PopLush Embroidery

Want to know how I built an embroidery empire? The answer was impeccable branding and user-testing.

Project Goals:

  • Build a vibrant brand that matches the vibrancy of the audience
  • Create an easy way to learn embroidery
  • Make customers feel supported in their crafting
  • Create a consistent brand experience


People who do some crafts or creative things such as knitting and cross-stitch but are not serious about sewing. This brand has a high percentage of tattooed librarians, body-positive belly dancers, and ex-roller derby players as fans.

Research Conducted

For the rebrand, we worked with Lucky Break Consulting and conducted customer research, competitor analysis, and conversational research.

Ongoing research included: surveys, customer interviews, conversational research, website analytics, email metrics, club subscriber stats, and subscription churn analysis.

A kick-ass mood board and design guidelines, plus a logotype crafted from custom type
Poplush website redesign

After rebranding and redesigning the website to showcase the new bold color palette and eye-catching photography, the company observed a 70% expansion in returning user traffic.

email marketing template

These simple email templates put the focus on the content. Because I knew my customers so well, I wrote weekly emails that consistently enjoyed a 60%+ open rate. Some customers engaged consistently with the mailing list for six years. How many mailing lists have you stayed on for so long?

packaging design

In retail shops and vendor fairs, the first thing a customer did was turn the kit over to see what was included, even though the contents are written on the front. Thus we made sure to include photos of the back and front of the packed kits on the website to answer customer questions.

This composite image is made up of a mixture of rendered pages, 3D models, and photographs to provide a clear image of what a packaged-up kit looks like. This solution avoided the excess glare involved in photographing cellophane and made introducing new designs less time-consuming.

kit papers and instructions

Since most of our audience was first-time embroiderers, having instructions in the kit paper was imperative to expand access to more users. We designed the front of each kit paper to boldly show off the finished design and to grab attention in a shop. Each kit paper opened to teach the four basic stitches needed to complete any PopLush Embroidery design. The back of the kit papers included a stitch guide the customer could follow to sew the kit, including written directions and a link to the company's online How-To page where videos of each stitch reside.

unboxing experience

We crafted an on-brand unboxing experience that delighted customers, boosted social media engagement, and supported a 5-star customer rating. In addition to branded envelopes and packing slips, we created 'superlative' postcards that could be used as artwork. The backside of the postcards contained timely marketing material. We also included a certificate of achievement in every order which the customer could sign when finished. Since this was usually their first time embroidering, having such positive reinforcement really made them feel like they had someone rooting for them.

the impact

The Stats

  • The customer-centered design approach helped drive a 68% repurchase rate.
  • Customers purchased up to 80 orders for themselves and their loved ones (thanks to our monthly subscription club).
  • 43% of our customers trusted the brand enough to buy more than one product type.
  • The average customer purchased 5 times, while the average club subscriber purchased 9 times on subscription products alone.

What We Learned

PopLush Embroidery customers saw the kits as an escape, acting as a tactile pastime in a predominantly digital world. For some, it helped calm their anxiety or get them through a hospital stay. For most, it allowed them to feel productive while watching TV with family. Nearly every customer bought the kit or subscription item for themselves, saying it was a gift they looked forward to getting.

Understanding and empathizing with the fears of first-time stitchers allowed us to help people accomplish their goal of trying embroidery. They repeatedly told us it was so much easier than they thought it would be and loved feeling like they had someone holding their hand the whole time.