A Message from Danielle
I started Duck Soup E-Commerce five years ago after more than a decade in the e-commerce startup world. My goal was to make building an e-commerce business easy and fun for every entrepreneur with the dream of owning their own business. In those five years, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to work with hundreds of amazing budding and established business owners, selling or manufacturing great products in just about every industry. From each one of them, I’ve learned something new, and my dedication to providing personalized services has never been greater.
My career began as a receptionist at an entertainment company. Not the job I had imagined after getting a BA in Music and Women’s Studies at Vassar College in New York, but it was a learning experience. I was let go two days before Christmas for “not being perky enough on the phone”, a skill I certainly never learned at a school where debating and challenging the status quo was encouraged.
Thankfully, I found a part-time job doing customer service at a startup e-commerce company that managed the official online stores for entertainment companies. It was a really small operation with only a handful of employees, and there were no procedures in place to ensure that customers received what they ordered online. Backorders piled up, customer emails went unanswered – it was a crazy, hectic mess. Since there was no one in charge of “customer service”, I put in place processes for tracking backorders, organizing order invoices and responding to customer calls and emails.
Within a few months, I was promoted to assistant Store Manager, where I worked on the MTV, Comedy Central and Fox e-commerce websites (including my favorite show, The Simpons). I learned how to create a merchandise mix, place purchase orders, take inventory, write product descriptions and communicate with clients. Soon I was a full Store Manager and my list of stores grew. When the company went out of business during the famous “dot com crash”, I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew it would be online.
After bouncing around through part-time jobs and short-term gigs just to pay my rent, I finally landed a position at Shoes.com as an email marketing and reporting specialist (this was before they called it “analytics”). When Overture came out (later Yahoo’s paid search division), I built their first pay-per-click campaign. I think it only had about a dozen keywords! I went to marketing conferences, started doing advanced email segmentation, spoke at a web analytics convention and just kept learning everything I could. Working with the COO and President, I learned about operations, shipping and distribution, call centers and contract negotiation. After five years, I was Director of Online Marketing with a team of seven people under me and an annual marketing budget of close to $20 million. My primary responsibility was the website’s usability, conversion optimization and overseeing the company’s customer experience.
When Shoes.com was acquired by Brown Shoe Company (now Caleres) and relocated to St. Louis, I decided to see if I could take everything I had learned and start my own consulting business. I found a few marketing clients, but it wasn’t enough. Then I discovered BigCommerce and built a small e-commerce website for my custom throw pillow hobby. The HTML I had picked up in a college computer science class, combined with my merchandising, operations and marketing background – finally it all made sense. And that’s when Duck Soup E-Commerce was born.
One of my favorite things about working with the internet is that nothing stays the same for long. There’s always a new technology, marketing channel or business strategy to master. I love sharing the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired over the years with my clients. The sound in their voice when all of a sudden, the complex idea or strategy we’ve been discussing finally clicks – that makes even my longest days worthwhile.
Just like the internet, my business has evolved over the years. My clients have challenged me, shared innovative ways of doing business, pushed me to be a better designer and a more well-rounded businesswoman. And that’s my favorite part of what I do. No two projects will be alike and there’s always something unexpected right around the corner.
I can’t wait to discover what I’ll learn from you.