Focusing on Gratitude

This time of year it's easy to focus on the hussle and not the gratitude

Nose to the grindstone. Peddle to the metal. Go. Go. GO! 

This time of year it’s especially important to slow it down, take a breath and appreciate what we have. 

I am grateful for my family. They are my best friends, my most vocal cheerleaders, and my rock solid support. 

I am grateful for my friends. There are the many, who help when they can, share thoughts, opinions, and really great advice. You guys rock, and I’m here if you need the many favors returned. There are also the few, who know they can call at 3:00 in the morning and I will get on a plane or grab a shovel, flashlight and dark trash bags without pause. Love you.

I am grateful for the country I live in. I don’t always agree, but I participate, and try to hold myself to the same high standards I expect of those in charge. 

I am grateful that I can do something as crazy and interesting as trying to change the way people shop online. Even though Stylaquin was designed for the way women shop, it turns out that having a more beautiful, engaging and memorable shopping experience is just another thing men and women have in common. Thank you to the men who set me straight. Each step in the journey has made me more aware of the complexities of online shopping and the web, and convinced me that creating a better user experience is more powerful than chat bots and AI.

I could go on, but I want to finish here by saying how grateful I am for the community of founders, entrepreneurs,  Shopify store owners, Shopify developers and all the other people as crazy as I am, working and growing in the online space. You guy are SO interesting and a blast to be around. 

I’m going to sign off and show my dog that I am grateful he chooses to hang out with me, even though I don’t give him all the attention he deserves, or all the belly rubs he asks for.

Thank you!

Enjoy your holiday

P.S. Below is an experiment I did a few months back to see if I could get AI to create an image of a turkey on a platter in the style of a woodcut illustration. Count the legs and notice which way the joints bend. Apparently AI has much to learn about turkey anatomy. We won’t even discuss the whole woodcut style thing.

Four AI generated images of a turkey on a platter done in a woodcut style. All are malformed in some way. Some with too many legs and the joints moving in the wrong direction.

Why engagement solves more problems than you think

Don't underestimate the power of engagement to get your Shopify store to the next level

You hear a lot of Shopify experts talking about SEO and marketing being what you need to focus on, but you don’t hear as much about engagement. What’s odd about that is engagement is the Big Kahuna in how Google ranks your Shopify site. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your site more understandable to the Google algorithm. It is, after all, just a machine. Google doesn’t actually view or engage with your Shopify site, it just indexes the site and collects data about the visitors who do visit. Sounds simple, and it is. Google doesn’t know if you have great photography, it doesn’t know if you spend hours creating deep and meaningful copy, it doesn’t know if you have the most amazing products ever. Google analyzes your site to see if it can identify what you sell; lawnmowers, perfume, sox—whatever, and then it tracks how visitors interact with your site. If you have beautiful photography, great copy, and amazing products, visitors are likely to stay longer and view more products. That’s what Google uses to determine if you are a good site to send its customers, the searchers, to when they type in a query that matches up with what Google thinks you have. Even if you advertise with Google, you are not the customer who Google serves. Google serves the searcher, because without searchers, Google doesn’t have a business.

Okay, so how does this help small Shopify stores (or large ones) who are trying to stand out in a crowded market in a way that Google can track and quantify? Increasing engagement really moves the needle. You have probably already spent time and money creating great photography, meaningful copy, and amazing products. If you haven’t tackled those, stop reading and get started. But most of you can engage and delight your customers so that they stay longer and come back more often with what you have already, just make it more fun to shop. Yes, shameless self promotion coming, Stylaquin is the easy way to make your site more fun than the rest. Stores that use Stylaquin have seen shoppers spend more time on site, view more products, and get more return visits. This all adds up to an increase in organic traffic, a better conversion rate, and more sales. Why? Because Google is just a machine that takes it’s direction from how users interact with your Shopify site. Make your site more fun to engage with and BINGO! Visitors stay longer, view more products and come back more often. Sounds simple, and it is. Check out the video and see for yourself.

Online sales disappointing? Try targeting power-shoppers.

Power-shoppers just love shopping

They are the online shopping elite, the folks who love shopping and enjoy shopping online. But how can you get them to stop by and stay on your site?

Who are power-shoppers?

Power-shoppers come in all shapes and sizes but they share one thing — they love to shop. It’s really that simple. They like finding new things and they shop for entertainment. They are the ones who always have the perfect gift and who others go to for recommendations.

How do you get them to your site?

They find new sites lots of ways, it’s their hobby, so they are always looking for new places to shop. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, magazine articles, friends and of course Google are all ways to get noticed. Post products and pictures that feature your best sellers, new and unique products. Don’t over-think it, just keep the feed full of what you sell. Ask customers to send pictures of themselves with your product and post them. Ask customers what their favorites are, start a conversation. Power-shoppers want to be entertained and engaged.

Make your site more fun and engaging!

Google is a tough nut to crack if you don’t want to pay for ads. Google’s customer is the person searching, not the company who buys ads. If Google doesn’t serve up great search results, customers will head over to other search engines. Google uses several metrics to select which sites to serve up below their paid ads, but the most important is engagement. The best way for them to determine if any site is going to please the searcher, is whether other searchers bounce, or do they shop and engage with the site?
The easiest way to get Google’s attention is to add Stylaquin to your Shopify site. Power-shoppers who use Stylaquin when they shop spend 70% more time on site, view over 100% more items and have a 3.5% higher conversion rate. They also return more often and buy more when they do. Google sees the increase in engagement and rewards the site with more customers—no additional ad spend needed. If you have a Shopify site visit the Shopify App Store to learn more about Stylaquin.

Animated gif showing a laptop that displays Stylaquin's Look Book Feature

Does Your Site Do This?

It can with Stylaquin! Stylaquin is the easy to add Shopify app that transforms your website. Stylaquin makes shopping faster, more engaging, and more fun. Stylaquin shoppers stay longer, view over 85% more products, come back more often, and buy more when they do. Find us in the Shopify App Store.

How-to Videos

Anti-racist resources for non-black people

While we have some good news to share about Stylaquin, my heart and soul are with the protesters who are changing our world for the better. My friend and neighbor, Ray Rickman, shared a list of anti-racist resources for non-black people. (I’m very grateful he reached out.) So I’m sharing that instead.

NB: Discomfort in engaging anti-racist action is expected. Lean into it. Discomfort is a part of growth. Interrogate the “why” behind your discomfort by talking about it with your non-Black family and friends. (Racism is not a Black problem, it’s not their responsibility to “fix” or educate white people.)

Racism is learned. Talk with your children and family about racism in America and the ways they can fight it.

Anti-racism is a continuous process. You are never done with your education and action and you must actively engage anti-racism in your everyday life.

If you would like a guide to send you something to do daily, sign up for Anti-Racism Daily with Nicole Cardoza. If you’d like to discover on your own here are some resources for your journey. Commit to doing at least one thing right now. It could be making a donation, signing a petition, or buy a book and reading it. Take the first step now, don’t put it off.

Action Items:

  • Donate to a local bail fund and mutual aid organization like FANG, AMOR, or the Massachusetts Bail Fund.
  • Attend and support protests. If you are unable to be among a crowd, show up with water, snacks, masks or medical supplies.
  • Sign petitions.
  • Buy from Black-owned businesses and restaurants in your area.

Books to read: (Happily I’ve heard many are sold out but there’s always Kindle.)

  • Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
  • “Eloquent Rage” A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
  • How to Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
  • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lourde
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabels Wilkerson


  • 1619 (New York Times)
  • About Race
  • Code Switch (NPR)
  • Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberle Crenshaw
  • Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
  • Pod For The Cause (From the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights)
  • Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
  • Seeing White
  • Hoodrat to Headwrap: a Decolonized Podcast

Social Media Accounts/Organizations to follow

  • Antiracism Center
  • Audre Lorde Project
  • Black Women’s Blueprint
  • Color of Change
  • Color Lines
  • The Conscious Kid
  • Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
  • Families Belong Together
  • The Leadership Conference on Cilil & Human Rights
  • MPower Change
  • Muslim Girl
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
  • SisterSong
  • United We Dream

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:


  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners: Books for children and young adults
  • 31 Children’s books to support conversation on race, racism and resistance


  • Parenting Forward podcast episode ‘Five Pandemic Parenting Sessions with Cindy Wang Brant’
  • Fare of the Free Child podcast


  • PBS’s “Teaching Your Child About Black History Month”
  • “Your Kids Arn’t Too Young to Talk About Race” Resource Roundup from Pretty Good
  • The Conscious Kid” follow them on Instagram and consider signing up for their Patreon.

Is Stylaquin right for your site?

How to get through a rough patch

How to get through a rough patch

I don’t normally share my personal life, but my personal life has taught me how to get through the rough patches so I decided to open up a bit. I grew up in a deeply dysfunctional home. Both my parents were alcoholics and when I thought things couldn’t get worse, my father died. I slept for a few days, cried till I was dry, then I got back up. I am grateful for all the people who helped me get back up. There were times I thought it would be easier to just stay down, but I got back up. It made me stronger.
I thought when I got to college things would smooth out. I came back from the library one day my freshman year to find I had gotten three calls while I was out, one letting me know that my friend Lisa had died, the second that Chrissy, the young boy I had babysat for years, had died, and the third that my cousin had been arrested for armed robbery and was going to jail. I hit the floor for a while, then I got back up. I’m grateful for all the friends who were there for me while I got back up, it wasn’t as difficult as the first time, but it was still hard.
Three years ago I invented a new way to shop online that can be added to any website and I thought wow, this is going to be amazing. I filed for a patent, partnered with David Sturman, an MIT Media Lab alum, and built Stylaquin. The numbers from our first site were off the charts, triple digits, crazy good, so I shifted from focusing on my catalog design business to focusing on Stylaquin. Then we got word that we’d been granted a patent. Whoop Whoop! Software patents are incredibly hard to get, you have to have something really new and unique. I was dancing around the office. I took the family out for a celebratory dinner that night and the very next day I got the call that I had stage 2 breast cancer. Talk about a buzzkill. Having gotten up a few times already, it was almost easy this time. My sister and I had so much fun on a visit to Dana Farber that we agreed it was “The best cancer ever!” Practice really does make perfect.
Covid-19 is bad. It’s a threat to our families, it’s a threat to our businesses and it’s a threat to our health. Every morning I break isolation to get radiation treatment, which lowers my immune system. I’m vulnerable in a way I have never been before and I am so very grateful for the staff who are working to help me get back up rather than sheltering in place with their families. Life has taught me that we are all vulnerable, we are all going to fall down, but if we get back up, we will be stronger. When you find yourself on the floor, look around with gratitude at all the people who are working to help you get back up. Then get back up.

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