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Cheryl Cui

We are a Vancouver-based Shopify Partner Agency that helps Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) eCommerce brands to launch, grow, and scale through the Shopify ecosystem. Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to bring more happiness to the world through their awesome products.

Tell us about yourself?

After graduating with a business degree specializing in entrepreneurship, I joined the banking industry like many of my peers from business school. I learned a lot there but always felt that something was missing. One day, my whole team was laid off during a company restructuring. I turned this challenge into an opportunity for myself and took the courage to start my first-ever online eCommerce store. During COVID-19, many people began to work remotely, so I dived into products that make people work more comfortably at home. I had to learn everything from scratch and went through a lot of detours. It was a hard journey having to figure out everything from store design to driving traffic. Online resources, networking, and experience increased my DTC industry knowledge. I thought to myself, “I am pretty good at designing and developing sales-converting stores. Why not help others do the same?” I then started freelancing and soon launched my agency named Kikstart Ecom. Now we have 18 full-time members in the team with dedicated eCommerce strategists, designers, and developers. We work with solopreneurs to eight-figure Shopify Plus brands supporting them to scale with dedicated Shopify knowledge.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Building a process for each position in the business is crucial to scale! It is very important to have this mindset at the beginning to set the business ready for scaling. There is no way to hit a yearly revenue of 1 million with a random business outreach strategy and random project fulfillment procedure. Each step should be planned and executed well to ensure the business has continuous happy clients.

What problem does your business solve?

Many eCommerce stores are live, and the business owners are trying their best to drive traffic to their stores, but there are simply no consistent sales coming in. The challenge is not to have a store but to have a sales-converting brand – nowadays, the consumer’s span of attention has reduced. You only have three to four seconds to grab their attention when they land on your website. You need a strategic approach to tell your product’s benefits and brand story, build trust, etc. We exactly focus on this aspect to create a more user-friendly environment for customers to buy from your DTC brands instead of swiping away.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The answer is similar to “why I got into this line of work”. Our target profile is entrepreneurs who want to launch their eCommerce stores or want to optimize their store conversion rate.

What is your magic sauce?

There are, in fact, many Shopify agencies, but we are one of a few that can provide Shopify service in both Chinese and English. We also take a “consumer-focused” scientific approach instead of a “client-focused” approach, meaning we do everything to make sure the brand’s end consumers have a good experience on the website instead of delivering results that only make our clients happy. When we have different views internally or with our clients, we analyze the data and present a solution that is the best for the customers.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We are productizing our services into Shopify build, CRO, Monthly Site Maintenance & Optimization. Within the next five years, we are becoming a full-service Shopify agency that not only focuses on design and development but also provides services to help brands scale with influencer marketing, paid ads, SEO, social media management, etc.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

We were relying on referrals to drive our agency growth for a long, long, long time because we have clients and agency partners who love our work and refer us leads. However, to be able to grow the agency to the next level, that was not sustainable. I learned that every business should have a growth strategy that involves outreach to cold traffic, just like how we’d advise our eCommerce brands to have multiple marketing channels to reach their audience. We now use Upwork, content marketing, and LinkedIn outreach to meet new brands that we can add value to.

How can people get involved?

If you happen to have any eCommerce/Shopify-related questions or know someone who may benefit from our Shopify services, you can reach me at or directly add me on LinkedIn at I look forward to sharing what we do here at Kikstart to help DTC brands convert more sales!