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Shopify February Meetup recap: Fail fast, succeed faster

Last Modified: January 31, 2023

We did it again! Along with our partner P3 Media, we hosted a Shopify-themed meetup for over a hundred agency managers, merchants, and those simply looking to learn, network, and partake in some free food (and drinks!). If you were in attendance, thank you for being part of our largest turn out ever!


As always, the night began with free cocktails and food (at least a few of us had too many coconut shrimp) before Refersion CEO Alex Markov took the stage to welcome everyone and set the tone for the night. The theme this month was failing and succeeding at customer acquisition; a weighty topic that struck a chord with everyone in the audience.

Our first speaker was Andrew Pollard, Founder at LTH JKT, a luxury jacket company based out of Venice, California. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew spoke of his past ventures and what he learned from his mistakes along the way, before hitting with LTH JKT. He learned to be much more focused, honing in on the exact segment and personality profile that buys high-end jackets; leading to much more effective targeted marketing campaigns, affiliate or otherwise.

marketing campaigns

With laser focus on their target audience, Andrew spoke about reframing their brand to speak to these customers across their website, social media, and PR. This has helped them continue to grow rapidly, with a clear direction for the future of their customer acquisition efforts.

Next, we heard from Donna Vallario, owner at Blue Circle Marketing. Donna spoke about how to find, test, and use the right traffic sources to market a particular brand. In her example, she highlighted Minnie Rose, a lifestyle brand with a focus on luxury cashmere.

Donna broke down the avenues of traffic and how they marketed Minnie Rose via social channels, PPC, Adroll, Criteo, and of course Refersion. Each had their own unique needs to curry success, and quickly correcting small voice-of-the-brand mistakes led to higher engagement and better converting traffic.

Donna also revealed to the audience a few surprising sources of converting traffic (for attendee’s eyes only!) that both small and large e-commerce businesses should test to see if they might convert for them. These “trade secrets” were certainly one of the highlights of the night.

Last but not least, we heard from Cynthia Besteman, founder of Violets Are Blue, an all-natural skincare brand featured in various top magazines such as Women’s Day and Self. Cynthia told the audience a very personal story of growth and struggle; the company springing out of a health scare that made her refocus her life priorities.

Shopify February Recap

Her mantra: “we learn from failure, not from success!” And she highlighted all the pivots she had to make as her company launched and grew. From changing website hosting, changing payment hosting, learning about her customers’ purchasing habits, and slowly developing the brand’s “story” to connect with the right audience; Cynthia really showed that failing quickly is the key to growth.

Cynthia showed us graphs of her acquisition channels, and how she is working to grow each segment. For example, she’s planning to quadruple the traffic coming in from affiliate marketing in 2019. She emphasized how it all starts with the voice of the brand, which leads to the right way to spread brand awareness, and then to converting the right audience. Truly a great talk.

Merchant Speakers

After our speakers, the night transitioned to networking and some informal Q & A with our speakers. As more food and drinks were served, it was pretty clear to everyone in attendance that it was our best meetup to date!

And of course, we’re doing it again soon. Our next meetup will be on April 4th, so be sure to follow our meetup page for more information on our future events. Cheers!

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Written by

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey