Today HOCBoston turns 1!
Last Halloweekend I spent every waking minute finalizing HOCBoston for its November 1st roll out. Every part of this website was done entirely by me. Building and maintaining HOCBoston has been the ultimate labor of love and something I am so proud to say I created.
One year later this is my first time publicly sharing the experience of building the website. I first got the idea of doing this on my 23rd birthday (Dec. 18). Before Christmas I wrote up a communication plan (using my degree in Strategic Communication, shout out to Temple!). House of Culture quickly became the only thing on my mind. I waited to purchased the domain until February 4th, my fathers birthday, so I would always remember the day (and the annual bill lol) From that point I used YouTube university to teach me about Shopify, photoshop, light room, and photography. After this everything I saw became a source of inspiration from how influencers take mirror selfies and show off their outfits to how companies brand themselves. I began seeing design in everything and kept a running list of ideas on my phone. Through a lot of trial and error I figured out how to take product photos. Thought of the types of descriptions I'd find helpful on a website and poses that would be cute but accurately show the pieces. I thought of aesthetics, color palettes and all things branding.
Since I grew up in this store and its so special to me (and was such a large part of my development) I wanted to make it more than an e-commerce site. I wanted to highlight the people and feelings of House of Culture. The aspects that make the store so special and loved.
At this time I still lived in Philadelphia so I would commute to Boston, making large to do list in preparation for my trips. In October 2021 I came home and shot almost every item we had in store. I’d set up the studio, shoot the photos, edit them, write up the product descriptions and then start the cycle all over again.
When I made the website live it was like something I had never experienced. Up until this point I had worked towards deadlines for school, jobs, and internships but never any that marked the beginning of something and not the end. So like the end of most deadlines, I made the website live, felt immense pride, and then I took a nap.
For the next 7 months I would constantly travel back and forth between Philly and Boston. I loved living in Philly but it became clear that it was no longer sustainable to keep traveling back and forth. In June I moved back to Boston and have no regrets.
Creating and maintaining the website has been exhausting and it’s relied on every ounce of creativity in me. But every time someone comes in the store and says “I saw this online” I’m filled with pride.
The support from customers and friends, many of whom have watched me grow up, has meant the world to me. Thank you to everyone who shops on this site. I have so many plans for House of Culture and I am truly just getting started. I simply cannot wait to see what comes next.
In the meantime join us Saturday November 26 as we celebrate one year of this website.