When ShopLocket cofounder and CEO Katherine Hague once wanted to sell some ninja T-shirts, she found herself stuck, feeling that the cost and process of building a whole storefront to do so didn’t make any sense. Seeing a gap in e-commerce options between all the bells and whistles of building a virtual store and throwing a posting up on Craigslist, Katherine and cofounder Andrew Louis started ShopLocket to provide a microshop tool to embed products into whatever platform you’re already using, from Facebook pages, blogging sites, and beyond.
Creating A Happy Workplace
Having gone through a Toronto accelerator, raised a seed round of $1 million in funding, and expanded to a team of seven since 2011, ShopLocket is now focused on understanding their sales funnel and growing their product team. Throughout this progression, Katherine’s been careful to ensure that ShopLocket’s culture remains strong and employees happy by cultivating a workplace where people actually like to be.
In starting ShopLocket, Katherine explains, “We wanted to create a place where we wanted to work. A lot of that creating a happy place comes from the Zappos mentality but we’d heard a lot of stories of people who woke up one day to realize that they’ve created a company where they don’t even want to go.”
So ShopLocket works hard and ping-pongs hard, and they purposefully do so in a coworking space to foster collaboration, creativity, and collective energy. Telling me she was sitting at the space’s communal lunch table, Katherine elaborates on the decision, “We could have moved into our own office pretty early on, but it’s been important to us to be surrounded by other startups and other really smart people. It’s really collaborative and a fun, casual space.”
In addition, ShopLocket has flexible work hours in order to respect people’s time, autonomy, and judgment on when you think you work best, and with the office located in downtown Toronto, there’s not only a bustling community but easier, walkable commutes to work. “All of that’s been really important,” comments Katherine. “Everyone matters a hell of a lot to what gets done and making sure that everyone is happy and productive is really important to us.”
Pausing to Celebrate Wins and Good Times
With the hustle and bustle of starting a company, it can be easy to forget to take time to recognize successes and connect with each other. That was quickly remedied along ShopLocket’s continual quest to keep everyone happy and productive.
Katherine explains, “Early on we realized we weren’t really celebrating our successes. It was always just onto the next thing and ‘what do we have to get done?’. So we started being a lot more conscious about doing team lunches, celebrating people’s birthdays, doing Friday beers, and really being more conscious of the good things that are happening all along the way.”
To recognize and show off all those good things, ShopLocket even created a company timeline on their website, highlighting not just media mentions and milestones such as legal incorporation but also just “interesting things that happened along the way that are fun to us” — from people’s birthdays to new hires to hoodiedom.
Mindsets to Move Forward
ShopLocket’s culture of celebrating successes also means Friday demos to show off people’s work as well as using iDoneThis to share daily progress and open up sight lines for people with different roles to see what each other is doing. “It’s a lot about internal sharing and a lot less to do with oversight. iDoneThis keeps communication open and helps us each individually focus on our own productivity.”
What surprised Katherine about iDoneThis was actually a mental switch that the tool provided to improve personal productivity. Beforehand, according to Katherine, “We probably weren’t progressing as fast as individuals. I think iDoneThis has changed all of our mindsets to be a lot more action-oriented because at the end of every day you’re going to put together some sort of list of what you completed. The value is more the process of having to think about what we did that day, to be a little bit more conscious of how we spend our time.
“It’s about framing your mind: ‘this is something I want to work on and I want to complete it’, rather than the sort of day that’s ‘oh I did email all day but I didn’t do anything that was forward-moving for the company.’ It quickly changed our mindset to actually focus on completing things throughout the day, and the things that go into iDoneThis are forward-moving things, things that are not just clearing out our inboxes.”
We’re so delighted that we’re helping awesome companies like ShopLocket move forward on a path to many more timeline memories to come!