A lesson on auditing your store

So you've installed a new theme on your store and you noticed it still doesn't quite have everything you need. That's where Design Packs comes in! This week we're talking to our good friend and Shopify OG Anne Thomas. We'll dig into Design Packs, auditing your store's theme, and maybe ASMR.

Let's dig in!





Anne Thomas

Anne Thomas, Co-founder of Design Packs, has over 13 years of experience in web development and has helped create some of the best Shopify themes in the market. She spent 4.5 years at Out of the Sandbox as the Technical Director working on themes such as Turbo and Flex. Her knowledge of the Shopify platform runs deep and when she isn’t working on Design Packs, she’s consulting with Shop Critique offering up Shopify audits!




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show notes.

  • Who are you and what do you do?
  • How often should a merchant conduct an audit of their store?
  • You offer three different types of audits: Technical + UX, SEO, and marketing. If I'm limited on funds, where should I start?
  • What is generally included in a technical or UX audit?
  • What are the biggest errors you see across sites?
  • Tell us about Design Packs! What are they and where can we buy them?
  • How do we use design packs? How often do release new ones?
  • Let's talk getting an app into the app store. What was the experience like?
  • Getting reviews for your app
  • Book you recommend?
  • Store shoutout: Sweet Flower Bake Shop
  • Store shoutout: Pangaia
  • Store shoutout: Monday
  • Where can we find you on the internet?



Kelly (00:00):
So you've installed a new theme on your store and you notice it still doesn't quite have everything you need. That's where Design Packs comes in. This week we're talking to our good friend and Shopify OG Anne Thomas. We'll dig into Design Packs, auditing your store's theme, and maybe ASMR. Let's dig in.

Rhian (00:22):
Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.

Kelly (00:27):
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce.

Rhian (00:37):
Hey Kelly, let's say I can't write code, but I want to create workflows that carry out repetitive tasks automatically. So that way I can focus on my business and create great customer experiences. What would I use?

Kelly (00:51):
I recommend Mesa, a no-code workflow builder for any action your customer takes. You can use Mesa's built-in features to extend your connected apps, set up email notifications, receive forms, schedule tasks, delay workflows, and much more. Developers like me also love Mesa because we can lift the hood on any automation to customize for total control.

Rhian (01:10):
Okay. I'm in. How do I start?

Kelly (01:13):
Go to getmesa.com. That's G-E-T-M-E-S-A.com, and their team of automation experts will support you on your journey 24/7.

Kelly (01:27):

Rhian (01:29):
Hello, good day. Hi Anne, how are you?

Anne Thomas (01:33):
Hello. I'm so, so good. How are both of you?

Kelly (01:37):
Doing great. I noticed when I read the hook, I was like, that's where Design Packs comes in. I'm like, oh, look, this is just an ad. I did too many ad reads, clearly.

Anne Thomas (01:51):
I'll just steal that.

Kelly (01:51):
There you go. [crosstalk 00:01:55].

Rhian (01:55):
[crosstalk 00:01:55] Take the clip, repurpose it. I love it. I love it. So [crosstalk 00:01:58]-

Kelly (01:58):
[crosstalk 00:01:58] talking about creative comments licenses, do whatever you want with it.

Rhian (02:04):
So Anne, we know who you are, but for our listeners, who are you and what do you do?

Anne Thomas (02:11):
Yeah, so I like to think of myself first and foremost as a web developer. So I've been doing development for about 13 years now, but, funnily enough, that's not my original path. I originally started in art history of all things, but I've been doing web development now for a long time. And I got involved in Shopify about five years ago I'd say, I built my first custom theme at an agency. And then I went to work for Out of the Sandbox. And so helped work on Turbo and Flex and Artisan and all those great themes. So yeah, that's me.

Kelly (02:48):
And what do you do now?

Rhian (02:49):
Yeah. What do you do now? Also I want to say you're in great company because none of us have degrees in technology.

Kelly (02:57):

Anne Thomas (02:58):

Rhian (02:58):
Social sciences, liberal arts. That's the vibe today.

Anne Thomas (03:02):
Perfect. Perfect. Yeah. So what do I do now though? So now I have built an app called Design Packs with my very good friend, Trudy. She's also an amazing developer. And as you heard from the intro, it adds on sections and templates to existing themes. And then when I'm not working on Design Packs, I also do audits for Shopify stores, specifically technical and UX audits. So that's a lot of fun helping people figure out why their site could be slow or the best different apps to use and how they can improve conversions and that kind of thing. And also do some freelance dev work on the side. So just trying to keep busy.

Kelly (03:48):
I can't imagine you're busy at all, nothing to do.

Anne Thomas (03:52):
Not at all. Nope, nope. Lots of free time.

Rhian (03:55):
I see you have the Kelly approach of, how hard can I work before I puke?

Anne Thomas (03:59):

Kelly (04:01):
But I haven't puked yet. So I'm doing okay.

Rhian (04:05):
We talk about if I don't think that's the benchmark that we're going for. I think dry heaving's fine. And then ... I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.

Anne Thomas (04:14):
I think Kelly's got the ... she's been doing the entrepreneurial thing a lot longer than I have. I just started in August and it is a wild ride [crosstalk 00:04:22] to have to figure out everything that you had other departments to take care of, all of a sudden it's all on you and it's a lot to learn. So yeah.

Kelly (04:32):
What do you mean I have to do sales and accounting and customer support and everything?

Rhian (04:35):
I've got to do my own books? What?

Kelly (04:39):
That's why I'm very careful when I call myself a CEO because I don't report to a board. So it's not like really the true CEO, I'm doing air quotes there. My take on it is chief everything officer, because that's my life.

Anne Thomas (04:56):
That rings very true. [Crosstalk 00:05:00]

Rhian (05:00):
Very, very true.

Kelly (05:00):
Okay. So let's start with audits because I also love talking about audits. And so we're going to have some fun here. How often should a merchant conduct an audit of their store?

Anne Thomas (05:13):
Oh, I don't want to just answer, "It depends." However, I think-

Kelly (05:20):
Ding, ding, ding, ding. It's always the answer. [crosstalk 00:05:23]

Rhian (05:24):
One of my friends texted me the other day. He's like Rhian, what do you think about XYZ? And it's related to like a cannabis store and there's all these rules about ... and my answer literally was, "It depends." And he said, if you scroll up three scrolls, you answered a different question with "It depends" a week ago.

Kelly (05:42):
It's the correct answer.

Rhian (05:44):
It's the correct answer. So keep going, sorry.

Kelly (05:47):
It depends.

Anne Thomas (05:49):
It really does. So it depends, but it depends because every store, just like people, are unique. So it's kind of hard to have a blanket statement in terms of when people should go and get outside help. I would say that something that people should be pretty active about is just learning the basics. Not necessarily trying to say, oh, okay, I'm going to become an expert in UX, or I'm going to become an expert in SEO or an expert in whatever, but learning the basics and then trying to figure out how they can audit their own site because there's lots of different blog posts up there.

Anne Thomas (06:24):
And there's lots of different things that you can read to at least get a baseline of, hey, if we're talking about self-auditing, I would say at least once a month look at your own site on your phone and go through and make a purchase and that kind of thing. And then if you get to the point where things are really slowing down or your conversions are dropping or something like that, then yeah, look at getting outside help, but it's going to be very different for every single merchant and every single store.

Rhian (06:52):
So you offer a few different kinds of audits. Is that correct?

Anne Thomas (06:57):
That's right.

Rhian (06:58):
What kinds?

Anne Thomas (06:59):
Yeah. So I've got two co-founders. So Jess Joyce, who is an amazing SEO ... I said this before, but she doesn't like to call herself an expert, but she is a consultant. SEO is her jam, basically. So she conducts SEO audits and then I conduct the technical and UX audits. And then Laura looks at marketing. So that's everything from the social media accounts to how your Google analytics is set up and things are coming in there and how your general branding and that kind of thing. So, yeah, that's the three different audits that we offer.

Rhian (07:38):
So if I was a merchant and I'm limited on funds because I'm just starting up, which one of those audits should I pick?

Anne Thomas (07:47):
Well, they all cost the same. So I know it's a hard choice to make, but one of the things that we also do, which I've done with a couple of merchants and I think can be very handy and they can talk to either just myself or Laura, is one-on-one consulting. So we offer one-on-one consulting for an hour or two or however long someone wants. So it's not going to be as in-depth as looking at everything on their admin and that kind of thing. But at least it gives people an idea of what they should be looking out for tailored specifically to their site. So that would probably be the lowest entry option.

Kelly (08:22):
I think that's a great option, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. Let somebody tell you what you need and then go from there.

Anne Thomas (08:31):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I'm always happy to chat to people as well. We have free 15-minute discovery calls to just hop on and see what people's needs are and that kind of thing. So, yeah.

Kelly (08:43):
So what is generally included in a technical and UX audit?

Anne Thomas (08:48):
So a technical UX audit looks at if there are any performance issues happening with the site, if there are any app conflicts that are happening with the theme. So for example, looking at the console log, if there's anything that ... a lot of people, this happens where you'll install a ton of different apps, and then they'll just uninstall them and not realize that code snippets are left behind. So looking for things like that. Looking at how they may be able to find a less expensive app or they have duplicates of apps that are there as well.

Anne Thomas (09:19):
So that's more of the technical side. And then the UX is really looking at ... there's sort of a checklist that I go through in terms of, are they following best practices? Are there any obvious things, like a giant carousel with no calls to action and that kind of thing. So, yeah, it's pretty comprehensive and they get a big PDF report at the end. And the feedback that we've gotten from a lot of people is that it's nice because it's prioritized as well. So you can kind of figure out, okay, here's the top 5 or 10 recommendations that we would recommend as opposed to, here's just a bunch of information, now you don't know what to do with it.

Kelly (09:58):
Okay. So I'm curious because The Taproom, my company, also does technical audits, but we also do the implementation of our recommendations. So how do you handle that? I know you do freelance development on the side as well. So are you doing the implementation too?

Anne Thomas (10:14):
So if I have bandwidth, then we do offer something called a flex fund where there is ... we can go in and do a certain amount of hours and sort of clean things up and that kind of thing. Otherwise we have partners that we work with that we can recommend so that people know that we're not sort of leaving them and okay, what do you do with it now? We've got trusted people that we can [crosstalk 00:10:33] yeah, exactly [crosstalk 00:10:35] yeah.

Rhian (10:37):
You have all these errors on your website. You're losing so much money. [crosstalk 00:10:41]

Anne Thomas (10:40):
Yeah. Good luck. It's interesting, too, because something that we make sure to put in there is there's things that they can actually do themselves. So for example, like their navigation, right? So something like that where you're just changing your navigation, they don't need a developer for that. So, yeah.

Kelly (10:59):
Okay. So you've audited a number of websites by now. What are some of the biggest errors that you see across sites? What are common mistakes?

Anne Thomas (11:13):
Yeah, the one that ... and this one is probably because I had worked for a theme company for so long, this one always just jumps out at me right away. And that's people are running just a really ancient version of the theme, really just old, old version of the theme. It happens a lot. It's very rare [crosstalk 00:11:32] yeah, it's very, very rare that we go in and do an audit and they have the most up-to-date version of the theme.

Kelly (11:37):
It's usually because they just installed the theme and set it up. And then they're asking ... yeah, I remember, I think it was last year, we inherited a project and the theme had not been updated since 2012.

Rhian (11:52):
Oh, so no sections.

Kelly (11:54):
No sections.

Anne Thomas (11:55):
Did it still have the mobile view?

Kelly (11:58):
This one did not. [crosstalk 00:11:59] Thankfully. For merchants who created your store a little bit later, once upon a time Shopify had two different views for your website, your desktop view and your mobile view. There were two separate themes.

Rhian (12:14):
There was an app, too, that had to make it mobile. In the olden, olden days.

Kelly (12:19):
And then responsiveness became a thing that was readily available, add two lines of code into your theme about Liquid file and boom, your theme is responsive outside of everything else that you have to do with it, but that's the core piece of it. And then Shopify eventually went back down to one single theme, which makes everybody a lot happier. There are still some stores that are doing two themes.

Anne Thomas (12:43):
Yeah. Funny story, actually. The nonsection themes are actually ... I mean, granted the one that I saw, it didn't really have any content in it, but it was super speedy.

Rhian (12:56):
There's so much more performance. Yes.

Anne Thomas (12:58):
Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Kelly (13:01):
It really goes to show that you can add a bunch of things to your site and think that you're making improvements to the user experience, but you're really slowing it down.

Rhian (13:10):
Ain't that the truth? Not that anybody asked me, but that's the biggest error that I see across sites.

Kelly (13:18):
It's also your podcast. [crosstalk 00:13:20] So nobody has to ask you.

Rhian (13:21):
That's true, well yeah, I know that Anne's our guest and I have a loud mouth. So I just wanted to make sure that I'm not like, oh, well I have many feelings on this topic. Also I will die on these hills. So-

Kelly (13:34):
I don't know, we can spend some time just discussing all kinds of mistakes that we see across sites, because we all see them. I mean, you touched on one that I see all the time, which is having multiple different versions of apps installed that do the same exact thing, or just having legacy code in your theme from apps that you have not used for a very long time. And you can tell, because there are a number of apps that have gone through rebrands. And when you see the old name of an app still in your theme, it's been a minute since this was cleaned up.

Anne Thomas (14:10):
Yeah. It's so true.

Rhian (14:12):
Well, I was going to say, especially when it comes ... because I have an SEO app. So I'm always thinking about SEO. It's when there's multiple instances, we see this a lot, I'm sure y'all see it a lot, of metatitles and metadescriptions and you're like, you can't have more. No, that's not how this works. You have all of this and then you have no alt text too. It's always at the same time, there's two things are true at one time. And those are the two things and neither of them are good.

Kelly (14:42):
Yep. All the time. All the time.

Anne Thomas (14:44):
I think it's interesting because, especially having done the audits now, so many of them, and also running my own business, I have such more sympathy too, for people that are like, oh, I'll just install a bunch of these apps. And hopefully they'll just be a quick fix and it'll be exactly what I need because that's kind of how I feel sometimes about like, oh, I just need a quick fix for the best accounting or the best marketing or what have you. And yeah, it takes time and it's hard to find the best solution. So yeah, I understand the impulse for sure.

Kelly (15:25):
Hey Rhian, what can I do to help my support team be more efficient?

Rhian (15:28):
I recommend Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communications channels, including email, SMS, social media, live chat, and phone, into one platform that gives you an organized view of all help requests. This saves your support team hours per day. It makes managing customer orders a breeze.

Kelly (15:47):
Sounds great. What else can it do?

Rhian (15:49):
With Gorgias you can pre-write and save responses to your most frequently asked questions. You even have access to the customer's order information, so you can personalize responses with things like an order or tracking number. This then frees up your time so your support team can focus on complex questions.

Kelly (16:07):
This sounds like a great way to also increase sales and brand loyalty. Where can I learn more?

Rhian (16:11):
To request a demo, visit commercetea.com/gorgias. That's commercetea.com/G-O-R-G-I-A-S.

Rhian (16:29):
So, you have Design Packs. What are they, where can we buy them, et cetera?

Anne Thomas (16:41):
So they're on the app store, and it's interesting because if we take it back one second to talking about a common thing that I see in audits, one of the other common things that I typically see is people using text that's been embedded in images, so it's not live text. So I know Google's getting better, but at the moment, I don't think it's quite there in terms of reading text and images across the board.

Anne Thomas (17:12):
So one of the things that is nice about Design Packs is that it's for creating all of these different, interesting layouts and homepage sections, as well as page templates that you can just add directly to your theme. So rather than saying, oh, I want this really cool-looking layout or this really awesome section or something like that, we're providing that, they're $19 each. So you can kind of play around with different ones and that kind of thing. And they've all been built in a way that I like to think is performant and they're very minimal code. And then they just add on to any theme. So we've namespaced them and made sure that things work and yeah, that's Design Packs.

Kelly (17:56):
I'm curious, do you offer updates to the existing Design Packs? How often are you releasing new ones? How does that work?

Anne Thomas (18:07):
We try to release at least three new ones a month, the way our current cadence has been going. Our app has only been out there since January. So I should put that as a caveat. So we've recently been looking more into doing specific blog templates. So we've got a couple different page templates, we've got a different lot of homepage sections. Initially we focused more on features, but we're really going down the line of design now in terms of making sure that they're really interesting layouts and that kind of thing. So the newer ones have gone that road. So if you want all of them and updates for however long you want, it's an annual subscription of just $199. But if you want just a one-off one, then you get updates for 30 days and it's $19.

Kelly (18:56):
$199 you said? That's like $16 a month. That's a good deal.

Rhian (19:03):
That's worth it. I was like, that's it? Up your prices. So I have a question for you related to blogs because we all know that (sorry, Shopify) the blogs need some ... the blogging feature ... I'm trying to dance around this.

Kelly (19:27):
You want me to help you?

Rhian (19:28):

Kelly (19:29):
Shopify is an e-commerce platform, not a blogging platform.

Rhian (19:31):
Yeah. But the blogs are so important, right? So tell us what you're building, if you can, for blogs, because I'm asking for myself, not to steal it, but to use it. Other projects I'm consulting on are like, tell me more about your blog Design Packs. I think I want to use all of them.

Anne Thomas (19:55):
Yeah. So I will say again, they're not released just yet, but we've got one out that is just sort of a different layout. So we're using CSS Grid to do interesting layouts and that kind of thing for the blog regular, where you see all the articles and then we are going to be going down a path for actual blog posts as well. There's some really cool things you can do just with Liquid where, for example, if there's a link to a product, we can show that product at the bottom of the article. So I think that the reason that I get so excited about Design Packs is if you're a developer, there's lots of different tutorials out there in terms of how to do a lot of these different things. But what we're doing is we're saying, okay, if you're not a developer yourself, we want to make it easy for people to have this kind of functionality at a price that's not going to be hugely expensive. So that's the goal.

Kelly (20:52):
I'm curious, as a developer, how much control do I have over the code if I wanted to make some changes to one?

Anne Thomas (20:58):
You have full control. So unlike other page builders, the code gets added directly to the theme.

Kelly (21:04):
See, that's also a great thing for developers, because imagine how much time this can save you.

Anne Thomas (21:09):
Oh, huge amount of time. Yeah.

Rhian (21:11):
And that means it plays nice with other apps too.

Anne Thomas (21:14):
It does. Yeah. So since everything is ... it has its own separate JavaScript and CSS file. And again, everything has been totally namespaced so it's all prepended with ... it's not going to interfere, basically.

Rhian (21:27):
I love that.

Kelly (21:28):
Developer term for this is our code and you know that it's our code and we're not going to override anything else.

Anne Thomas (21:34):
Yeah. And it's interesting too, because again, doing the audits, I wanted to make sure that it was very obvious which were Design Pack files. If someone wanted to go in and delete everything, it's very easy to find that and remove it.

Kelly (21:46):
I love that.

Rhian (21:47):
I have a follow-on question. How are you doing this without ... are you concerned that people are going to infringe on your IP without the ... I can't say it-

Kelly (21:59):
Obfuscate? Obfuscation?

Rhian (22:01):
Yes. Obfuscation of your code.

Anne Thomas (22:04):
Yeah. That was definitely a concern that we had and Trudy and I have sort of batted around some different ideas in terms of the licensing and that kind of thing. At the moment, you do need to keep the app installed. Otherwise, there's some files, like we've got the script tags working, so those get removed. So it definitely ... so far so good in terms of no one has come along and just taken everything. But yeah, it's definitely something that's on our radar, for sure.

Rhian (22:40):
I very aggressively protect our company IP, which is why I'm asking, because when we're talking about it, in my head I'm like, so that means that people can see everything, oh no. But I can't wait to play around with your product. I haven't had the chance to, so I'm very excited. And I have another follow-up question. So you got an app into the app store. I have gotten a couple apps into the app store myself. Do you want to talk us through-

Kelly (23:08):
I have not.

Rhian (23:09):
What that experience was like? You will one day, Kelly, maybe.

Kelly (23:14):
Maybe. If I want to.

Rhian (23:16):
If you want to.

Kelly (23:18):
Speaking of wearing a lot of hats. [crosstalk 00:23:21]

Anne Thomas (23:22):
[crosstalk 00:23:22] add an app to your laundry list of things.

Rhian (23:25):
I'm like, I've got an idea.

Kelly (23:26):
I've had moments where I was like, I will text Rhian occasionally and just be like, hey, so I have this idea for an app. I'm going to be taking the next few days off for a vacation. Should I build it? She's like, no, take your vacation.

Rhian (23:38):
Yeah, like that's not what a vacation is. A vacation is when you don't work, I hear. I have yet to go on a vacation where I don't work, but allegedly that's what you do.

Kelly (23:50):
So all this to say your experience getting an app into the app store.

Anne Thomas (23:55):
Yeah. So, I mean, obviously I would not have ever been able to do it without Trudy. So Trudy runs an agency in Toronto called Up at Five. And so she very luckily partnered up with me. And so in terms of the actual submission process, we had no idea what to expect really, but they actually provide a really good checklist of things. The biggest thing that actually tripped us up was having in the featured images, having text in there, and it was like an automatic rejection which you then have to change. So yeah.

Kelly (24:39):
Awesome. How long did it take?

Anne Thomas (24:41):
So I had been building the ... so we're a good mix because Trudy does ... well, she does front-end development as well, but back-end development. So she sort of built the backend of the app. And then I built the majority of the sections and templates, although that's sort of evened out a bit now. So we built it over the holidays. So we both had a lot of time over Christmas break. And so we just decided to do it.

Kelly (25:11):
That is awesome. See? Vacation. Just take some time off and build an app.

Rhian (25:20):
I love that. I can't write any code. Well, that's not true. In my stack, [crosstalk 00:25:26] I can write code. I can write code. I got a short stack though. I have of- [crosstalk 00:25:33]

Kelly (25:32):
You're just generally short as well.

Rhian (25:34):
I am just generally short as well. I'm short and I have a short developed technical stack. So you're in the app store now, our listeners can find you if they search Design Packs in the search query bar on the Shopify app store. Is that correct?

Anne Thomas (25:53):
Yep. [crosstalk 00:25:55] That is correct. Yep. Yep. Oh, I was going to say, myself and Trudy personally, we're the ones manning the ... well, womenning the support email. So yeah, that's the other thing too is that I'm happy to help people with setting things up and yeah, very all hands on deck kind of thing.

Kelly (26:15):
That was actually going to be my question is [crosstalk 00:26:20] yeah, going from working for another company to going the entrepreneurial path, taking on literally everything, how has the experience been on being the customer support side?

Anne Thomas (26:34):
So it's interesting, one of the things at Out of the Sandbox that we always did was the development and the support team, it wasn't siloed. So if it was super-busy on support, we would often go over and help and that kind of thing. It was very nice that way, because I think the best way to do any sort of product development or that kind of thing is talk directly to the people who are using it. So in that way, I wish more people would write in. I'm going to knock on wood because I feel like I shouldn't say that, but we just launched in January, so I just want to talk to people and figure out what they're struggling with and how we can help them and yeah.

Kelly (27:17):
How about getting reviews for your app?

Anne Thomas (27:20):
Yeah. So that has also been tricky for sure. One of the things that we've been doing is just a lot of outreach to find stores that could potentially be using them. So it's often people that are either using free themes or themes that may not have, again, these extra specific page templates and that kind of thing. So we've been chatting with a lot of them. So we're up to four reviews. Woo hoo!

Rhian (27:45):
Yay! For those listening and you're like, four reviews, it's very difficult. I have a lot of users across my apps and we have probably in total sub-2,000 reviews. It is hard to get a review on an app.

Kelly (28:05):
Yeah. People love leaving reviews when they're unhappy.

Rhian (28:07):
Very much.

Kelly (28:08):
But when they're happy, they don't think about leaving a review.

Rhian (28:12):
Well, I think there's this ... well, I don't think, I know that there's this thought that a lot of app companies are bigger than they are and funded. So there's this expectation to behave like a large company. And then you're like, no, there's five of us. There's not that many of us, we can only do so much. And that's something that I know has been a struggle for us. I don't know if you've seen that happen yet where folks, they kind of expect something that is Shopify enterprise level. And-

Anne Thomas (28:52):
Right. Yeah. At this point, really Designed Packs is literally two people, Trudy and I, and we are fully bootstrapped, you know what I mean? We don't have funding, we don't have all of this, so it is our blood, sweat, and tears kind of thing. So yeah.

Kelly (29:09):
So what are your plans moving forward?

Anne Thomas (29:12):
So ideally get more users on Design Packs. That would be lovely. Yeah. Just get the word out there about them. I think they're pretty great. I think a lot of people that have played around with them really enjoy them. And so just again, improving the design and making sure that we're putting more out there each month and that kind of thing. So yeah, that's really the goal with them.

Rhian (29:37):
So this is a big transition away from apps. And this is just onto you. What book do you recommend?

Anne Thomas (29:46):
I wish I could pick one that was like a really cool book that I was reading and it really influenced me and that kind of thing, but honestly, one of the best books, and I bring it up all the time weirdly, is The Manager's Path by Camille Fournier. It is fantastic. I read it when I had just started doing ... I was managing a team and was kind of feeling a little bit like, oh, I don't know how to get my bearings here in terms of leadership and that kind of thing. And it is just so well-written and so specific for anyone that has come up in a tech-focused company. It's really, really good. And I think the nice thing about it is that it has content for people that are just starting out in their career as a developer, for people that are being managers, and then managers of managers. It's just really, really good.

Rhian (30:46):
I have not read that one yet.

Kelly (30:47):
Nor have I. Thank you for the recommendation. That's fantastic. I'll be adding that one to my list.

Anne Thomas (30:54):
Ironically, it's not that helpful for entrepreneurs that are just starting out like myself at the moment, but again, for anyone that is going along that sort of developer's path and then sort of wants to figure out how to get into more of ... or they're wondering, oh, should I go down the path of being an individual contributor or be more of a manager? It's just, yeah, it's fantastic.

Kelly (31:18):
Okay. So we have two final questions for you. The first one is the one we always love to do in all of our episodes where we name a store that we'd like to shout out, whether it is a cool design, cool product, something you just generally enjoy, you know nothing about, but you've decided to shout out that store. There are no rules. We just shout out a store that we think about. So Anne, putting you on the spot, what store would you like to shout out?

Anne Thomas (31:47):
I'm going to shout out ... it is a delicious product. That's the descriptor I'm going with, delicious, because it is, it's called sweetflour.ca and they're a Toronto company. And I think the best part about them is, during the pandemic, it's sometimes hard to show you care to people. So it's nice because they will do deliveries. And so you can deliver all these delicious baked goods. And they're always amazing.

Kelly (32:17):
I love it. I assume they don't ship to the US.

Anne Thomas (32:23):
I don't think so. I'm sorry.

Kelly (32:25):
Guess I'll just buy it for all my Canadian friends. Rhian, what's your store shout out this week?

Rhian (32:31):
My store shout out this week is Pangaia, which our friends over at We Make Websites just won an award for, congratulations to Piers, Alex, and the team. And the design is just beautiful, it's just gorgeous. I mean, really, truly, the UX is beautiful, the loading on it is really smooth, which I know sounds oddly specific, but it's important. And I can't wait to buy one of their bougie sweatsuits.

Kelly (33:07):
Well, you're totally going to buy it.

Rhian (33:08):
Yeah. I know. It's on brand for me. Of course I have to have one. Kelly, what about you?

Kelly (33:16):
So I have given this store a shout out in the past, but it is time to give them another shout out. The store is Monday. I shouted it out before because they sell nonalcoholic or zero ABV gin that's delicious. And we always keep it in stock. Well, they are officially launching their zero alcohol whiskey. So I already reserved my bottle. Very excited for it. Probably should reserve more than one, but we're starting with one and that's drinkmonday.co. The site is really cute too.

Rhian (33:58):
Yes. I love their branding.

Anne Thomas (34:00):
See now I wonder if they ship to Canada. [crosstalk 00:34:04].

Kelly (34:04):
Let's find out.

Rhian (34:05):
There's no alcohol in it so at least-

Anne Thomas (34:07):
Well that's true. That's true.

Rhian (34:08):
You know? The answer could still be no here. [crosstalk 00:34:12] That's always a barrier that can't be overcome.

Anne Thomas (34:17):
The general rule is unlikely, but you never know.

Kelly (34:22):
Some places do, but yeah, I don't actually see anything about where they ship to. Hey, Monday, if you're listening, please note where you ship to on your website and thank you [inaudible 00:34:33].

Rhian (34:36):
So Anne, last question of the day, where can we find you on the internet?

Anne Thomas (34:43):
It's funny, I don't really have a personal portfolio site anymore, but you can find me on Twitter, alfalfaanne, there's a AA, apologies. Also shopdesignpacks.com and shopcritique.com.

Kelly (35:01):
So the one thing we did not touch on in this episode that I mentioned at the beginning is ASMR.

Rhian (35:04):
Oh yeah. Do we just whisper into our microphones now? You have reached the end of this episode.

Kelly (35:17):
Thank you, Anne, so much for joining us.

Anne Thomas (35:19):
Thank you for having me.

Rhian (35:19):
Thank you so much. We appreciate [crosstalk 00:35:22].

Kelly (35:24):
I don't think that's ASMR.

Rhian (35:30):
Can you tell I know nothing about ASMR?

Kelly (35:31):
Oh my God. Oh my God. So that's why have fun on this podcast. I cannot wait to hear how that part comes out. But really, Anne, thank you so much for joining us. This was so much fun to record and I'm excited to see the growth of Design Packs.

Rhian (35:55):
I'm so excited.

Anne Thomas (35:55):
Me too. So I can't thank you enough for having me on, this was honestly tons of fun.

Kelly (36:03):
Awesome. So thanks so much for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. We have a YouTube channel. You can visit it at youtube.com/commercetea. If you like our podcast, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts. If I say please three times, will you leave a review, please, please, please? Please make us really happy. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Wednesday. So grab your mug and join us then. We'll see you next week.

Rhian (36:29):

Rhian (36:34):
Clocked In is a time clock for Shopify. With Clocked In, your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop, tablet, or mobile. Check it out at clockedin.io or in the Shopify app store.


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