No longer forced to stay lean after its acquisition by PCH International, Toronto-based ShopLocket has expanded from e-commerce into content creation.
The company launched Blueprint today, a hybrid email digest and web portal dedicated to making it easy for hardware entrepreneurs, like the ones it hosts in its e-com section, to learn how to successfully launch a product.
Blueprint is a so-called media brand, blending weekly founder interviews and stories with in-depth resources on the best articles from other sites.
“We wanted to be able to create a destination for early stage hardware companies to get everything they need,” said Katherine Hague, CEO and co-founder of ShopLocket, pointing out that she was constantly fielding questions from entrepreneurs on what to do next. “We’re combining great original content with every amazing hardware article and event, and making it available to anyone.”
Though ShopLocket mainly offers e-commerce solutions and support for companies after they’ve gone through their initial crowdfunding campaigns, Hague and team’s relationship with the companies often begin years before. A good product is comprised of more than just a slick video and a dream, and many visionaries are met with engineering problems and shipping delays because they’ve never had to deal with the intricacies of production scaling.
Many of these resources became immediately accessible after ShopLocket’s acquisition, as its parent company PCH International has been forging these relationships, in North America, Europe and Asia, since 1996. Blueprint’s editorial team has been curating interviews and relevant articles for months, and offers incredible, in-depth content from founders like Avegant’s Edward Tang and Bubl’s Greg Ponesse. One of the recent articles, Top 10 Things you Must Pack for Your Trip to Shenzhen, reinforces the gaping culture shock of exploring the various countries involved in sourcing parts.
Blueprint culminates in Launch Academy, an 85-page document outlining every step, from early stages to shipping, a team must follow to push a piece of hardware. It’s an ambitious and valuable resource, and though it puts more eyes on ShopLocket’s e-com brand, much of the intent seems to be out of love for the industry as a whole.