Complicated Website Coding Is No Longer A Barrier | New Zealand business magazine

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Without Covid-19 disrupting the typical workflow of Hannah and Nick Ippolito’s web design firm in early 2020, the two might never have had the opportunity to create SquareKicker – and life would certainly be. very different right now for the Nelson-based couple.

As one of the largest online website building platforms in the world, Squarespace is used by millions of people, from business owners to graphic designers, web developers and ordinary people who choose Squarespace for its platform. -solid shape and ease of use.

However, with Squarespace, users can’t fully customize their designs without some knowledge of the code. And this is where the Ippolito saw an opportunity.

“In the course of running our web design business, we saw frustration from other designers and business owners who had a hard time customizing their Squarespace websites because they didn’t have the knowledge needed to write custom code. We kept asking ourselves if we could create a simpler way for people to create their unique designs without ever having to touch a single line of code, ”says Nick.

It turns out that was a game-changer and SquareKicker was born.

In its simplest form, SquareKicker is a no-code design and animation extension for Squarespace 7.1 websites that, to the untrained eye, might not seem like a big deal. But for connoisseurs, it certainly is.

“I think one of the most exciting parts of this trip so far has been getting some amazing feedback from the team at Squarespace Headquarters in New York who have been so supportive of us on this journey. that we do. This is this small ‘oppressed’ southern hemisphere company working alongside a huge multinational corporation in one of the world’s largest cities, ”says Hannah. “It all seems a bit surreal at times. “

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a challenge for a number of reasons, but it actually gave the Ippolitos the motivation to jump into their new business, boots and all, for all the right reasons.

“We hired our first part-time employee at our web design company in December 2019, but of course in March 2020 it all came to a halt. So we thought, “Okay, we can either sit here or use this time to get something good out of it,” says Hannah.

“We also saw it as a responsibility to make the most of this opportunity and create jobs where we could in these uncertain times. Internet business was gold because everyone was trying to connect, and it was a way for us to feel useful. So we took out a second mortgage, leveraged our personal finances, and decided to turn SquareKicker into something more than a side project.

It’s always easy to take a step back when looking back on the road to success, knowing it was worth it. However, there were challenges along the way, of having to prime SquareKicker themselves, of living and breathing 24/7, as well as not making a salary from it, and of course, the challenges of bringing something completely new to the market. .

It took the resilience of the whole team to get through the start-up phase in a space that no one else had paved the way for.

“We knew from day one that everyone would want and need it, especially since nothing like it existed. Even as a web developer, I wanted it for myself! So we had to keep reminding ourselves that it was a good product that was valuable to people, ”says Nick.

Hannah thanks many others outside of the company for helping them set up the infrastructure for the company itself and inspiring their continued growth, including the Nelson Development Trust. From the basics of running a software business to employee management, accounting and everything that goes with it, she was grateful to have access to experts who were happy to sit down and chat with them. of how to establish a solid foundation to grow.

But perhaps one of the most amazing parts of this trip was how the SquareKicker team was able to accomplish so much in a short period of time, and for Nick and Hannah in particular – it meant juggling three (aged ten, eight and seven years) when starting their new business. Because while last year’s lockdown was a catalyst for SquareKicker, it was also a time when the family was at home together all day, every day. However, the parents swear they wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

“We always talked to our kids about what we do and the potential of what was possible – we actually see ourselves as raising small entrepreneurs. Because we don’t think of it just as a ‘mother and father’ thing, they can get excited about it too, ”says Nick.

“The kids also all have their own websites using SquareKicker. We figured if a seven year old can work it, then it should be pretty user friendly.

With the entrepreneurial spirit running through the family’s veins, there were other ventures for the couple before SquareKicker’s arrival, but certainly nothing of this scale and growth.

Since going live last October with minimal viable product, they now have over 2,000 global users, with over 3,000 websites worldwide using the SquareKicker extension. New features are developed regularly and, as Hannah says, these are exciting days for the team, with a long trail still ahead of them.

Photo: Left to Right – Rowan Findlay, Nick Ippolito, Hannah Ippolito, Nat Booth.


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