The Latest Evolution of Grove’s DIY Website

Here at Grove, we not only do it all ourselves when it comes to our products, but also with our website. Thanks to our amazing web engineer, Yuji Tomita, a self-described Energizer Bunny, we have seen constant improvements. Our entire web wonderland, front-end (what the customer sees) and back-end (what we see behind the scenes) was imagined and created with pride by our team.

As Yuji put it, “The needs for every business are so unique that we've gained a certain efficiency by building it all ourselves instead of parting it out to 10 vendors and integrating solutions that were never meant to coexist.” Just as Ken and Joe were developing the business from scratch, Yuji was teaching himself to program based on what needed to get done online. That’s right, he’s a self-taught mastermind - but that’s a whole other story.

A day came when Grove had so many orders they could not be sorted through by hand, and that’s when our site was born from the framework of Shopify’s shopping cart solution. Our site is run in Django, which means it’s fast, powerful, and much sexier than a PHP site (it’s a fact).  Django is an open source project Yuji regularly supports, because he believes in the free sharing of knowledge. We wanted to build our site just the way we’d like it from the ground up, and it couldn’t have been done without Yuji and Max Brown, our lead graphic designer.

Max is the mastermind of styling and illustrating the site, with art direction by Joe. You may have noticed that, page by page, the design of our website has evolved continually since day one. Take a look at some of the before and after photos!

Max’s main goal with the re-design - the “fundamental leap” - is to simplify the site and make it more organic in feel and appearance. We want the site to be easy to use, requiring fewer clicks to get where you want to go. The color scheme largely reflects the vibe and mood of our products, and we’re taking the site in a direction that further reflects our partnership with our artists. Taupes, creams, and oranges have stepped in where greys and greens used to lie. Max says it’s a less Matrix-y feel, in other words, “Free your mind!”.

Stay tuned everyone and thank you so much for taking the time to read some technical bits of the Grove Story!

Remember to check out Yuji’s site here and Max’s site here!

Article by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds, uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with ketchup.