Les Cookson went swimming with the sharks on Shark Tank USA and landed a $300,000 investment in his brainchild, the LUCY drawing tool. But getting to that point was a long journey in which GemPages played a big part.
It started with a passion for art
Les always has a huge interest in the painting techniques of the Old Masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio, and Lorenzo Monaco. Though controversial it is believed a number of the Old Masters used optical devices in their work.
One of those devices was similar to a Lucida Camera which used mirrors to project images. These devices, however, had fallen into relative obscurity until Les Cookson decided to breathe new life into this old tool.
Reinventing optical tools, however, was one thing. Finding ways to retail them to consumers was quite another.
In the beginning, Les sold everything he made on eBay.
But from the very early days of LUCIDArt, Les had a clear vision of where he wanted to take his business. He planned to build his own home online to boost his brand's digital presence.
Turning a plan into a reality
In 2018, as his business matured and demanded a stronger brand identity, Les made the move to Shopify with www.drawlucy.com. This was to be the new online home of his flagship product, the Lucy Drawing Tool.
Built with optical mirrors, the Lucy Drawing Tool projects a virtual image of an object onto a sheet of paper which can then be traced with a pencil. It was designed, Les says, to “make anyone an artist and any artist a master”.
Les and his team loved their product and wanted to have lots of space to talk about it on their website.
But Les, working with Shopify’s standard editor, ran into some problems as he tried to create additional pages.
“Shopify didn’t make it really easy to build extra pages,” Les says.
So Les went searching for a solution. He tried a range of apps before finally settling on a third-party app that could help him to create stunning, high-converting pages effortlessly.
"GemPages was the only one that I really spent time using because they had everything I needed. The price was very reasonable. It worked easily. I could get the page up and launch it in just a couple of minutes," he says.
The “how to use” section on the homepage
The new homepage created with GemPages perfectly met Les’ needs. Les had way more space to showcase Lucy’s features and share customer feedback.
The sky’s the limit
But that wasn’t enough. Les also decided to step up his eCommerce game by optimizing his marketing funnel. He installed Klaviyo, another Shopify app that is designed to help vendors optimize their email marketing.
Klaviyo allowed him to create a pop-up window so that site visitors could leave their email addresses. To sweeten the pot, if they did they would get a 10% discount code. With his new mailing list, Les and his team could target these potential customers with a remarketing campaign.
The contact form pops up as visitors navigate through the store
The result was incredible! Around 20% of his total customers used their discount code to purchase the Lucy Drawing Tool!
Capitalizing on every opportunity
When Les made his deal on Shark Tank, he believed it would open many new doors for his business. Not only would the $300,000 investment allow him to expand but he also suspected that his brand awareness would skyrocket.
Les Cookson pitching on Shark Tank US
To make the most of his foray into Shark Tank, Les came up with the idea of building a brand new page called Shark Tank in his online store. He again used GemPages to quickly create it himself, just as he had created his homepage all those years ago.
All he needed to do was to choose his favorite template from the GemPages library, upload images and videos, and insert some fresh content and he was ready to go!
And Les was right. After his episode was broadcast, his website traffic went through the roof, and Les leveraged a significant amount of that traffic into sales.
Success didn't come overnight
Les's business was not an overnight success. It's the story of a determined inventor-cum-entrepreneur who never settled for less and always seized on every opportunity.
LUCIDArt has earned over $2.3 million in the past 12 months, and Les expects this figure to go even higher.