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Stella & Dot: A Next-Generation Direct Sales Platform

  • Categories
  • Development
  • Product Management
  • UI/UX

The Brief

After having tremendous success with their social selling model, retail brand Stella and Dot wanted to expand into additional verticals, creating a family of brands under one umbrella. Their existing infrastructure, however could not handle such scaling. So we partnered with them to build a new one.

Big Vision, Tight Timelines

Noting Stella & Dot’s initial rapid growth and their vision for future expansion, we knew we needed a new greenfield architecture that was scalable from day one and could support multiple development teams working in parallel. And because the target launch date was only five months away, we also knew it was critical to tightly manage scope and focus on just-in-time development.

Introducing Microservices

We worked with Stella and Dot to conceive, design, and build an end-to-end commerce platform composed of independent Ruby on Rails Microservices. The initiative included building both the platform itself and the related user experiences for the first brand, KEEP Collective. We built the ecommerce site, the portal for independent sales representatives (known as the ‘Lounge’), and the Admin tools for order management and merchandising, integrating all features with Stella & Dot’s existing commissions platform.

The Business Takes Off

Five months in, the platform and KEEP Collective launched on time and with the target feature set. The second brand, Ever Skincare, followed 3 months later, with a separate in-house team successfully working in parallel to build Ever’s front-end ecommerce application and customize their Lounge.

Record-breaking growthZero downtime under high-load events.

Due to KEEP Collective’s phenomenal early growth, the platform supported tens of millions of revenue in its first year alone with zero downtime during peak traffic events and tons of enthusiastic feedback from KEEP’s community of independent sales representatives, known as “Designers”.  Over that time we released new functionality continuously. Our PMs worked hand in hand with the S&D product organization and business stakeholders to conceive and prioritize features based on ROI, elicit and address user feedback, and continue to invest in the platform’s robustness and scalability.

Evolving the Platform

The next year, we expanded the platform to support multiple languages and currencies, and enhanced the commerce experience with engraving visualization, social commerce integrations, and the KEEP DESIGN studio. A year later, we, along with in-house teams, migrated the core brand Stella & Dot onto the platform, increasing the load by 3-4x.

Today, the microservices platform successfully supports over hundreds of millions in annual revenue across the Stella and Dot family of brands. We continue to partner with Stella and Dot to maintain and evolve it.

- Meera Bhatia, Chief Product Officer, Stella & Dot

- Neil Markey, Former CTO, Stella & Dot

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