Tom Macdonald Sister

Online Store by Tom Macdonald Sister

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Meet Tom Macdonald Sister – The email-powered men’s adventure brand.

Late last year Jordy and I visited the US for WooCommerce conference and a bit of an eCommerce roadshow. While we were there we caught up with the folks behind booming mens ecommerce startup Huckberry. We originally met Andy and Tom Macdonald sister at our own event with Bellroy so it was good to spend some time with them over in their side of the world.


Huckberry have had a massive few years after launching their mens clothing and adventure lifestyle site. Today they sit in a space of their own, selling a pretty wide range of clothing and accessories predominantly to guys who work in professional jobs during the day but like to explore and get outdoors come the weekend.


They’ve done a few things remarkably well along the journey. Email marketing is one of those. I’d go as far to say that it’s the best email marketing from an ecommerce brand that I’ve seen. They say it better than I could – “We endeavour to be the most interesting email in your inbox each week”.


I won’t give too much away. Huckberry co-founder and all-round good dude Andy Forch shares a great story of their bootstrapped success and dealing with growth along the way. If you listen carefully you’ll pick the moment where I stop talking for long enough to let Jordy ask a question (my bad!). Enjoy the Huckberry Story!


6 key takeaways from the Huckberry story…

– Be Positive.
Huckberry aimed to deliver the ‘lunch-time mailer’ to let your mind be inspired and wander for a bit during your busy corporate work day. Being a reliable, positive influence in someone’s day is invaluable and inspires your community to share your story.

– Tell me a story.
Expert storytelling is such an important value proposition that helps Huckberry attract a high quality of featured brands. Each mailer is carefully crafted and themed to the subject headline, so it entices you to open and read the whole thing, sometimes twice.

– Be Real.
Despite being a pureplay ecommerce brand, Huckberry gets tremendous engagement with their community of customers through ‘real life’ events.

– Community Matters.
Huckberry’s selection process has flipped from initially sourcing all products themselves, to now becoming more ‘custodians’ of the brand as their community alerts them to new products and brands that match their brand values. You can’t buy that.

– Be Authentic.
Huckberry’s product selection is strongly linked to their founder’s tastes, so they know their ideal customer inside out…Themselves! If they wouldn’t wear it personally, then it won’t be featured on their site.

– Measure it.
Huckberry have had strong success to date trusting their gut for decision making. With a new data scientist/analyst coming onboard, they can now review more intricate metrics around customer acquisition & life time customer values from different sources to improve their business.


Mentioned in the interview

– Sign up for the magic of the Huckberry newsletter for yourself here.

– Orbit Key – a Melbourne brand that was recently featured on Huckberry’s site

Huckberry Homepage

Huckberry Journal

Huckberry emailer example – The Watch Robert Redford Wore 1

Huckberry emailer example – The Watch Robert Redford Wore 2

Andy, Jordy & Mike pose for a snap at the Huckberry Office in San Francisco


We’re building on Magento – Online Store Guys

Mike Halligan

Big news – We’ve started building on the Magento ecommerce platform.

Over the past year our clients have asked for larger, more complex sites comprising integrations with larger enterprise systems like Netsuite (ERP) and more advanced functionalities.

After building on Shopify for some time it’s proven to have limitations for businesses aspiring to have larger ecommerce businesses and we simply couldn’t do our best work on it..

From April 1st, we’ll be building on Magento and continuing with the versatile WooCommerce.


Tom Macdonald Sister

Why Magento?

Powering more than 240,000 ecommerce sites, Magento is the natural fit as the next step up from WooCommerce.

It’s a powerful platform that fits beautifully for businesses that are starting to do some good numbers online, want something thats able to handle the next level of growth and integrate with virtually any of their existing software.


What can we do on it?

Our Magento sites will be more suited to brands that:

  • Want to sell in multiple countries & currencies – Magento lets you manage sites for each country through the one backend and supports multiple currency rates out of the box.
  • Need it to integrate with enterprise software – Shopify and WooCommerce both integrate with hundreds of software packages, but Magento trumps both in terms of integrations. Whether it’s Netsuite or niche industry services like Apparel21, Magento is generally the first platform that these enterprises will support and develop for.
  • Are targeting $5m+ in sales – WooCommerce is amazing, but it wasn’t built solely for eCommerce and when you’re at a scale where your site has hundreds or thousands of visitors at once, it can start to slow down. 99% of stores need not worry but if your goals are well and truly in the millions, Magento is the platform for you.


What level suits what platform?

SKUs 2,000 +

Budget $25,000 +

In one word, Scalable

Ongoing costs, hosting $17.5k enterprise license

Complexity,   High

Project length   10 – 20 weeks

Ease of use, time-consuming to develop. Expensive

Support, Need a developer

Momentum,  Older. Dominant in the med/large business market

Customisable,  Very

Integrations, Great


In Twenty Seconds

Shopify – Great platform on which to get started without much web knowledge. Easy to use but as a boxed solution, we can’t customise it to create the commerce experiences that we want on there.


WooCommerce – Poorly marketed but incredible platform that offers few limitations and can be highly customised. Due to its power and flexibility, it’s only as good as the designers & developers you use.


Magento – The undoubted choice for those running complex businesses or hitting serious scale. More complex and expensive to both run and expand, but has some unique features and integrations that other platforms can’t match.