Hi, I’m Jeff Benzenberg. SoapFusion is my personal website.
I head up the marketing and design departments at eRetailing.
I got my start in the business of the web in late 2004. I had just earned a BS in Industrial Design from Ohio State and was feeling ambitious. A friend and I decided to build an online store that sold products from some of my favorite modern designers. We called it Follow Function. It was a neat little company, but alas, it remained a side project.
I suppose the main purpose was to learn as much as I could about running an online company, and in that respect, Follow Function was a big success. I taught myself Adwords and osCommerce. I learned about shopping carts and web navigation. It was great.
In the winter of 2007 I saw an ad for an open position at eRetailing. They needed someone to take over their paid search programs. I had never heard of eRetailing before, but when I saw their flagship product, Customized Girl, I was thrilled. I had just finished reading Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail, and right here in Columbus, Ohio I found what could have been the poster child for Long Tail economics. I think my giddiness came across in the interview and I was hired.
Customized Girl is a website where users can design their own apparel. We have an easy-to-use design center where you can add your own text, art, and images. You can change fonts, change colors, move objects around and create pretty much whatever you want. We’ll print it and ship it out (no minimums!). I suppose there were a good amount of similar websites around at the time, but this is what made Customized Girl special: you could save your designs to a gallery. At the time, only a few competitors shared this feature.
In the gallery, I saw the potential. With Follow Function if you weren’t specifically searching for one of my products, I couldn’t really sell to you. My only option was to go out and manufacture the demand. And honestly, manufacturing demand in a crowded market is damn hard.
But Customized Girl was different. All I had to do was identify where the demand already existed, save some new designs to the gallery, and use Google Adwords to funnel that traffic to my new gallery page. It was, and continues to be, a beautiful thing.
As an example, let’s say I notice that Roller Derby is growing in popularity. I’ll have my team save a bunch of Roller Derby t-shirts, bags, and hot shorts and tag them all “Roller Derby”. I might add some custom HTML to the page if necessary. Then I’ll build PPC campaigns in Adwords and Adcenter. I’ll add the keywords, write the ads, and link them to our new landing page. I can even create a couple sets of banner ads and place them on Roller Derby websites. Cool, right?
So that’s an intro to what I do. Oh, also, I’m really good at fusing pieces of bar soap together. You know when you’re almost done using a bar of soap and all that’s left is a skinny sliver? I’ve really honed the skill it takes to fuse that sliver into your new bar of soap, and I’m quite proud of it. Perhaps I’ll create an illustrated tutorial soon. Look out for that.
You can find me all over the web. Here are some of my accounts: