Mark Patterson: Guiding Ecommerce Businesses—Including His Own—to Growth

Mark Patterson, Project Management Supervisor and cofounder and developer at Bare Bones Broth, gives tips guiding ecommerce businesses to growth

Mark Patterson is a modern-day renaissance man. Not only does he guide clients as our Project Management Supervisor with a development background; he also cofounded superfood company Bare Bones Broth Co., built on Miva. With this unique blend of experience, Mark brings an unmatched perspective to scaling ecommerce businesses.

Join Mark Patterson, business owner and project management lead at Miva, as he sheds valuable insight on growing several ecommerce businesses—including his own.

You started at Miva as a developer, then moved to the project management team. What brought you to Miva?

My former mentor and teacher introduced me to Miva, where I became a developer intern and then web developer with the MAP team. Miva then hired that same teacher to lead the project management team here, and she singled me out to move over to that department.

“Never discredit any relationship that you make, in education or your profession. Growing those relationships can lead to amazing opportunities.” -Mark Patterson, Project Management Supervisor, Miva and Co-Founder/Developer, Bare Bones Broth

Mark Patterson speaks on growing ecommerce businesses including his own, Bare Bones Broth. Pictured here: the Bare Bones Broth homepage
How has your background in web development helped you as a project manager?

It’s helped immensely. The biggest advantage of having a web development background as a project manager is in identifying the difficulty level of a request, which helps us better scope a project. Proficiency in technical knowledge and in communication is also an asset to translate developer jargon and better connect to clients.

Not only does your web development background help you guide clients; you also host your business, Bare Bones Broth Co., on Miva. Why did you decide to build Bare Bones Broth on Miva?

Bare Bones Broth started as an idea between myself, a friend of mine, and his wife. She, Kate, was a business journalist; Ryan was a chef; I was a developer. Ryan wanted to sell at farmers’ markets, but his mentor—another chef in the area—had built his business on an ecommerce site.

Before working at Miva, we found out that we could build a site quickly using WooCommerce, a plug-in on WordPress. While it initially seemed like a quick fix to launch our business online, it became clear that WooCommerce was not equipped to handle a sophisticated business. We started to see, and feel, the burdens that came with an open-source ecommerce platform. When WooCommerce updated their software, the theme we built our site on was not updated with it. This update forced us into a corner, requiring additional time on our end to manage the code itself, just to keep the site running.

Then, when I started working at Miva, I pitched the idea of moving to Miva to the other two co-founders. We realized moving to Miva was worth it in the end for the overall maintenance of the site.

“Since replatforming Bare Bones Broth to Miva from WooCommerce, business has grown exponentially.” -Mark Patterson

Mark Patterson speaks on growing ecommerce businesses including his own, Bare Bones Broth. Pictured: Laptop view of Bare Bones Broth ecommerce siteRelated: See how Miva helped Bare Bones Broth boost sales, save time, and supercharge their website speed.
Why did you choose Miva over other such platforms as Magento or Shopify?

The other co-owners explored Magento, Symphony Commerce, and Shopify Plus. I sat on several calls with those companies. We vetted them fully and realized that while we could build on a different platform, the level of access Ryan and Kate got to Miva’s leadership team was unrivaled. My ties to Miva were not even a factor. As I’ve learned firsthand across countless companies, and through phone calls with other ecommerce platforms, the level of attention and care given to each Miva client is unparalleled.

Then, when we were on Miva, Ryan and Kate made a few requests for features they thought would help Bare Bones Broth, as well as other merchants. Miva listened and added some of these features immediately to the roadmap, which have since been added to the software for the benefit of all users.

“That’s the type of company Miva is: very open to hearing feedback from customers in order to enhance the software, and experience, for all.” -Mark Patterson

Mark Patterson speaks on growing ecommerce businesses including his own, Bare Bones Broth. Product detail view of Bare Bones Broth.

Bare Bones Broth runs an award-winning site, but also sells on Amazon. From your perspective, why is it vital for brands to go direct as opposed to just selling on Amazon?

Going direct gives you, as a brand, better connection to your customers. One of the challenges of selling on Amazon is the lack of visibility into the customer experience. If a customer wants to return product on Amazon, we don’t always get insight as to why. Selling direct through the Bare Bones Broth site helps us understand what we can improve upon to enhance our product, and their experience with our brand.

Mark Patterson speaks on growing ecommerce businesses including his own, Bare Bones Broth. Here, Mark talks about the importance of brands going direct.

One other caveat about selling retail: we sell our products in hundreds of stores nationwide. This boosts brand awareness, but it also puts several hands between us and the consumer. That in-store presence is great, but only as a complement to your own ecommerce presence.

How has automating parts of your business helped Bare Bones Broth thrive?

Automating parts of our business has freed Ryan and Kate to focus on elevating Bare Bones Broth by growing sales and relationships with future customers and retailers. We used to fulfill and ship the product ourselves. Now we coordinate fulfillment with our shipper electronically via an integration we’ve built from the website to the center.

“As a business owner, working in a team is very important, as is identifying when you’re not the right person to solve a problem. If you can learn those things and come to terms with them, you’ll be more successful in the end.” -Mark Patterson

As a business owner and our Project Management Supervisor in one, you drive growth for several ecommerce businesses. What drives you to keep doing what you do, here at Miva?

That feeling you get when a project goes live and you can hear the smiles on the other end. When a client is at the end of this journey launching their business online, and they communicate their gratitude back to us—that’s the greatest reward, one which makes me proud to work at a company like Miva.