Building a Successful Store With Big Cartel

Editors note: This is a guest article from Gareth Harris of Catapult Themes.


If you’re currently running a clothing brand, or you’re about to start one, take a look at our essential tips below for creating a successful online store with Big Cartel. We’re also offering one reader the chance to win a free Big Cartel theme.

Big Cartel

In case you’re not already familiar with it, Big Cartel is an ecommerce platform that helps independent and smaller brands sell their goods online. It’s the platform of choice for many t-shirt and apparel brands, mainly because it’s affordable but feature-rich.

About us

At Catapult Themes, we provide premium Big Cartel themes. Although the platform comes with a few free themes, most store-owners quickly find they need a more professional appearance for their store – which is where we come in. Currently we have a choice of nine themes featuring essentials like animated sliders, greater social media integration, responsive layouts for mobiles and tablets, and search engine optimization. All the themes are easy to configure and you can quickly update fonts, colors and your logo from within the simple-to-use Big Cartel interface. You don’t need to know any code.

In addition, we offer support, advice and tips to all Big Cartel users via our blog. We recently posted a case study on one of our clients, One Of Us Apparel from the UK, which contains some great tips for anyone starting up an online apparel business.


OOUA caught our eye initially when they went straight into the list of Big Cartel’s top ten stores on the day they launched. You can see the full case study here, plus we’ve distilled some of the best advice below into three essential tips:

1. Social media is king

According to Graham Frost at OOUA, ‘social media is paramount to making sales. I personally prefer Twitter and Instagram because you can follow hundreds of people per day, most of whom will check out your store and follow you back.’

A really active social media presence was the key to OOUA going top ten on their first day. By announcing their go-live on all their social media accounts virtually simultaneously, they had a ton of views on their site, propelling them into the Big Cartel’s list of top stores.

The key here is to build up your social networks prior to launching: that way, you have an army of people waiting to hit your site on day one.

2. Get models to model for free

A really neat trick that Graham came up with was to find models who would publicize his products free of charge. You can do this too – social media sites, and particularly Instagram, have plenty of models who are willing to take photos of themselves wearing your branded goods. Just send them some free product and they’ll post the images on their accounts. You’ll notice on the OOUA homepage that they’ve added a live Instagram field to showcase anyone who uses their hashtag.

3. Get your customers to promote you

In the same way that models will happily promote your items for you, you can also get your customers to do the same. Once again, social media is the key to this technique: when you make a sale, follow up with the customer. Many people will follow your Twitter account – tweet them and ask for an image of themselves wearing your clothes.

This is actually a really effective marketing technique. People are more willing to buy products that are endorsed by their peers – it’s the reason why customer reviews on Amazon are such a massive sales driver. If you see people have positively endorsed a company and its products, you’re more likely to buy from that company. So follow up with your customers, even when they’re not professional models.

Thanks to Graham at OOUA for his insight and ideas on how to market a Big Cartel store successfully.

Win a free theme

We’d like to offer the chance to T-Shirt Magazine’s readers to win a free Big Cartel theme. All you need to do is tweet us on @CatapultThemes and tell us why you’d like one of our themes. If you don’t want to tweet, you can just leave a comment on the blog post.

We’ll pick the best and send you the theme of your choice. The competition will end January 31, 2014, and we’ll inform the winner the following week. Good luck!