Perpetual Kid Laptop Hero@2X

Online Gift Company Embraces Child’s Play to Win in Business


94%220%154%
increase in conversion rateincrease in revenueincrease in average order value



Metrics reflect online sales from January 2020–June 2020.


Done with Adulting

Faced with the opportunity to pack up and move across the country to stay with their corporate jobs, Curt Eastman and Wendy Papula said no to relocating to California and decided to start an entrepreneurial venture in Virginia. 

The two were bored with corporate life. For them, it had become a mind-numbing reality they no longer wanted to invest in. Fun was the name of the new game, and Curt and Wendy decided to play it. In 2005, they launched Perpetual Kid, a self-described fun, unique, offbeat, and slightly irreverent online gift store.

Curt and Wendy bet that people were feeling the same way they were and needed laughs and good vibes to get through the work day. Their mission was to help adults recapture and entertain their inner child—hence the name Perpetual Kid. 

The store’s blend of unique and fun products combined with quality customer service catapulted the company to the next level. Just three months after the company’s launch, Perpetual Kid received its first national product mention on the Late Show with Jay Leno and another in Time Magazine. 

And just like that, the business outgrew Curt’s basement, and it was on to their first warehouse to make bigger and better things happen.

Adjusting to Life in the Fun Lane

As told to BigCommerce by Wendy Papula, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and Vice President.

In 2006 we moved into our first warehouse. In addition to hiring our first employees, we also relied heavily on friends and family to help us through growth spurts and growing pains. It was quite an experience shifting from corporate life to learning the ropes of running a warehouse.

We strived to make Perpetual Kid more than just a transactional online shopping experience like you'd experience with Amazon. We fully immersed ourselves in the emerging social networks and built a successful online community where customers interacted with one another. 

In 2005 we felt as prepared as we would ever be to jump into the world of ecommerce. Curt and I had come from very complimentary corporate backgrounds that worked to our benefit. I was experienced with online marketing and front-end website design and development, while Curt excelled in the back-end technology and operations for corporate B2B.


Hiccups and Glitches

As told to BigCommerce by Curt Eastman, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and President.

Our online store was originally on a platform called Monster Commerce. The company was a cutting edge startup. If there was an issue, it was fixed immediately and the company was always coming out with new features to help merchants succeed. 

The platform worked well for us until the company was bought by Network Solutions. The new company tried to bring corporate functionality to a small SaaS platform, but ended up killing it instead. 

The innovation stopped and bug fixes took forever. The platform would randomly merge our customers’ orders, and we would spend hours trying to separate them. It’s embarrassing to call a customer and say, "We know you placed an order and charged your credit card, but we have no idea what you ordered. Can you tell us?" 

We'd finally had enough, and that's when we decided to search for another solution.

“We strived to make Perpetual Kid more than just a transactional online shopping experience like you'd experience with Amazon.”Wendy Papula, Co-founder and VP, Perpetual Kid

Landing on BigCommerce

As told to BigCommerce by Wendy Papula, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and Vice President.

Before moving our ecommerce store from the now defunct Monster Commerce to BigCommerce in April, 2015, we did considerable due diligence on other SaaS platforms. We thoroughly ran Shopify, Volusion, Magento, and BigCommerce through months of testing for a detailed understanding of the differences between the shopper experience, front-end and back-end customizability and compatibility with our internal operations. Most of the platforms were much too restrictive, or already behind on current ecommerce technology, while Magento was overly complex.

We landed on BigCommerce as the clear winner. Not only did BigCommerce meet our required functionality, but we could see that their platform was progressing at a much faster pace than their competitors at that time.

BigCommerce was our first experience with apps versus costly custom development. It was a game changer for our business as we no longer had to spend thousands of dollars to see how our customers would react to a new feature or functionality on our store. To this day we still try out new apps on our store at least once a week. 


Finding Ecommerce Goodness

As told to BigCommerce by Curt Eastman, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and President.

The built-in BigCommerce functionality, reliability and support allowed us to manage marketing and other things to grow the business versus managing the website to keep it running. 

Wendy and I are both pretty competent and technical and so we like a system that we can actually get into and tweak. I have to be able to get at the data via import/export, and BigCommerce hands down had the easiest access to most of the data we needed.

“Not only did BigCommerce meet our required functionality, but we could see that their platform was progressing at a much faster pace than their competitors at that time.”Wendy Papula, Co-founder and VP, Perpetual Kid

The flexibility and groundbreaking strides of BigCommerce has helped us grow our business over the years in many unexpected ways. Their integration with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have exceeded our expectations of social ecommerce and positively changed the direction of our business on a dime. It’s been an amazing experience.Wendy Papula, Co-founder and VP, Perpetual Kid
Perpetual Kid Tablet@2X

More Goodness

As told to BigCommerce by Wendy Papula, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and Vice President.

After launching on BigCommerce, we enjoyed the ability to grant only specific store permissions to non-technical warehouse and office employees. It was our first experience with such an intuitive ecommerce back-end interface. It allowed us to train employees to perform operations that previously we had to do ourselves enabling us to work on more strategic aspects of our business.

BigCommerce’s regular town halls and webinars reassure us they are working to be the best ecommerce platform for our business. They proactively listen to their customers as well as keep us informed about platform updates and the evolving ecommerce market. This gives us a sense of confidence and security that BigCommerce is the right solution for us. Unlike our previous ecommerce platform, BigCommerce understands it can make or break companies based on how well they service the businesses that rely on them. 

That is incredibly important because it doesn't matter how cute the site is or what products you have; if your store site isn’t loading, that’s a huge problem.

The flexibility and groundbreaking strides of BigCommerce has helped us grow our business over the years in many unexpected ways. Their integration with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have exceeded our expectations of social ecommerce and positively changed the direction of our business on a dime. It’s been an amazing experience.


Selling on Facebook: A Love Story

As told to BigCommerce by Wendy Papula, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and Vice President.

Our love story with Facebook Marketplace and BigCommerce started a while back when we discovered we could send our entire catalog to the Marketplace with just one click. BigCommerce automatically syncs any product additions or changes, saving us time and earning us revenue. 

I have to say we were pleasantly surprised by the reception our products received when we went live on the Marketplace. Almost immediately people began to buy our products. It was within months that our sales on the Marketplace started outperforming other digital platforms we were using.

We’ve realized an average of 21% increase in revenue, 44% increase in the number of purchases, and a 49% increase in price per purchase order since going live on the Marketplace. 

Also, I really like Messenger. It allows us to interact directly with our shoppers and answer questions they may have about our products. I believe this is why merchandise returns are 17% lower on the Marketplace compared to the other digital platforms we use. Messenger gives us the advantage of responding within seconds on an inquiry.

Selling on Facebook Marketplace helps us target ideal customers by automatically introducing our products to customers that are either looking for something similar or might be interested in our product based on a variety of different signals. This has opened avenues to reach new customers we more than likely would not have reached otherwise. Facebook does the work for us by figuring out who wants to see our products and then getting them in front of potential customers. Selling on Facebook is definitely keeping us busy right now. Approximately 24% of our revenue comes from Facebook sales.

“BigCommerce’s regular town halls and webinars reassure us they are working to be the best ecommerce platform for our business.”Wendy Papula, Co-founder and VP, Perpetual Kid

Growing Bigger. Getting Better.

As told to BigCommerce by Curt Eastman, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and President.

We’ve been in business for 15 years. We’ve gone from operating out of my basement, outgrowing 3 warehouses and are now in our 4th and largest warehouse. We’ve employed more than 1,000 people since we began and served more than one million customers. How’s that for progress?

Both Wendy and I are big kids. Our business tagline, entertain your inner child, is a philosophy we’ve always lived by! Whatever the future holds for Perpetual Kid, I guarantee it will focus on fun and functional products which help you find your happy place and forget the corporate drudgery and other negativity in your world.

As told to BigCommerce by Wendy Papula, Perpetual Kid Co-founder and Vice President.

We set out to build a company that would be fun to work at, and we’ve done it. Curt and I love what we do, which is part of the reason Perpetual Kid has become so successful.

As for the future of Perpetual Kid, we're always looking for the latest technology or digital trend to grow bigger, and I think we're going to see significant growth over the next year.

“Curt and I love what we do, which is part of the reason Perpetual Kid has become so successful.”Wendy Papula, Co-founder and VP, Perpetual Kid

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