Competitive Web Design for Small Business: by ENGINE

There comes a point in any Southern girl’s life when she daydreams of running a classy little shop packed with cool local crafts. Dianne Harvey went on ahead and did it: in May 2007, she opened the Paisley Farmhouse in Milton, Georgia.

And there comes a point in each entrepreneur’s business plan where she has a choice to make… She can have a website that acts as a signpost, pointing people in the general direction of her store—set it ‘n’ forget it. Or she can bring some skilled hands into the kitchen to cook up an online presence with all the trimmings. Yep, you can guess which one a smart gal like Dianne chose.

She wanted a website that looks and feels as warm and fresh as her shop. She needed a way to turn casual buyers into lifelong customers. How can a small business become more than just a seller of goods? How can it become a community?

That’s when ENGINE hopped on board.

The ENGINE Solution


We set out to craft a website that reflects the rural Georgia charm and Metro Atlanta flair of the Paisley. As for that whole community thing, devoting care to email marketing as a part of a cohesive branding effort has proved to be the winning recipe. And the whole thing needed a rock-solid foundation, strong enough to trust with the family business.

Let’s take a look at each slice of the pie…

Design Solution: The Power of Patterns earned first-entry status in Smashing Magazine’s Textures and Patterns Design Showcase for its “nicely packaged retro wallpaper tiles.” A couple of interesting points about this background…

Most importantly, it’s the best way to capture the new-old-school cool of the Paisley since much of the store’s appeal is in making new products out of old materials. And here’s a sweet feature: we designed this background to be easily made-over, meaning the site’s decor can change quite a bit depending on seasons, special events, holidays… warm colors in summer, orange for Halloween, you name it.

Elsewhere on the design front… Tying in Dianne’s classic family photos throughout the whole deal adds the ultimate personal touch. It’s the kind of thing you’d see if you strolled into the Paisley during a Saturday open house… so why shouldn’t you enjoy the same experience when dropping by the website?

We also took the time to incorporate photos that show what the store’s many themed sections really look like. We want users to be able to say they’ve visited, even if they haven’t. We’re also rolling out e-commerce functionality soon, including distinct on-shelf photos for dozens of the store’s most popular items.

Finally, the lace and ribbon on the left ties the whole package together, providing good balance with the navigation menu on the right. It all adds up to a singular impression: guests swear they’re connecting with a salt-of-the-earth store with personality and heart, not just clicking around some website.

Branding & Marketing Solution: It’s All About the Customer

The Paisley Farmhouse can’t compete with, say, Hobby Lobby or Target on price, advertising presence, or shelf space. There’s no room in the budget for self-glorifying thinkpiece commercials by some dumb-smart ad firm. But all that glitz and glamor is the secret to success, right? So why do so many of Dianne’s neighbors schedule a weekly trip to the Paisley?

ENGINE helps Diannie stay in touch with her community by lending a hand in creating a useful, relevant opt-in email newsletter, whether that means we write pieces, help arrange stuff, design new images, or what have you. Packed with handy articles, enticing coupons, heartfelt stories, gift ideas, product news, and so on, the newsletter has a very high open rate. Meaning we’ve earned the trust of our customers. Just think how many companies try to crap spam on your inbox once a week… Now imagine having a newsletter that people actually look forward to.

We also dealt up a comprehensive branding package that relates what’s best about the Paisley… from the store’s logo, business cards, and bags, to local ads and hand-written gift certificates, ENGINE’s design expertise helps tell the story. We even designed and set up the manufacture and install of the store’s big sandblasted front signage, plus special event yard signs and in-store section banners.

A full-service presentation strategy… Didn’t we tell you ENGINE’s in it for the long haul?

Development Solution: Built to Last, Built to Serve

All these wonderful courses wouldn’t amount to much without a nice, sturdy table to serve them on.

Content management is a snap with ENGINE’s custom build of Drupal. All sorts of content—new products, newsletters, blog posts—are easy to post and keep track of. Plus, Drupal offers endless expandability. Drupal’s clean and hearty development tools also boost the site’s SEO capabilities. And the same local crafters that are eager to set up a table at Paisley craft fairs are also willing to pitch in articles that make their way into the newsletter or the site’s blog. Drupal helps turn the typical guest-blogging fiasco into a well-run potluck of content.

Our working relationship with the Paisley means we stay up on design tweaks and useability testing. ENGINE is more than just a webmaster to the Paisley Farmhouse. We really are in this together!


The Paisley Just Wouldn’t Be the Same Without ENGINE

Dianne’s got enough on her plate as a small-business owner. She shouldn’t have to fuss with every detail of the whole operation. It pays to have us around, you could say.

From the foundation to the trim, Dianne’s lifelong vision kicks into gear every morning she opens for business.

Pull up a chair and make yourself at home at

Looking for a website that’s more than just a website?

Click below to learn more about some of the services we delivered for the Paisley Farmhouse, or, as always, contact us.


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