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What's My Story?

From coding to consulting — it's been quite a ride!


Hello! I'm Keir, a UK-based marketing and business consultant and founder of Craft+Work who specialises in working with creative, digital, and ecommerce businesses.



I've been involved in the tech and ecommerce scene for the past 20 years. From working independently to collaborating with agencies, big corporations, and startups (including an exciting 7-year stint at Shopify). I've experienced many successes and failures that taught me invaluable lessons. Today, I channel this knowledge and expertise into helping clients across the globe.

MC Duties at Shopify Pursuit London 2018

Me (left) hosting Craft+Work London 2023

Since leaving Shopify, I've worked with dozens of creative agencies, SaaS companies, consultants, founders and soloists to help them find their voice, create customer-focused content, and host high ROI events. I've also coached multiple soloists and founders and helped them build their businesses and stretch their leadership skills.


Some Quick Facts

  • I'm a self-taught developer from the early days of the Web 1.0 era (yes, I remember the browser wars).
  • With over 25 years of experience in the technology, web, ecommerce, and SaaS sectors, I've accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
  • Throughout my career, I've taken on diverse roles, including development, product marketing, technical content, event curation, leadership, and partnerships.
  • I was one of the first 100 employees at Shopify, where I spent 7 impactful years on the Partnerships team (2012–2018).
  • In 2004, I founded my first web development agency, collaborating with clients across various industries and gaining valuable insights.
  • Small businesses and entrepreneurship have always held a special place in my heart. Working with passionate founders and leaders brings me immense joy.
  • I've had the honour of speaking at conferences, leading workshops, and hosting industry events, sharing my knowledge and connecting with fellow professionals.
  • I'm an investor in the Shopify app Smart Notifications, which reduces the overhead of manually filtering and passing orders to suppliers, vendors, staff, and customers.
  • In the summer of 2022, I created We Worked at Shop to assist individuals laid off from Shopify in June 2022 and subsequently May 2023
  • I am fascinated by the Cold War, Modernism, and advertising history. I like a strong IPA and an occasional cocktail.
  • I live in Bath, England, with my wife, two children and a feline companion who undoubtedly rules our household (although you won't find her on my team page).

Consulting & Coaching

Since starting my consultancy business in 2018, I've worked with dozens of creative agencies, SaaS companies, consultants, founders and soloists to help them find their voice, create customer-focused content, host high ROI events and develop their businesses through strategy and implementation.

In addition to providing consultancy services, I've also served multiple soloists and founders in a coaching capacity. Together, we've tackled challenges ranging from hiring and firing to service offerings and conference presentations. It's been a privilege to help and see positive change through these engagements.


7 Years at Shopify

Before starting my own consultancy business, I spent almost 7 years working at Shopify. In 2012, I joined the Partner Program team with the responsibility of promoting the benefits of Shopify as a platform and business opportunity to the web and entrepreneurial community.

I worked on many educational and content-focused marketing campaigns including the Grow series of books, technical and business webinars, online courses, and the Shopify Partner blog.

I gave away thousands of beautifully designed t-shirts, worked on conference stand designs, ran Liquid and theme building workshops, presented at conferences including Unite and MC'd numerous conferences including Pursuit. I was also lucky enough to build and lead a team of highly motivated and talented individuals who helped bring these ideas to fruition.


Conferences, Events, & Workshops

Since 2011, I have presented at several conferences in Europe and beyond. Additionally, I have devised and delivered workshops focusing on Shopify theme building, the Liquid template language, ecommerce, working in the web industry, podcasting, and the value of side projects.

As well as speaking at events, I have also been involved in producing and curating workshops and conferences. In 2016, as part of my work at Shopify, my colleague Cat Hunter and I put together the first A Day With Shopify conference in Bristol, UK. It attracted 150 Shopify Partners from 13 countries and was the forerunner of a five-country tour in 2017, and morphed into Pursuit for 2018.

These experiences have given me a unique insight into the value of in-person events and the benefits they can bring to a business. Helping select speakers craft their stories and hone their presentations has been a very rewarding experience and one I hope to do more of.


Craft+Work

In June 2023 I hosted the inaugural Craft+Work event in London, UK. in 2024 I'm taking the show on the road.

The London 2023 Craft+Work Cohort

Craft+Work is an intimate (only 50 participants per edition) event series that brings together freelancers, soloists, founders and small business owners to share experiences, learn from each other and prove that there is no right way to build and grow a creative, digital, or ecommerce business.

You can read more about the idea behind the series on my dedicated Craft+Work page.


De:brief 2019

In 2019, Cat Hunter and I hosted De:brief — a full-day event for Shopify Partners, which took place in Toronto, Canada, directly after Shopify Unite.

De:brief — The Definition of Community

De:brief — The Definition of Community

Attended by over 150 Partners working at the forefront of the ecosystem and supported by many leading agencies and app development companies, the day took the form of panels and discussions on the big announcements from Shopify's annual get-together.


Writing, Editing & Podcasting

Over the last ten years, I have contributed to many online and print publications including Net, Smashing Magazine, Tuts+, Creative Bloq, and SitePoint. From 2011‐ to 2012, I served as an editor with the amazing team at Smashing Magazine, helping curate and edit articles that appeared weekly. In 2017, I was delighted to be asked to be the technical reviewer for Gavin Ballard's Apress book "The Definitive Guide to Shopify Themes: Master the Design Skills to Build World-Class Ecommerce Sites".

Back in 2013 Kieran Masterton and I started a web industry-focused podcast called The Back to Front Show (site no longer active) and amassed 50+ episodes! We closed the pod down just before the pandemic. Podcasting is a great medium and, done well, can lead to unexpected returns.


A brief timeline of projects and work since 2000

  1. Real Customer Insights is a "done-for-you" service that brings your customer's voice directly into your business decision-making. In just four weeks, we will deliver unique insights from your customers that will reap marketing dividends for years.

    realcustomerinsights.com

  2. Craft+Work is an event series for founders, freelancers and consultants who don't subscribe to the notion that there's a "right way" to build a successful business. It's for those who are open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and keen to hear how others have done "their thing, their way".

    keirwhitaker.com/craftwork

  3. Launched in late 2022, Work With Shop was a job board for the Shopify ecosystem. The timing couldn't have been much worse as the economy, and therefore recruitment, took a nosedive. Nevertheless, many learnings were had, and I finally got to play with Kirby CMS.

    Closed August 2023

  4. I created We Worked at Shop to assist individuals laid off from Shopify in June 2022 and May 2023. The site was shared widely; many people reported finding their next role after posting their profile.

    Closed August 2023

  5. In association with long-time friend Cat Hunter, we launched a Shopify Partner community event called De:brief. This took place after Shopify Unite in Toronto and was attended by over 150 people. It was a good day.

    keirwhitaker.com/debrief

  6. After almost 7 years, I decided the time was right to move on and venture out on my own once again. Working at Shopify was a life-changing experience that prepared me well for the next adventure.

    Started my consulting business to help Shopify-focused agencies, developers, and technology partners. Since then, I've had the privilege to work with amazing companies and individuals.

    keirwhitaker.com

  7. Launched A Day with Shopify in Bristol, UK. Over the next two years we grew out a crack team and took the show on the road. Later morphing into Pursuit, we were lucky enough to host events in Bangalore, Melbourne, Seattle, New York, London, Berlin, and many other cities.

  8. Learnt quickly that growing up in the UK does not prepare you for a Canadian winter. This didn't put me off, and after dropping some serious coin on an insulated jacket, I began to relish my trips across the pond. That said, you'll never get me to enjoy a Ceasar!

    Started work as one of the first 100 at a small Canadian ecommerce company called Shopify!

    Launched The Back to Front Show podcast with future business partner Kieran Masterton. Over the next five years, we somehow managed to dispatch 50+ episodes of varying audio fidelity to an unsuspecting public. To our amazement, people listened, and to this day, old episodes are still downloaded.

    Closed 2019

  9. I kicked off the year with two aims — to double down on coaching and advisory work and launch a project that I had been sitting on for far too long. So far, so good — watch this space for more on that side project!

  10. For three years, I worked on several side projects with Elliot Jay Stocks under the banner of Viewport Industries. These included Insites: The Book (Free PDF Download), Digest (Free PDF Download) — a one-off lifestyle large format magazine, and Insites: The Tour — a four cities in four days tour chatting with web industry pioneers about their work journey. Our book launch party was something else; happy days!

    Attended web conferences, made new friends and learnt from the best in the business. Today, I reminisce fondly about the pre Brooklyn Beta Clover Club get-togethers, Marc's wonderful Beyond Tellerrand series, Jonny's Brighton late summer fun and heading to the land of grids and concrete cows for pizza with the geeks of MK.

  11. Moved from London to Bath, had children, and accepted that I was now an adult proper!

    Worked in a variety of roles at Carsonified (acquired in 2011), the UK-based company known for web-focused events such as The Future of Web Design and The Future of Web Apps.

    Additionally, I hosted and produced the web design and development podcast Think Vitamin Radio. The show made the shortlist for the annual .net awards two years running, which was nice. If asked, I say it came joint second in 2010! We were beaten by Zeldman, I'll take that!

  12. Got an education in code thanks to mentors Chris and Craig, whose development agency focused on large-scale data-driven web applications. Started to dabble in WordPress and undertake a variety of freelance projects. Around this time, I managed to be banned by Heart Internet for consuming 70% of their FTP bandwidth, but that's another story.

  13. I held several mostly web-related positions in the NHS (National Health Service) in East London, UK. In addition to fixing printers, installing Exchange servers, and helping local GPs understand the benefits of the internet, we built an intranet (remember them) using Dreamweaver and Microsoft Access that was used by thousands of users for many years!

  14. Before my first tech job proper, I spent two years working at the famous London venue The Royal Albert Hall. I have many funny tales from this era. Feel free to quiz me if we meet.

    Built my first website thanks to hosting that came free on the front cover of a magazine. From HTML 4.1 to stolen scripts and Classic ASP, the journey had begun.

    Sent my first email proper using Pine in a Terminal window on a Radius Mac clone. Downloaded more guitar tabs than I could ever learn courtesy of free and untracked university internet.

    Had my first taste of AOL and slowly realised that what I had seen in War Games in 1983 was becoming a reality. It wasn't long before I was playing online Tic-Tac-Toe with a stranger in Wisconsin and thinking about the possibilities this "internet" thing offered.


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About This Site

This is the web site of Keir Whitaker — I'm a UK-based marketing and business consultant and founder of Craft+Work working with creative, digital, and ecommerce businesses.

Fancy a chat? Book a free consultation with me and let's talk about how I can help you and your business.

Please connect on Linkedin and follow me on Instagram.

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