A Labor of LOVE

Posted by Stevie Hopkins on November 21, 2011

Hi friends,

I'm so excited that you are reading this. It means that after a month of exhaustive work and over a year of planning, that the new 3E Love web site is up. I honestly can't even believe it. For the past year I've been telling all my friends and family my ideas for a new site, how things can be improved, changed, etc., but things were always so hectic that I never had time to put my ideas into action. But then about two months ago, I said, ENOUGH! I was ready.

Now, it's here. You are here. Hopefully loving it, thinking its super sleek and user friendly. Hopefully you want to buy lots of good stuff since I went 2.5 times over budget. Eeek

Money isn't an object when you have love, though.

I feel like I am a proud father and my child just said his first words (or hers, I'm not sure of my web site's gender yet). I am giddy to show it off, scream out at the whole world, THREE E LOVE DOT COM!!! 3E Love is my baby, my pride and joy. I put my all into it, every day of the year. It's everything to me and my family.

I know that it means a lot to many of you, as well. Seriously. Thank you for loving 3E Love so much and supporting my little entrepreneurial experiment. Without you... The energy, resources, and passion for my work wouldn't exist.

So, I hope you love it and want to tell everyone.

So... Why did I do this? It was just the right time in the progression of our growth.

We got our first web site in 2007 when my sister was behind the wheel of 3E Love. A financial client of mine was starting a web design business and I said SURE, why not, of course you can design our web site. He actually did a really good job but Annie and I didn't know what we wanted at all. We only had three products and sold things mostly to friends.

Then, after Annie passes away in 2009 and I decided to take this thing on, I wanted a web store that would increase sales and make it easier to operate the business side of things. So I found some random kid on the Internet and he only wanted $250 to make a store. Sounds like a great deal, so I went with it!

That's the site we've had for almost two years and we have just outgrown it. This time I wanted to put more planning into it than a random hire. I knew who I wanted to do it, I just had to tell them what I wanted.

Look familiar??

We really didn't have much time though.  The holidays were approaching and then right after that there will be January 20th, our International Day of Acceptance. From November until March, we get almost 2/3rds of our online orders! I wanted to really make a splash with an all new site and add new products and new marketing..... I wanted to be as proud of my site as I am the symbol and the message behind it.

I finally now am.

3E Love has been growing so very fast. The old web site was not setup for the amount of activity we get this time of year.  It didn't do a very good job of keeping track of inventory, it didn't have an easy way to find customer orders or manage which packages were shipped and which got lost! I had to work probably an extra 2 hours a day just because of its limitations. Not very efficient. Yikes.

That doesn't mean that this new site is not going to have issues. There will be growing pains. I don't even know how to print packing slips or print postage yet. We will learn though. Change is tough, but this is going to be the best change ever.

My number one goal with this new site, aside from more efficient functionality and professionalism, was to make it more personal. Add more content.

For the past two years, our web site just felt like a t-shirt store. 3E Love is not a t-shirt store. Not at all. I have the best job in the world. Not only do I get to sell t-shirts, but I get to meet amazing people all over the country and correspond with people all over the world who wear their hearts on their sleeves. They all have stories and something that they want to say. They all have a different meaning for our symbol and a reason why it's important to them. Everyone uses it in different ways to embrace, educate, and empower.

It's these people... YOU... that make 3E Love what it is and I wanted to tell that story with the web site.

So I set out with the plan to create two new web sites, 3E Diaries & 3E Ink. Unfortunately we ran out of time and money to launch those sites, but they ARE going to happen. I am determined.

With 3E Diaries, my thought was that if I could create a place for people to tell their story, that I could impact people and promote our message in a new way in addition to our merchandise. The idea was a giant community web site, where you can log on, share your story with others online and even interact with people that interest you. If we could successfully build a network of "diaries", my long term dream is to setup a way for people who are looking for help, advice, encouragement to then come to our web site and reach out. If they need parenting advice or someone is making the transition into independent living, that they could find people who have been there before. Without going into too much detail, I want to be able to automate the process so that the site connects the right people, improving the relevance of help it the Diary writers provide.

If you are interested in being apart of it, go on over to 3E Diaries and tell your story. We want to collect thousands of stories from people who want to be apart of our movement.

3E Ink is an idea  I have to start a club of people who have a 3E inspired tattoo. Tattoos are just another part of our 3E Love movement, and we want to show it off and include your Ink Stories. Like 3E Diaries, only a fragment of the idea has materialized, but if you have the tattoo we have a way for you to get involved now. Join the club and tell us your story today.

Until those ideas become more developed and further realized, I am going to start putting your submitted photos all throughout the web site. I will even be featuring some stories here.

I'm excited. I'm exhausted.  Emotionally and physically.

I've been at the office every single day, eating every meal here since mid-October. I was telling my assistant last night... I think that this is the hardest thing I've ever done.. In my entire life. I have two college degrees, have written 60 page long statistical analyses and learned other languages. I have booked national tours for unsigned bands and released their albums. I have traveled the entire country in a van with four smelly dudes for 30 days. I have had major spine and hip surgeries setting me back months at the time. I have spoken to audiences of hundreds without having much experience with public speaking....

And... This web site is the hardest thing I've ever been apart of it. Maybe because of the stress of the holidays coming, the finances involved, the long hours... Or maybe because it means so much more to me than anything I've ever done.

I think I'm just tired too. Not only from being here day in and day out, without anything in my life but the web launch, I'm ready to free it into the wild and see what happens. The anticipation has been destroying me.

And I'm starting to rant... Here we go with the ending.

Thanks for being apart of this journey with me :)

Thanks to everyone who have helped me get to this point. Friends, family, employees, everyone.

Thanks to Jaime Radar for the sweet design and helping me put my vision onto paper.  Get some sleep man. You need it. We have more projects :)

Thank to Alex for putting up with my perfectionist nature and not freaking out over my 10 page long instructions for the site. You developed a sweet site.

Thanks to Angela, Kelly, Luke, Rob, Mike, Betina, Chris, Sean, mom, dad, aunt Lori, uncle rick, leslie, Alicia, Kim, Karen, Donnie, Liz,Colleen, Gary, Viki, El Steve Lee, Jenna, Sarah, Joel, Ashley, Emily, Martin, Bri, Kelsey,  Anthony.... Ahhhh I'm sure I'm forgetting people. I'm not forgetting you, I just need sleep.

Ok I'm done.. Until next time! Enjoy!

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P.S. If you have purchased before, you will be getting a surprise in the mail this week.

If you are a fan of our Facebook, twitter, or subscribed to our newsletter, be on the lookout for discount codes to help with holiday shopping.


January 19, 2012

LOVING the new site Stevie. Just getting the chance to check it out. The look is great and I really do enjoy reading the personal stories. From you and others. Can’t wait to buy some more stuff!

November 23, 2011

Stevie, I don’t know you, have never met you, but feel your positivity in my life! Best of luck with the new site, I am sure that your vision will come to fruition. You have already touched so many lives with your positive message! I look forward to reading your blog. I admire the way you navigate your life and spread a message of love, empowerment, and learning! …Keep changing the world!

November 22, 2011

Stevie – so excited for the new website!! Great job!

Jeff Jeff
November 22, 2011

New web site is amazing! I’m not surprised since you have excelled at everything you have ever focused your passion on. Your sis is very proud. Love ya!

November 22, 2011

Congratulations to you Stevie! You are Mr. Awesome!

Dream Crusher
November 22, 2011

You have done one heck of a job on this site and with 3E Love! I haven’t been with you for the whole ride, but the parts I have been with have been very exciting, and you truly are an inspiration to everyone!!! Keep up the GREAT work my man!!!

November 22, 2011

All the work and sleep deprived nights were so worth it Stevie! Proud of you. Love you. Excited for you. :)

November 22, 2011

Woooooooot! Congrats Mr. Perfectionist.
Working with you on the website was a pleasure, good luck with the new website, you worked really hard.


Carrie Campbell
November 22, 2011

The new site is great! I love this part of your blog:

3E Love is not a t-shirt store. Not at all. I have the best job in the world. Not only do I get to sell t-shirts, but I get to meet amazing people all over the country and correspond with people all over the world who wear their hearts on their sleeves. They all have stories and something that they want to say. They all have a different meaning for our symbol and a reason why it’s important to them. Everyone uses it in different ways to embrace, educate, and empower.

That really means so much to me and my daughter. Thank you for what you are doing, you’ve made a change in this world already. Much Love, The Campbell’s

Mama 3E
November 22, 2011

I couldn’t be more happy for you or more proud of you. Love You Stevie!

November 21, 2011

This rules Stevie!

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