I used to think that building custom sites was the only road to complete customer satisfaction, but that changed when I found ExpressionEngine. My vision remains intact and all my functionality demands are met with ExpressionEngine, making it a standard for me and my team.
What can you tell us about the team that built Breedlovemusic.com?
Tool Studios is a small, fun team of 7 that does high-end branding and development. After researching the market for a project, we work in tandem throughout the whole process to produce the best possible result. With Breedlove, we wanted to build the best guitar site in the world and we think we have done just that. We built the site from soup to nuts in less than 100 hours and there is more to come from Breedlove in the coming months to push the boundaries even further.
How cool was it to work with such a great product like Breedlove Guitars (Several on the EL staff are big fans)?
I am a Taylor and Fender guy and a player for years, so when this client came across my desk, it was an instant “hell ya!” Then, they gave me their budget. :( They were just bought by my clien ( two old hippies) t, so I understood and took their money with strings attached (pun intended)- making them give me a guitar and strings for life. I am proud of what we produced in under 100 hours and I am grateful to ExpressionEngine for giving me and my team the tools to build the best guitar site in the world. ( ok, my opinion )
What can you tell us about the site in general? What are the goals of the site and the main audience?
Despite a limited budget, I wanted to put tools in the hands of Breedlove that worked for their sales team as well as the consumer. As a player, I was familiar with all the major brands and the industry in general. I have close friends that own recording studios, Luthiers, and guitar shops. As soon as I talked Breedlove into letting me rebuild and rebrand, my toolbox of friends came in handy. Breedlove does not have the reputation of the bigger guys, but they have loyalty like I have never seen so we see big things ahead for them.
What was your major consideration in using ExpressionEngine for this?
We built custom sites, sites with Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress for over 10 years. I used to think that building custom sites was the only road to complete customer satisfaction, but that changed when I found ExpressionEngine. My vision remains intact and all my functionality demands are met with ExpressionEngine, making it a standard for me and my team.
Were there any Commercial Add-ons that proved useful? If so, which ones? How did they help?
Structure, Matrix, betta metta and a few more.
Did you do any custom add-on development?
We are fans of sticking to the core and our standard list of modules. This makes updating very easy. We have several big projects coming up with HealthyTrades.com, RevertInc.com, BeColorado.com, and we will be doing custom work for them. For Breedlove, we used add-ons like Structure and Matrix.
What is next on the plate for Breedlove.com? Any additional functionality you can tell us about?
The “Vault” will introduce exciting new functionality to Breedlove.com, but I can’t tell you about that yet. We will also add more videos and photo features as well as more SEO work. A dealer locator fully integrated into Google’s API is also on the horizon. We will continue to expand the website and make necessary adjustments as the Breedlove company expands. We will also be building a store for the swag currently handled by the original commerce site. (Disclaimer: we did not build the original commerce site.)
Do you have any other information you’d like to share with the community? Tips from this project you’d like to share? Lessons you’ve learned?
We are unique as we build from the right brain. I am not a coder, but as the architect and creative director behind our projects, I drive things from the right brain and we design the complete site before development. This allows me to challenge my team to come up with solutions, make adjustments, and let our customers see their website before we build it. I think more people should do this. We are not perfect, of course, but I’ve seen too many ExpressionEngine websites built without a blueprint, much like building a house without a blueprint, making for a weak foundation. EE gives me the tools (engine) but the front end work has to match.
I also spend a lot of personal time keeping up-to-date with all the new extensions and features of EE, allowing me and my team to stay hip to EE’s cutting edge solutions. We have to know what is in our toolbox in order to work and produce at the optimal level we maintain.
My final point to make concerns giving full control over content to the client. With Breedlove, they have control over about 95% of its content and navigation. I have had several calls from the client asking, “Can you do XYZ for us?”, and my response is simply: “Well, you can do that yourself, let me show you.” We feel that great developers should build customer-dependent sites and not programmer-dependent sites.
We would love anyone’s feedback on the site as we are far from perfect and try to design without egos. We have learned that ExpressionEngine is not only a great product, but also a great community with the ability to provide necessary good, bad, and ugly feedback. We’ll take it all.