Reclaimed Enterprises (RE) deconstructs old homes and reclaims the materials while telling its story from original construction to selling remade products from their artisans. I led design and coding. My partner at Messenger Pigeons led project management and content.

Reclaimed Enterprises website on an iPhone

Problem

Reclaimed Enterprises needs to tell the stories of their deconstructed properties, and link that to artisans, products, and an ecommerce site.

With such a vast business model, integrating everything into one space while keeping an open, classic feel was difficult. I needed to highlight different kinds of stories and connections for their main users:

  • Consumers looking to buy artisan products.
  • Contractors & architects looking for raw materials.
  • Government officials and potential business/non-profit partners.

The stories from deconstruction to remade items needed to be a seamless back-and-forth flow. Also, with just one person running RE, everything needed to be simple to manage. RE wanted to build on WordPress, which is often slow for ecommerce. That's a tall order.

Solution

I had to automate as much as possible, create multiple layouts depending on what content was available, and keep load times low.

To make the site easy to manage, whenever a new property was added, I automatically recalculated all site totals that were featured around the site and automatically added ecommerce categories, descriptions, and images. Whenever a new product was added or sold out, all faceted menus and the main menu updates to only show in-stock categories.

After researching modern plugins for WordPress as an ecommerce site, I found Shopp, which prioritizes performance, but didn't have good design built into the user interface. I recoded all their default systems and built them with better HTML and CSS, and greatly improved the checkout process with cart updating, shipping totals, and unobtrusive form validation.

Outcome

Within 9 months, Reclaimed Enterprises had partnered with Habitat for Humanity and reclaimed $125,000 worth of materials.

The business model is shifting, but our goal of attracting high-quality partnerships worked perfectly. RE is working with Habitat for Humanity for deconstruction and selling of the materials.

As of June 2015, RE had reclaimed 16 properties and saved 535 tons of materials from landfills.