A small business based out of Minneapolis, MN that specializes in equipment for combat sports needed a website to increase awareness and facilitate sales. Needs include displaying product and telling the story of the owner's brother, the inspiration for the business. Market research revealed that 5150 was the only business of it's kind with a personal story at the core of its mission, and was the only one that had a promise to donate ten percent of sales to treatment and research of mental health for athletes. I focused on the product, and found a third-party cart and payment processor to integrate into the site. Click any of the images to go the site.
The client wanted to establish a web presence for a new company that sells equipment for combat sports, but also seeks to educate customers about traumatic brain injuries as well support charities that research treatments and prevention. The business is inspired by the client’s brother, who was an amateur Mixed Martial Artist and who suffered from his own mental health challenges and ultimately took his own life (his mental health problems were not a result of MMA fighting). The site needed to provide information, the full product line, a means of communication, and a means of purchasing the products.
Because the inspiration for the business was so strong (the founder’s brother), my first inclination was to put that narrative on the landing page- one idea was to just have the story as the sole element, and later thinking that I should have a combination of the story and the product. The feedback I received told me that the product was the most desirable feature of the site, and the combination of the two looked too clunky. The final version of the site featured the product line and the mission statement, with the narrative on it’s own separate page. Because the mission of the business is to support traumatic brain injury research, I included a pattern of neurons in the background. Research into third-party applications provided solutions for the email return and the shopping platform, which were relatively simple to adapt to the site. An FAQ page with two columns made information about the company and mental health available with minimal effort.
I researched existing vendors of equipment for combat sports to get a sense of the feel and attitude, as well as the look and function of the competition. Hayabusa was a big inspiration, and other sites ranged from strongly branded to bare, “warehouse” style listings full of pictures and links. The branded sites (like Hayabusa) had attitude but no narrative- very well done but without any core mission or purpose other than an appreciation for combat sports. Additionally, the product lines generally represented only one discipline (MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing, etc.). I worked closely with the client, who conducted their own focus group to get feedback on the initial site layout, and provided that information to me.
The payment platform from Snipcart performs as expected, as does the PHP for the contact page. The public reception has been positive, and awareness has been up based on what the client has told me.
The next iteration will be built fully in Bootstrap, with the more up-front focus on the product. The client wants to incorporate photos of models wearing the products, and is shopping around for prospects. I would also like to learn a bit more about SEO, and incorporate that information.