Where do I begin? There is so much I want to say. Developing ShopPolished has been exciting, and incredibly stressful, but it wouldn’t be work if it wasn’t! Most importantly it has been a HUGE learning experience. If there is one piece of advice I could give to anyone interested in building a website, it would be to do your research with who you hire, and trust your instincts.
I did an online search to get quotes on web developing and received emails from 3 prospective companies. I had a phone conversation with one out in San Diego and felt an instant connection. He seemed to really understand my vision, and I was enamored by his skill. I signed a contract and off we were developing what was to be my life, my career, ShopPolished.com. He seemed very organized with his online project management system where he delegated work between myself, him and his staff of designers and coders.
So where did we go wrong you ask?
These qualities came to an abrupt halt. I started to notice either he, or his designers were not taking my critiques seriously. Whenever I said not to do something, they did it. If I asked for something, they ignored it. I stayed true to my ideas and pushed forward. Then the weekly meetings became far and few in between and the line of communication began to drop. Forget the project management system, we fell way off that timeline around week 3. I was always quick to provide feedback and get content over as quickly as possible, as any eager business woman would do. Though, the weeks would pass, the excuses would multiply, and I was left wondering on numerous occasions if my developer had abandoned the project.
Keeping as calm as I possibly could, I stayed positive in hopes of believing in this team and praying that no one out there would honestly be trying to sabotage me. Let me tell you, knowing that your fate is out of your own control and lies in the hands of another is a VERY unsteady feeling.
When the deadline for completion (July) had come and gone, I wrote a professional and honest email expressing my concern and willingness to do what it would take to move forward and get this going. Again, the elaborate and seemingly honest excuses came flying my way but I prayed again things would turn around. I went ahead and made all of my Fall/Winter ’11 inventory purchases and set a new deadline, NO LATER than October 31st.
You guessed it, MAJOR FAIL!
It is Halloween night and no word on our progress. “Lisa, I don’t know where my coder is, he is either dead, sick or quit and I don’t know which of the 3…I can finish it but you will need to scale down your design templates…Also, I am closing my business…” So now I come to realize the heartlessness of whom I was dealing with and, well ya, had a break down. I started reaching out to everyone I knew and making calls to figure out what to do to at least pick up where he left off. The quotes seemed so unreasonable for the small amount of work that had to be done. Until I got a name from a friend of a friend. (You never know who people may know!) Matt Gooding, a freelancer who works under the name Matthew David Design, my savior!
Matt looked into the backend of my site to see what we have been developing and what now needed to be done. He even tried to reach out to the man responsible for this whole mess. When he nor myself got a response, (shocker!) he took matters into his own hands and got to work. He has been able to complete the site in a basic format that allows me to go live. On top of it, he’s doing it without any templates or work from the original company. As many times as I have asked for all the work to be turned over to me, it hasn’t happened.
Why the reason for my story?
It’s been a trying time learning the ins and outs of e-commerce and internet functions. My vision is far more advanced than what we were able to pull together in order to go live in time for the holidays. It has been discouraging to not be able to launch with the full design templates I created initially. I am now taking a deep breath and appreciating every moment Matt has spent working hard to get ShopPolished live (within just a few days!). He has reminded me it is “a work in progress,” and I am okay with that… as long as you are all able to shop the site with ease. I hope you enjoy the clothing, and what is to come!