Ecommerce specialist Venture Forge has won a competitive pitch to build a new multi-channel platform for fair-trade furnishings business Myakka.
Venture Forge, which was set up by Andy Banks, the former head of ecommerce at Matalan in 2018, beat at least two other agencies to secure the contract and has been praised by Myakka for its ‘super smooth’ handling of the build which will enable the brand to further grow their fair-trade furnishings business online.
Myakka wanted to move away from its existing ecommerce platform, which was becoming a blocker to growth, and on to the Shopify Plus platform. This needed to be done seamlessly, with no customer or negative commercial impact and with no disruption to the day to day running of the business. And it all had to be completed in just five weeks.
Venture Forge CEO Andy Banks said: “With a deadline of five weeks it would have been all too easy to try and solve the challenge by throwing resource at it. But by staying true to our values of intelligent innovation and dynamic progress we took a different approach; one of focus, prioritisation and agility over one of speed.
“With an immoveable deadline and by working as one team with Myakka, we took a minimum viable product approach to the re-platform and worked iteratively across the five weeks to deliver as much value as we could together. By focussing on results and outcomes, we created a way of working that allowed us to share progress, prioritise issues and functionality and deliver what the business really needed for a transition on deadline day.”
Myakka, based in Somerset, sells beautifully handcrafted, sustainably sourced furniture and home décor. It has been a holder of the Ethical Award since 2009.
Myakka founder Georgie Hopkins said: “At the initial discussion of the project Venture Forge instilled confidence and understanding of not only the Shopify Plus platform but also the commercial aspects of our business. With Venture Forge’s experience in online furniture retailing, we had great confidence in both their technical and commercial ability.
“They provided us with great project management which gave a real sense of security and priority. Nothing was too much trouble. We were always offered creative solutions to issues and most importantly, Venture Forge were honest. When an answer wasn’t known, or obvious, research was completed to ensure we chose the best solution for our business.
“Venture Forge provided a super smooth launch from a bespoke, in-house website across to the Shopify Plus platform. Andy was instrumental in delivering a beautiful, functioning site with uninterrupted service and fluid management of priorities.”
One of the main advantages that Myakka saw in Shopify Plus was the ability to buy into enterprise-grade capability while not requiring an enterprise-sized team or technical resource.
Andy added: “This was a real opportunity for Myakka to increase their e-commerce capability whilst reducing the technology burden on their business. By removing complexity, and standardising their approach to ecommerce, Myakka has been able to remove technology as a barrier to their future growth and can now focus on building their business, not their platform.”
Venture Forge was brought in to deliver this initial piece of work but is now working with Myakka on a longer-term basis.
Venture Forge was established in 2018 and has offices in Halifax and London. It has worked with some big retail players since then including fashion brands Nicole Farhi and Wolsey, as well as children’s bedding business Character World.