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Helping to save our oceans with low code

Vera

A story from Makerpad
Quick Stats

Tools used: MemberStack, Zapier, Netlify, Smallchat, Mailerlite


Sales: 16 paying members within 24 hours

Build time: 2-3 months part-time

Helping to save our oceans with low code

What’s up guys, I’m James, mostly go by @traf online. I’m a freelance UI designer & front-end dev by day, and web tinkerer by night. I’m the cofounder of Vera, a membership-based platform for helping rid the ocean of plastic. Members get access to a personalized dashboard where they can track & visualize their impact, download beautiful wallpapers (curated by @visualsofearth), and will soon have access to exclusive discounts from eco-friendly brands. We also send out a monthly newsletter to our members with any updates and some interesting finds relating to sustainability. The entire platform was built with HTML, SCSS, basic JavaScript, and MemberStack for member-only dashboard access.

*note from Ben @ Makerpad: The HTML, SCSS, JavaScript stack is for building the website as Traf does this as a day job. Remember there are a bunch of ways to generate awesome websites without code. Use what you know and what you're good with. Traf and Luca have done a fantastic job with the site, looks absolutely beautiful!

Vera took us about 2-3 months to build on a semi part time basis. Both myself and my cofounder Luca are freelancers by day, so we squeezed any extra time we had into building Vera. MemberStack was a huge time-saver since it allowed us to focus on the user-facing side of things rather than dealing with the technicalities of identity and access management.

We also use Zapier with MemberStack, MailerLite, and Netlify to better streamline our workflow. Some of our zaps:
- Notify us in Slack of any new and/or cancelled Vera members
- Add new members to our mailing list in MailerLite
- Send successful website deploy notifications from Netlify

Netlify is a no-brainer for site hosting. We connect our site directly to Github for automatic deploys, and for the most part, it’s free to use, which allows us to keep our burn ultra lean at only $37/mo (MemberStack + MailerLite + domain name). Only other software we use is Smallchat which allows anyone visiting our website to chat with us live.

It’s still a little early to share any meaningful numbers seeing as how we launched our public website yesterday (October 1st), but since then we’ve gotten just under 800 unique views and have 16 paying members making for a conversion rate of just over 2%. We all gotta start somewhere, right?

"I am a big fan of the no-code movement since it allows more of us to bring our ideas to life, I would identify myself as more of a low-code maker"

Although I am a big fan of the no-code movement since it allows more of us to bring our ideas to life, I would identify myself as more of a low-code maker since I really enjoy coding simple websites with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I’m in love with building clean, simple, usable UI’s, so coding allows me to have more control over my designs. I don’t do any back-end development though, so I’m all for any tools that allow me to add logic to my websites (such as MemberStack). My design tools of choice are Sketch & Framer, with the former slowly being replaced by the latter. I have played around with Webflow and do plan on using it more often.

There was a huge shift in the no-code market since tools like Webflow made it easier to build custom websites, and I think next big shift will happen once more tools are created that allow you to easily add logic or utilize API’s within your website, without code. Super stoked for the day we can have an all-in-one platform that allows you to design & build software without code. The future merging of tools like Framer, Webflow, Bubble, and Zapier.

"Both myself and my cofounder Luca are freelancers by day, so we squeezed any extra time we had into building Vera. MemberStack was a huge time-saver since it allowed us to focus on the user-facing side of things rather than dealing with the technicalities of identity and access management."

- Contribute to cleaning our oceans without leaving your couch at joinvera.com
- See my other projects I’ll likely fail to launch at tr.af
- Hit me on all the platforms, I’m @traf almost everywhere
- Follow my cofounder Luca on Twitter, he needs more followers

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