Wildfang, TEDxPortland, and the power of “Yeah, Maybe”

Posted on Fri, April 21, 2017 in eCommerce, Magento, by Alicia Nagel

A Standing Ovation at TEDxPortland

At GRAYBOX we love to see our client-partners thrive, and Wildfang’s Emma McIlroy did just that this past Saturday at TEDxPortland. She spoke of how valuable it is to have encouraging friends and fans, and how it’s important to surround ourselves with people who help us see possibility instead of planting seeds of doubt. Central to her talk, was Emma’s assertion that friends who say “Yeah, Maybe” open doors while a friend who says “Yeah, Right” close them.

Wildfang is a lifestyle brand that had 20,000 women join their cause in the first 30 days after launch back in the Spring of 2013. A self-confessed brand marketing nerd, Emma McIlroy shared with TEDxPortland attendees how she got the company started and hit the ground running – including the quick realization of how vital a website and online sales would be to her brand’s success.

Sharing Inspiration at TED

Hard work might be what gets a company started, but heart is what keeps it going. In her talk, Emma told the story of the launch and wobbly growth path of her brand, and didn’t leave out tales of the hardships she faced. This wasn’t surprising, as she was starting a lifestyle brand in uncharted territory. What I think surprised everyone, was when she cited the strongest source of inspiration that fueled her fire.

It came in the form of a letter from an 11-year-old fan who reached out to Wildfang and professed her enthusiasm at finding kindred spirits and sense of belonging. Emma displayed an image of the hand-written letter and read it outloud for the nearly 3,000 people in the audience. It was an authentic appeal from a fellow badass young lady, just starting to bud into womanhood. At a difficult point in the business’ life, the love that came through the letter inspired Emma to draw upon her reserves of hope and determination. She thought back to the openness of her friend who first said the open-minded, “Yeah, Maybe” when she heard of Emma’s idea for the brand.

The cherry on top was when Emma revealed that the young author of the letter was there in the audience, and Emma asked her to stand and thanked her in front of everyone. TED attendees were quickly clapping and rising for a standing ovation – and if they were like me, they were also misty-eyed.

Empowering Others to Succeed

This made me realize that everyone in the audience, and our team at GRAYBOX, are inspired by watching others succeed. As a digital consulting firm, what ultimately makes us the most satisfied is when we can empower our client-partners to realize their full potential. Wildfang is crazy awesome. They are incredible on their own but with our help, they can reach more eyes, more hearts, and grow their message and brand further than they had imagined. It’s thrilling to witness their success, and we congratulate them on the honor of being asked to speak at TEDxPortland! We are thrilled to be your digital partner!

Our Client Partnership With Wildfang

Wildfang is a retail clothing store self-described as, “Streetwear-inspired style & fashion for women who like to raise hell.” They worked with several digital firms in the past year before they came to us for help. Wildfang needed a variety of improvements for their Magento ecommerce site, the most important of which was to increase overall conversion rate. They also needed a hosting solution that was powerful and flexible enough to handle serious spikes in retail traffic. Their products regularly receive celebrity endorsements and whenever that happens, customers all clamor to purchase the item at the same time, which was overtaxing their previous site’s servers.

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