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Performance metrics compare January–December 2020 to January–December 2019.
Jenny Phillips simply wanted to find a quality curriculum she could use to homeschool her children. However, she never imagined that not finding what she was looking for would one day lead her and her husband, Daniel, to build a multi-million dollar business from the ground up.
For a curriculum to pass Jenny’s specific test of approval it had to be:
Unfortunately, her search to find such a curriculum proved unfruitful. But Jenny, a gifted singer and songwriter, had some hidden seeds of creativity and entrepreneurship up her sleeve. She nurtured those seeds into The Good and The Beautiful, an international company producing pre-K through high school curriculum that offers language arts, handwriting, math, science, history and even electives.
“It quickly went from a nice thing that she made available for free to other homeschoolers as a PDF download to being a resource that was in high-demand. Before we knew it, a business was born,” said Daniel Phillips, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at The Good and The Beautiful.
After a few years of managing The Good and The Beautiful from the family’s basement, the business outgrew the space and Jenny and Daniel moved operations into a warehouse in Lehi, Utah. It was at this time, when the business became so successful, that Daniel quit his full-time job to help run the operational and finance side of the company.
“We were growing prior to COVID but if you look at our sales from 2019 to 2020, we increased top line sales by 322%. Our sales in 2019 were just shy of $8 million and our total sales in 2020 exceeded $32 million,” said Phillips.
Needing more room to grow
The business got its start on 1shoppingcart.com, where Jenny was already managing a website. She just added the curriculum to the site and parents downloaded the courses. “It was a fine platform when we were really small but as we increased our SKU offerings and as the volume of our sales increased, it just didn't have the technical capabilities to handle the size that we had grown to,” Phillips commented.
On top of that, Ashley Nielsen, Chief Administrative Officer for The Good and The Beautiful said, “The look on the front end of our website just needed to be prettier and more user friendly. We felt migrating to a headless architecture using WordPress would help us improve the user experience.”
Besides a better front-end experience for its customers, The Good and The Beautiful also needed a better back-end experience for fulfillment and shipping orders, which was an extremely manual process on the previous platform. “We found some really good shipping and fulfillment apps on the BigCommerce app store that made things significantly easier,” Phillips said.
“We found some really good shipping and fulfillment apps on the BigCommerce app store that made things significantly easier.”
BigCommerce’s headless solution expands the possibilities
The Good and The Beautiful evaluated a large number of platforms, but only seriously considered BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.
The brand shied away from WooCommerce upon learning from various developers that some plugins didn’t work well with one another and were not regularly updated.
Magento was too complicated of a solution. “We wanted something capable, scalable and big but it seemed like with Magento, we would need a big full time development staff on hand to program it,” said Phillips. “With BigCommerce the platform does most of the heavy lifting and programming.”
Where Magento was too complicated, the company found Shopify to be too limited. “As we looked at the various things we wanted, both for the customer experience and then for fulfillment, sales and reporting, it seemed like Shopify was a little too basic. If we were maybe selling a million dollars a year, that might have been something I would have looked at more closely, but it looked like we were too big or that Shopify was geared towards a smaller client.”
The company found in BigCommerce a platform that could scale with its growth – and learning about the various large clients already on BigCommerce proved a major factor in the brand’s decision to launch on the platform. Additionally, BigCommerce’s customer support reputation gave The Good and The Beautiful the confidence it would be taken care of if any issues were to arise.
“We really wanted to be on WordPress because of our particular niche market. We wanted the ability to include a lot of support and educational materials and videos as opposed to selling like a commodity. A headless client with WordPress would enable us to provide the customer experience we wanted,” Phillips stated.
BigCommerce’s partner agency, Modelic, was with The Good and The Beautiful from the start. The agency provided development expertise, added features to the site, and today, if there’s a problem that can’t be fixed by the brand's internal development team, Modelic takes care of it.
Apps and integrations that make shopping better for customers
“We’re using ShipStation for fulfillment and ShipperHQ to quote shipping costs to customers on the front end,” said Phillips. Additionally, The Good and The Beautiful uses Yoast for search engine optimization (SEO).
Facebook Shop and Instagram Shop are a part of the brand’s marketing mix. “The checkout process is not directly on Facebook or Instagram because people need to really research our products,” said Nielsen. “They're not just one of those one click and purchase type of products. It routes them to our website and we've had a good amount of success from both of those avenues of sales.”
“With BigCommerce the platform does most of the heavy lifting and programming.”
“We really wanted to be on WordPress because of our particular niche market. We wanted the ability to include a lot of support and educational materials and videos as opposed to selling like a commodity. A headless client with WordPress would enable us to provide the customer experience we wanted.”
“I remember the day we launched on BigCommerce. The response from our customers was nothing short of amazing. People were so excited about our new website. The customer support it offers, the automatic emails that it sends them and just the overall customer experience, I know is something that people really enjoy. I think that makes customers come back when they have a good experience.”
Fond memories and even better results
Having a headless architecture provides The Good and The Beautiful the platform flexibility to educate its customers about homeschooling as well as its curriculum and supporting products. The new website allows the company to connect well with its customers.
“I remember the day we launched on BigCommerce. The response from our customers was nothing short of amazing. People were so excited about our new website,” said Nielsen. “The customer support it offers, the automatic emails that it sends them and just the overall customer experience, I know is something that people really enjoy. I think that makes customers come back when they have a good experience.”
And come back they have. Performance metrics comparing 2020 to 2019 show a 72% increase in The Good and The Beautiful’s conversion rate, a 358% increase in orders and a 322% increase in revenue.
“BigCommerce has been really good for us as a company. It has helped us present ourselves intuitively and make it navigable for our customers,” said Phillips.
Growing into a force to be reckoned with
The brand is in the early phases of looking at warehouse management systems, which may be rolled out in 2022. However, for the foreseeable future, Daniel doesn’t see any major changes to the company’s ecommerce strategy.
“I think what's next is that we will continue to refine some of our products, roll out a few new ones and focus on capturing market share. Yeah, I think we'll just keep growing,” Phillips said.
Published: September 2021