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Tonner Doll

Tonner Doll, an award-winning Kingston-based collectible doll design company, needed a new website with a user-friendly, seamless e-commerce experience that integrated with their existing accounting system—and we took on the challenge, using the Magento platform. We built the site on WordPress, ensuring that the client could easily update their own blog and events content, and we worked directly with the founder and creative leads of the company to create related, yet distinct brand identities for Tonner Doll Co. and its sister brand, Wilde Imagination. The result: a clean, modern website with a great customer experience.

Tonner Doll Website

"We wanted a clean, modern website... It was absolutely worth it. I’m so glad we went with these guys and I’m so glad they’re across the street. Kingston to Kingston."

TONNER DOLL COMPANY

Founded by former fashion designer Robert Tonner, Tonner Doll Company creates high-quality dolls, both original figures and dolls modeled after characters from movies, television, and comic books. Robert's work is coveted by dedicated doll collectors, even finding a permanent place in the Louvre Museum's Decorative Arts Department. Started in 1991, Tonner Doll opened its first retail store in 2007 right here in Uptown Kingston—just steps from Moonfarmer's front door!

Kale and the rest of the team with the Tonner team, Courtesy of Kingston Times

"I've been a fan of Robert Tonner for a while, as he’s been such a leader in the Kingston business community where we live and work," explains Kale Kaposhilin, Moonfarmer co-founder. So we were especially excited when we got the call to revamp their website.

THE PROBLEM

Though Tonner Doll Company had a website previously, it wasn't meeting their functional or organizational needs, for a few reasons. Built on the Drupal content management system, the previous used an e-commerce platform called NetSuite to manage its online store, a crucial part of its business.

Unfortunately, the company's experience with NetSuite was plagued with problems. Their staff was spending way too much time each day handling issues with their online store—from customers being unable to reset their passwords to login to their account to checkout errors that cost the company sales—preventing Tonner Doll Company from taking a proactive approach to business development, growth, and expansion. It was time. The company was ready to try a new e-commerce platform, with one caveat—whatever they switched to had to integrate seamlessly with their new internal accounting system.

Additionally, Tonner Doll Company and its sister brand, Wilde Imagination, were previously represented via two unconnected websites, requiring their customers to create two separate accounts to login and purchase from both catalogs. Since the brands shared many customers, this turned out to be a headache. They wanted a way to combine the websites—and their online stores—while maintaining the specific identity of each brand. We were up to the challenge.

OUR SOLUTION

A new, more functional e-commerce tool

screenshot of site categories as they appear on the site

Though Tonner Doll Company sells to consumers via its storefront in Kingston and to wholesalers over the phone, the majority of its revenue comes from online sales to collectors, consumers, and wholesalers all over the country (and the world). That meant a highly functional, user-friendly e-commerce solution was at the heart of our rebuild. We worked with e-commerce expert and consultant Paolo Vidali to zero in on the best solution for Tonner Doll Company: Magento, an award-winning digital commerce platform. Magento offered a solution to one of Tonner Doll's top requests: an easily accessed customer purchase history. Because many of their customers are long-time collectors, they wanted to use their order history as a kind of collection inventory. Magento provided that functionality along with others necessary for a great customer experience.

screenshot of cart management

A website that's easy to use for the company

For ease of management by Tonner Doll, the new e-commerce platform integrated with their accounting system and their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, allowing them to link up their production and inventory control processes with their online store.

Tonner Doll Company hosts a number of conferences and other events each year, so these needed a clear and prominent place on their website. We built their events page, along with the blog section of the website, on WordPress, for two reasons: a. the client was already comfortable with WordPress, making it easy for them to update, and b. no one does blogs better!

Distinct, yet integrated brand catalogs

Printed Style Tiles for Tonner and Wilde

To solve the Tonner Doll vs. Wilde Imagination problem, we unified the brands into one store on the same domain, allowing customers to use a single login. (We also combed through their customer management system to find customers shared by both brands, merging their two accounts in one.) The specific identity of each subset is maintained thanks to two unique, brand-appropriate color schemes, typographical choices, and logos. Check out the Tonner Doll Company and the Wilde Imagination web pages to see the difference.

A clean brand-appropriate design that highlights their work

The front end of the site (the side of the site with which Tonner Doll's customers will interact) is a completely custom design implementation. Tonner Doll provided their logos and beautiful product photography, which we wanted to showcase prominently on the website via a clean, modern design.

Screenshot of website header

Starting from these foundations, we developed an overall look and feel for the website, using style tiles to illustrate the color schemes, typography, and other design elements we envisioned. We worked closely with Robert Tonner (company founder) and Joe Petrollese (creative lead behind Wilde Imagination) during every step of the design phase to ensure that the final product reflected their brands' ethos.

THE TECHNOLOGY AT WORK

Magento, a digital commerce platform

WordPress, content management system

Custom front-end design

THE OUTCOME

The new website—both functional and beautiful—speaks for itself. "This project was complicated and there were a lot of moving parts," says Kale. "But I think we really made a great contribution to the success of Tonner Dolls, and I couldn’t be more proud of that. Now, I visit their website and it feels aligned with the level of quality that their dolls are known for around the world. That’s how it should be."

Also exciting about the project? The fact that it illustrates what can happen when two Kingston businesses join forces. "I couldn’t be more proud that our two Kingston businesses collaborated so successfully," Kale says. "That’s also how it should be in a smart, progressive community like Kingston.”

Tonner Doll Company founder Robert Tonner agrees, as quoted in an article in the Kingston Times:

"We wanted a clean, modern website... It was absolutely worth it. I’m so glad we went with these guys and I’m so glad they’re across the street. Kingston to Kingston."

What can a new website or web store do for your business? Contact us to find out!

A creative digital studio specializing in handmade websites, applications, and art.

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