine and re-launch her Saint Heron online store. The online store was first revealed at an exclusive SXSW launch event and party featuring Sun Ra Arkestra and the various designers and creators featured in the new Saint Heron online store. The expanded curated collection pays homage to the roots of Saint Heron’s birth –– as a compilation album first released in 2013 featuring up and coming musicians and artists.

Now, Solange is looking to take the success of that album –– and subsequent forays into ecommerce in 2014 and 2015 with Puma –– even further, using her platform to highlight diverse, up and coming creators who share her artistic vision.

“When I was growing up, the world was a little more black and white in terms of how artists and creatives could express themselves and through what specific avenues of their work,” said Solange Knowles. “But the world has changed and moved so rapidly. There’s so much access to information and inspiration. It’s only natural that this generation wouldn’t ever feel bound to those limitations that society may have put on people.”

Technology Meets Artistry

However, bringing an artistic vision and community space to a digital environment can be difficult from a technical perspective, which is why Solange and team looked to BigCommerce to build out a modern, aesthetic online experience that inspires and engages audiences.

“Relaunching the Saint Heron store has been an inspiring journey that elevated the brand to a more collaborative and beautiful place. At the heart of everything, the way Saint Heron looks and feels to our community is essential to its identity, and we couldn’t have achieved the same result for the Saint Heron store without BigCommerce,” said Solange Knowles.

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Indeed, the ability for artists today to launch their own brands and online stores without sacrificing creative elements is becoming more and more essential. For songwriters like Solange in particular, streaming services don’t produce much revenue, which has led to a rise in alternative models like Jay Z’s Tidal or YouTube’s acquisition of BandPage. It remains unclear, however, if these new models will gain mass adoption and begin to produce adequate profits for musicians.

Influencers as Tastemakers

In the wake of this music industry disruption, there is one thing that musicians have going for them: massive fan followings and subsequent platforms for elevation. Many artists are looking to launch online stores where they can create and curate goods as a tastemaker for their fans. After all, influencer partnerships work well for retail brands like Flash Tattoos, which partners with celebrity influencers, or Shabby Apple, which partners with multiple well-known fashion bloggers.

To make the online store relevant to an artist’s fan base, however, the site needs to reflect the artist’s world point of view, style and expected experience. This is something that rings true for all online stores, especially as competition from industry influencers continues to increase. The recognition of this trend is why BigCommerce released our first batch of new, customizable themes for the market in February, with additional themes launching soon. It was one of these themes that Solange and team chose and then customized to create the online store experience that is the Saint Heron store today.

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While a creative on-site experience is a key aspect of success for many online stores, it is an especially important requirement for those like Solange who have built their brand off their creativity. Her vision, aesthetic and personal touch needed to be represented at every single point of interaction on the site.

“Selling online today is about delivering a beautiful experience that brings your brand to life and connects with your customers. BigCommerce’s themes are designed to help brands like Saint Heron create these connections in the digital world,” said Andrea Wagner, Head of Design for BigCommerce. “Solange has always had a strong vision for Saint Heron and she and her team did a fantastic job of bringing their story and voice to life with the new store.”

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As for Solange, the digital revolution and quick change in the channels and mediums through which today’s artists can connect with their audiences is unparalleled. Stigmas and boundaries are being removed and there is little reason for any up and coming artist to limit themselves. For established artists like herself, Solange sees her role in the process as complementary –– and a way in which to bring her childhood dreams to realization.

“I’m really grateful that I’m able to emote and create through all these different channels and mediums, even my entrepreneurial endeavors, because I use them all to communicate very different messages that are all very important to me,” said Solange Knowles. “Whether it be writing a song, or curating an installation, creating a website or art directing, I try to always ground my work with a narrative that speaks to the girl in me growing up and the ways I wanted to be heard and represented.”

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And integral to her approach, which speaks volumes to her artistic endeavors, was a refusal to concede on her unique business approach to the industry. Like so many trailblazers before her, this dedication to vision remains at the core of long-term success.

“It’s important that Saint Heron visitors have a fulfilling experience on the new store, and I didn’t want to compromise color, style or my unique approach to design to deliver that,” said Solange Knowles. “With BigCommerce, I didn’t have to give up any key elements and could even convey a stronger energy with the options their platform provides.”

For more information about the partnership and new store, head on over to the Solange Knowles and Saint Heron x BigCommerce page.

For any additional questions or thoughts, leave them in the comments below.

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