Case Study

Real Thread

Envy Labs helped Real Thread break into a new tier of online retail.

Project Goals

They Did the Math

Real Thread spent thousands of hours per year building estimates by hand, and it was starting to hurt a little. A system could save their team from tedious calculation as well as give users the power to adjust options and see pricing in real-time.

Getting a Second Wind

Competitors’ sites had drag-and-drop shirt builders that were advancing year over year while Real Thread fell further and further behind. Envy Labs could build that and help Real Thread close the distance, no sweat.

Use The ’Force

Real Thread relied on Salesforce for many aspects of their business, from customer outreach to quoting to supplies. Letting the website tap into their existing systems would be a huge win if it meant Real Thread wouldn’t have to manage a new thing.


The World’s Greatest Tag Team

Real Thread had already started the design process with Drew Smith (who handled design for the project), but needed Envy Labs to complete the interactive picture.

Ice Cream Paint Job

Real Thread was undergoing a rebrand c/o Mackey Saturday alongside our engagement. A more fun and playful brand gave us room for more animation and character as we strung together new systems for them and their clients.

Real Thread logo by Mackey Saturday.

UX Help – 5¢

Envy Labs provided UX consultation, working with Drew Smith to take the shirt builder experience to the next level both visually and interactively.

Design + Develop

In Sync with Salesforce

Real Thread’s entire product catalog is now fully synced and up-to-date via Heroku Connect. Users can browse everything Real Thread offers, and Real Thread keeps it updated it in Salesforce — the same place they manage their inventory and business operations. Convenient for everybody.

Everyone’s a Critic

The old process of Real Thread’s generating mockups, clients’ making adjustments, over and over again, could take days or even weeks. But more frustrating was clients’ trying to communicate what they wanted without being able to design it for themselves. Real Thread’s new builder allows clients to design the shirt themselves. We also worked with Real Thread to optimize and serve thousands of high-res mockups 5.5x faster than their old site and at higher resolution.

Where’s My Stuff?

Envy Labs hooked up Real Thread’s order approval page — complete with high-res mockups — to their live pricing structure managed in Salesforce. Customers can request free revisions, chat with the Real Thread staff, and also refine their quantity & options and see the total cost update in real-time. All before they’ve paid a single penny.


The Results

Now Open 24/7

It used to take an entire business day for Real Thread to deliver quotes. Now the quotes are instant, any time of day (except for customer support chat — that’s still a day thing).

All Powered Up

Real Thread’s entire staff was able to meet 2.5× the number of customers without increasing anyone’s workload. Their quality of service improved, too, because they got to focus more on people and less on numbers.

Data Joins the Enterprise

Thanks in part to Ruby on Rails’ scalability and platform flexibility, Real Thread has been able to tap into analytics platforms like Optimizely, KISSmetrics, and Heap on a granular level. This new level of insight has helped Real Thread better understand their customers’ online interactions, improve their customer service, and increase conversions in the process.

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