First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sara Stoddard : Thanks for asking. To be honest, the pandemic has brought us closer together. With less time spent commuting, we have more time to spend with each other, enjoying the simple things like eating dinner together every night and exploring our local parks. In full transparency, it’s just me, my husband, and two cats so life was fairly low-stress to begin with which is a massive privilege. Personally, I feel better than I did pre-pandemic. As a natural introvert, the reduced social calendar during pandemic life was somewhat of a relief.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you joined this company.
Sara Stoddard : My career at Amaze started from very humble beginnings. In 2014, I was hired as the Office Operations Manager. In 2015, the company shifted from open source to pursue the original vision of building a design platform. I was offered to stay aboard as part of a small team of six to help build the future of the company. In the early days, everyone wore multiple hats, including me. Looking back, it was my instinct to create order out of chaos and keep teams aligned around a shared vision that led me to product management.
My role evolved as the company’s needs changed. In my previous role as the Head of Product and Engineering Operations, I led strategy, development, and product launches for our two flagship products, Pro and Amaze, as well as integrations with ecommerce platforms like Shopify. Now, as the VP of Partnerships and Integrations, I lead a cross-functional team focused on scaling the product through strategic technology partnerships and integrations.
How does your company innovate?
Sara Stoddard : The key to continuous innovation at Amaze is rooted in our culture. You can’t innovate without taking risks and risks often come with failure. Culturally, we prioritize trust, collaboration, autonomy, and freedom to experiment and explore new opportunities. This enables everyone across the company to thrive, do their best work, and contribute in their own ways to the product’s success.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business and how are you coping?
Sara Stoddard : Ecommerce has grown tremendously since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with online sales reaching an astounding $4.97 trillion last year, up from $1.3 trillion in 2014. We’ve seen especially high growth in mobile and social commerce in the last years – both relevant areas for Amaze and the mobile-focused solutions we provide. Social commerce sales in the U.S. are estimated to reach about $37 billion this year and a staggering $79 billion in 2025. This exponential growth in consumers shopping online and on their mobile devices also coincides with more ecommerce businesses opening up every day and competition rising.
Companies that miss the mark to create a memorable, immersive, and customized mobile experience at every touchpoint will fail to attract and retain customers and ultimately fall behind their competition. This is where we come in and have been able to support companies – from small to large – with Amaze’s tailored design solutions. To enable them to thrive in today’s dynamic environment, we help business owners elevate their shopping experiences and brand identity to rise above the noise by offering templates, tools, and integrations that allow them to engage and amaze their audiences with beautiful content and design.
With the increasing shift to mobile and social commerce, simple yet effective no-code solutions like Amaze that empower anyone to easily create high-quality, customized experiences have become more important than ever for startups to grow and succeed.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Sara Stoddard : We are very strategic with the capital we have but the pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty. To position the company for the best chance at success, we made remote work permanent. Prior to the pandemic, everyone worked in the same, beautiful office. Now we’re 100% remote and spread across the world. Going fully remote has enabled us to bring on the best talent, regardless of their location. In fact, we’ve almost doubled the size of the team since going office-free.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, and how do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Sara Stoddard : Burnout and anxiety are common things when growing your career and you have to be intentional to avoid it, work sustainably, and remain productive. Working too much for too long is a hard habit to break and requires big mental changes to your relationship to work. Taking time off to unplug from my to-do list, having hobbies like daily kickboxing classes, and setting boundaries around my work schedule have helped me stay healthy and on top of my game.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sara Stoddard : While there are lots of different design platforms out there, there is no solution available today that offers the types of capabilities – and makes them as easy to use for anyone – the way Amaze does. The design assets, templates, and integrations available in our Pro and Free products make it faster and easier than ever before for users to build engaging experiences that increase customer engagement, conversions, and ultimately sales.
To stay ahead of the game and focus on achieving our goals, we continuously ensure that our mission remains at the core of everything we do – which is to help anyone sell anything to anyone, anywhere. We have built a great team with deep expertise in an important area that companies of all sizes, business owners, and creators have to fully embrace to stay competitive and attract consumers today: mobile ecommerce design. This allows us to constantly have a pulse on current and emerging industry trends, innovate, and stay relevant.
Your final thoughts
Sara Stoddard : It’s crucial to listen to and understand your audience in order to tailor everything you do – from messaging and storytelling to videos and images – to their needs and preferences. Entrepreneurs should put a stronger emphasis on creating engaging and customized customer experiences from the early stages on and invest in high-quality designs that elevate their content and pages.
Thankfully, they no longer have to hire professional web designers to create engaging landing pages and marketing content. The rise of accessible, no-code tools have enabled entrepreneurs to create memorable online experiences for their audiences with minimal financial and time investments. This is an exciting time where technology empowers anyone to bring their ideas to life and grow a successful online business.
Your website and link to online video if any:
Sara Stoddard : To learn more about Amaze or start a free trial, you can visit our website here. You can view videos here.
We are also on Linkedin, YouTube, and Twitter, and have a blog here.
Originally published on Startup.info.