Shopify Announces Build A Business Competition Winners

Shopify Announces Build A Business Competition Winners


Today, we're beyond excited to announce the winners of our Build-A-Business Competition! Over 3,000 entrepreneurs created new online stores that sold over $12 million in products during the eight month competition period. The grand prize is $100,000 cash, along with VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet with Timothy Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk for high-level business and marketing advice to further grow their business. Without further adieu, Gary Vaynerchuk is going to announce the winner:

In addition to the grand prize, we're awarding a total of $150,000 cash and $60,000 in Google AdWords credits to our industry and Canadian winners. Here is a visual overview of the competition. You can click on the image to view it in full-screen.

Shopify Announces Build A Business Competition Winners

We couldn't be happier with the success of all the ecommerce stores competing. We're going to be publishing in-depth articles on all winners within the coming weeks, but for now here's the leaderboard with some background information and description of their product(s):


Coffee Joulies

Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo (commonly referred to as 'The Daves') are two mechanical engineers from New Jersey. They went on Kickstarter to crowd-source their funding of Coffee Joulies with a goal of $9,500. They ended up raising $306,944 with 4,818 backers. They're one of Kickstarters most successful projects, and they're also one of Shopify's fastest growing online stores. Coffee Joulies are polished stainless steel beans that regulate the temperature of coffee. 

Coffee Joulies



Tattly was created by Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka swissmiss) out of her frustrations toward ugly rub-on tattoos. As Tina says, "Life is too short to drink bad wine and wear ugly temporary tattoos, right?" And so Tattly was born: A temporary tattoo online store for design-minded kids and kids-at-heart. Tattly's "tattoo artists" are some of the best designers in the world: Jason Santa Maria, Julia Rothman, Jessica Hische, Frank Chimero, Mark Johns, and many more. 



Opena Case

Rob Ward and Chris Peters solved a dilema of epic proportions; having a cold beer but no way of opening it. These two Australians asked themselves, "what's the one thing people have on them at all times?" The answer? Your cell phone. Solution? A sturdy iPhone case beer bottle opener. Confirmation that their idea was a hit came as soon as they listed Opena on Kickstarter. Opena garnered 50% of its target funding in the first week. Although sales for Opena Case are skyrocketing, the dynamic duo isn't resting on their laurels just yet - they've already developed a new product, the Quadlock Case, which allows you to mount your iPhone anywhere you like. 

Opena Case



Sophie Kovic was working as a projectionist at a small movie theatre last year. Then she read Timothy Ferriss' book "The 4-Hour Workweek." She followed his step-by-step instructions on how to create a successful online business (with a focus on Google AdWords) and built FlockStocks - a feather hair extension online store that's selling all around the world. 




Jesse Phillips was disillusioned with his computer science degree and became determined to save himself from working in a cubicle for the rest of his life. He semi-quit his day job and developed a gorgeous whole year calendar that is big (27" x 39"), and is designed to perfection. NeuYear is printed on premium quality, cream colored, uncoated card stock, and has a beautiful vellum finish. Design is important when it comes to calendars, because as Scott Belsky writes,"the design of your productivity tools will affect how eager you are to use them. Attraction breeds commitment."  



My Footy Boots

Brad Jorgensen used to teach Canadians the intricacies of "Australian rules football" for six years. When he returned to Australia he couldn't believe the price difference in footy boots (soccer cleats) between North America and Australia. He decided to bridge the gap in prices, he found good suppliers, then opened an online store offering fair prices. He has since expanded his offering to include soccer boots, running shoes, and rugby cleats. 

My Footy Boots


Simply Hops

Small batch beer makers often have difficulty finding a variety of quality hops available for purchase in small quantities. Especially if they want their hops delivered the next day. Simply Hops is an online store that was created to cater to craft beer brewers that don't want to make expensive bulk purchases. 

Simply Hops


Clearpath Robotics (TurtleBot)

Remember thinking as a kid that by the time we're adults we would all have our own personal robots? Well, Matthew Randall and four other mechanical engineers from the University of Waterloo decided to do something about that by creating TurtleBot. This fully functional and customizable robot is built on an open-source framework and is developed with the best low-cost hardware. For example, the 3D sensor is actually a Microsoft X-Box Kinect.

We're constantly amazed by the businesses that Shopify store owners launch, and this competition was no different. So many amazing new businesses have been started over the last 8 months and we are proud to be a part of that. Thank you to everyone who participated.

UPDATE: Tim Ferriss has posted in-depth interviews with the winners on his blog. 


  • Trevor Stevenson
    Trevor Stevenson
    February 29 2012, 11:48AM

    You guys are killing it!! Well done Shopify

  • Rachel M
    Rachel M
    February 29 2012, 02:42PM

    Wow congratulations Coffee Joulies. I’m more of a tea drinker but by the sounds of it our product would work for that too.

    $500,000 is quite the carrot to dangle in front of entrepreneurs, so i’m not surprised over 3,000 people signed up for this.

    Well done Shopify.

  • Marie
    February 29 2012, 02:50PM

    Congrats to Coffee Joulies – such an inspiring business! Thank you to Shopify for everything you do to promote business.

  • Al
    February 29 2012, 03:11PM

    it’s great that you do this kind of thing to help small businesses Shopify. Thank you.

  • Scott Fox,
    Scott Fox,
    February 29 2012, 07:26PM

    This is really inspiring.

    Thank you to Shopify for organizing this competition to show aspiring entrepreneurs that there is still plenty of room for individual entrepreneurs to find success online today!

    I’m looking forward to interviewing some of these winners on my podcast.

  • www.PortableSolarPower.Biz
    February 29 2012, 08:08PM

    Yea the polished beans are really cool. Going to have to use Kick Start sometime for a new project.

    Ryan @ www.PortableSolarPower.Biz

  • Max
    March 01 2012, 02:11AM

    My vote would of gone to as it really is a cool product but some products that won are interesting.

  • Craig Hinton
    Craig Hinton
    March 01 2012, 08:51AM

    Congratulations Coffee Joulies, fantastic product.

    Well done.

    Craig Hinton @

  • JR
    March 01 2012, 09:39AM

    Congrats Coffee Joulies, very inspiring. Thank you Shopify, kicking myself for not participating!

    jr @

  • Eric
    March 01 2012, 01:50PM


  • Rob Ward
    Rob Ward
    March 02 2012, 09:32PM

    The Clearpath Robotics video is super cool!

  • Jennifer
    March 03 2012, 09:48AM

    Ha the office theme song in the clearpath video is perfect.

  • Mike
    March 03 2012, 03:10PM

    Amazeballs! Great work to the winners and the honorable mentions. NICE!

  • Shelly
    March 04 2012, 09:11AM

    Just came across this as I am new to the online world. How exciting to see entrepreneurs have such an incredible opportunity.

    March 06 2012, 08:14PM

    Congrats to all of the winners! Wish we had heard about the competition in time to enter, but we were very busy with our site launch (high quality handmade pens). It’s such a joy to see people bring their business ideas to life, and of course Shopify makes that so much easier!

  • Goldenwire dot com
    Goldenwire dot com
    March 07 2012, 02:51PM

    Sophie Kovic (flockstocks) actually followed the process that Tim Ferris described in the 4-Hour Workweek! Great stuff and congrats to all.

    March 07 2012, 11:56PM

    how do we sign up for the next competition?

  • dan
    March 08 2012, 04:11AM

    well done Simply Hops!!

  • Demetrio Amaya
    Demetrio Amaya
    March 08 2012, 01:07PM

    hi how can I find out the rules and process to sign up for the next one!!!

  • Steven
    March 08 2012, 07:52PM

    When will the 2012 competition be announced?

  • goal setting
    goal setting
    March 22 2012, 10:49PM

    Congratulations to everyone. I look forward to hearing more about your continuing success!

    Live Your Dreams,

    Jill Koenig

    March 28 2012, 04:36AM

    I’m so excited to see how many interesting and diversified categories the winners are coming from. Wishing you all the best and continued success in your endeavors!

  • Emily
    April 03 2012, 10:42AM

    Congrats to all of the winners! It’s so inspiring & motivating to see all of these successful entrepreneurs!


  • Ronit
    May 18 2012, 04:56PM

    Love the Coffee Joulies idea, inspirational!!!


  • Charlie @FulfillRite Fulfillment
    Charlie @FulfillRite Fulfillment
    May 23 2012, 10:53AM

    We have worked with many successful Kickstarter projects which used Shopify as the eCommerce platform and they were extremely happy with it!
    Coffee Joulies is a really great product I love it! as well a great Kickstarter / Shopify example.

    Kickstarter Order Fulfillment is our specialty

  • Kurt Frankenberg
    Kurt Frankenberg
    July 28 2013, 10:14AM

    WOW! This contest is exactly the sort of thing this country (indeed, EVERY nation) really needs. Will there be a repeat, and if so, when? I started a service business with my 15 year old son when he said no one is hiring kids under 16 in our area. This has helped him realize that you can make your own job regaardless of your circumstances. But to develop a product business together and market it on Shopify, THAT would be really something. Please put me on your mailing list should you do a contest like this again. Thank You!
    Keep Stepping,


  • Jacqueline
    December 11 2014, 02:18AM

    Its great to find these amazing winners. Do check out my shop at Thanks you.

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