Jigoshop Showcase #3 Bowerbird Art and Vintage Store

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We love to see the great online shops which are being created using Jigoshop, and this is a series highlighting the amazing stores that have come to our attention. If you’ve gone live with an implementation of Jigoshop, and would like to be featured and promoted, email [email protected]

Bowerbird Art Collective and Shop www.shopbowerbird.com

Bowerbird is an interesting art and vintage collective which was started by sisters-in-law Kate and Laura Roebuck to showcase their own work, plus that of friends and vintage pieces which would fit into their product collections. And when they needed a ‘cool, custom site which carried a slightly DIY aesthetic but was simple enough to let the pictures tell their stories’, they went with Mississippi-based English expatriate James Kelleway and his Confit web design business – and it looks like they made a damn good choice!

“I knew they would only be selling around 30 products at any given time so they would need a small focused store. I had been put off taking on e-commerce based sites for a while due to a bad experience with another very popular WordPress e-commerce plugin about 18 months ago. I was toying with the idea of going back to the aforementioned WordPress e-commerce plugin when I saw a tweet from Smashing Magazine featuring Jigoshop.

I wasn’t due to start working on the project until August but I took a quick look and decided instantly that Jigoshop was the right tool for the job: It looked lightweight yet extensible and easy to theme without hacking core files. I knew I had some larger e-commerce projects coming up towards the end of this year so I thought I would try the plugin out on this smaller store to see if it would be suitable for larger projects. To say I was pleasantly surprised is a huge understatement.”

“Using the plugin out the box was incredibly simple as was theming. Using the default store theme as a base, I was basically able to theme everything using css overrides & actions and filters. For instance, we had no need for the larger description & product reviews section…simple, add one line of code in the functions.php file to remove the default action.

I did run into a few issues with the large number of !important declarations in the default frontend.css file but I gather they have been removed in the latest version (I am waiting for the next major release before upgrading). The only real other issue I had with theming was that, for some reason, I could not get the hook to re-size the default “tiny” image size to implement correctly so I had to go into a couple of files and pull in my own custom post thumbnail. I know that configurable image sizes will be part of the next major release though.

I have to say what I loved most about using Jigoshop is that it just worked. Testing was an absolute breeze, training Bowerbird to use the site was painless & when I did need to delve into the code to find what I needed, the files were cleanly written & easy to navigate unlike the thousands of buggy lines of code I had to try and get my head around in the previous plugin I used.

The times I came to the support forums for help, my questions were answered promptly, and even if there was no initial solution, I had the peace of mind that someone (Jeff!) had let me know that they was on the case.”

As you can tell from the screengrabs, the fact that James was able to get Jigoshop running quickly and easily has meant that he was able to spend time crafting the actual design of the site, and we think he’s done a fantastic job. The look and feel really suits the artistic nature of the site, and the products are able to sell themselves via some nice images.

The use of colour is fairly subtle but works well, particularly with the hierarchy of links to social media profiles and the Featured Items will keep you exploring around the product catalogue as there is always something interesting capturing your eye. It’s a really nice, clean design which allows you to focus on the products and information straight away, and it really leads you into temptation and purchasing something.

One of the things James did mention as a feature request is the ability to really customise emails, and although the email plugin is still evolving, hopefully he’ll be pleased to know that you can now plug Campaign Monitor straight in, which allows you to use every tool available as part of their email service.

And we’ll leave the last words to James, as he’s managed to make us blush… We can’t wait to see his two new projects, and if you want to contact him, visit Confit web design.

“I have found everyone at Jigoshop/Jigowatt to be amazingly helpful, knowledgeable, and passionate about their product. I’m sure that Jigoshop will not only survive but flourish. It is for this reason that I feel confident using Jigoshop on two upcoming, more extensive e-commerce projects (watch this space) & will continue to use it for the foreseeable future”

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