Ah! Today is a big day for us. I feel like I just built a new house and am inviting you inside to look at it for the first time (and then judge the hardware I chose for the cabinets and the tile on the bathroom floor). Since I don’t own an actual house, my little corner of the web has been more or less “home” since I started blogging in 2011, and it’s just undergone its biggest makeover to date.
The biggest change is that we are officially dropping the “Files” part of Closet Case Files. From now on, we will be solely known as Closet Case Patterns. It was a little confusing with the two names (one for our pattern line and one for our blog), and I felt I had outgrown Closet Case Files without really knowing where else to go. Ditch Closet Case entirely for something new? Go for something more generic like Closet Case Studio? In the end, the branding team I worked with persuaded me to stick with Closet Case Patterns, so that’s where we’re at. This won’t affect much for you – we’ve redirected our URLs and all of our account names have been changed on social media. I guess my biggest request here is that if you’re tagging our patterns on Instagram, you stick to #closetcasepatterns from here on out. Closet Case Files is dead to me now. (Aww, little weird blog pun name that never made sense, you’ll always have a warm place in my heart. Now scram).
This makeover has been a long time coming, and I’ve been squirrelling money away for a while so I could pay for it. Whenever I brought up the redesign to peers or friends, most people would say, “Really? Why waste the money? Your site looks fine.” I never really felt that way. I have patched together this business over the years with help from a few folks, and at times I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of critical decisions that needed to be made. While I consider myself a fairly well rounded designer type, I never felt fully confidant about how things looked. I’m not a graphic or web specialist – that takes years to master – and I always felt the overall look of our brand and site could be more more functional and beautiful under a professional, critical eye. “Fine” and “good enough” weren’t really what I was after, so I decided it was worth the significant investment to hire pros. And I am so glad I did.
Ready for a trip down baad memory lane? This is what the site looked like way back at the beginning when I was using blogspot as my server. Oh blogspot. So helpful to get online quickly, so useless when it comes to design or functionality. I think I traded a handmade dress for a little graphic design help from a friend. I was so glad to leave this site for WordPress.
Here’s what things looked like until a few weeks ago. I designed this site about three years ago using a totally inappropriate wordpress theme I hacked to death, and it got downright painful to use it as the years went on. BU-BYE.
And here’s where we’re at now. So much more functional! Much easier to navigate with big, beautiful blog post images. I am so in love. Is it wrong to want to make out with a website? *plays Barry White record*
The biggest changes to the site are in the menu, and I encourage you to go explore if you’re curious. Rather than use traditional drop-downs, we created big, visual “megamenus”. I think they’re much nicer to look at, and they give a fuller scope of what this business is all about (making awesome stuff).
I wanted to make it super easy to get into the archives; I’ve been blogging for over six years and there is a lot of great, helpful content that kind of gets lost with the passage of time. We now have a special Sewalongs and Tutorials page that collates all our most helpful posts in one area. We also redesigned the page for all my personal makes, if you’d like to see all my personal sewing projects over the years.
I’m also really happy with our new Sewing Classes tab; it’s now super easy to see all my upcoming in-person workshops, along with our growing list of online classes (our new jeans course is launching in two weeks!)
Some of my favourite updates happened in our online store. Using our new megamenu, it’s a snap to shop by category in the shop.
The main product page is much prettier; I especially love the way thumbnail images change to the pattern technical drawing when you hover over it.
I really wanted to improve the functionality of our online store and make it super easy to see pattern details at a glance. Our new product pages are much easier to navigate, and by clicking on the different tabs you can easily see the description, fabric requirements, and supplies needed, as well as more in-depth file details like page counts and sewing level for each pattern.
Best of all, at the bottom of each product listing we’ve included two big yellow buttons that will quickly take you to all blog posts associated with that pattern (making it super easy to access all the online resources we offer with each release) along with a link to the Pinterest board where you can see all the beautiful variations our customers have made and posted to their blogs.
I want to give a massive thank you to the awesome team that made this all happen. I was really lucky to find Four Oh Seven, my new web and brand designers. I felt a kinship with them immediately, and it was such a relief to fill out all their (very) detailed brand questionnaires, and then hand them the reins to figure out the nuts and bolts of how things should look and feel. I think there is a real tendency with entrepreneurs to feel like we can do it all, but sometimes you need to realize your limits. I never could have accomplished what they did here. They are able to look objectively at the whole picture and see what needs to be done, while keeping my needs and your needs in perfect focus. It was worth every hard earned penny to bring them on board. I love you ladies.
Finally, none of this would have happened without my superhero developer, Sarah at Spun Monkey Design. She’s marvelous and amazing and I am so happy I got to work with such an awesome team of women to bring this all together!
I just love our new site so much (if that’s not obvious yet), and I’d be super happy if you had a chance to explore (and maybe let me know whether anything is weird or broken – I’ve been eagle-eyeing everything for weeks but things slip through the cracks). I’d also love to chat about the changes we made to the overall brand, but I’ll save that for later this week since it’s a lot of ground to cover in one post.
So… what do you think of the new site?!