VINTAGE LIGHTING AND FAN SHOPPE
Meet our Sites We Love winner for 04/30/2011.
How did your business begin?
We already had an existing business selling our lighting and fans on Ebay. After I lost my job at a car dealership, we decided to take our business to the next level… a website. I found an ad at our local library offering a free website design class aimed at small businesses (through the Northeastern California Small Business Development Center), so I signed up. This is where I found Homestead. I immediately loved the ease and freedom of creativity that Homestead offered. With a small amount of assistance, I had the first few pages of my website live on the Internet at the second class. I was amazed.
How has the business grown throughout the years?
Being able to choose my own meta tags and keywords has put my website high in search results. The increase in sales that came with having a prominent presence on the Internet allowed us to expand our inventory. Adding more products was made easy because of the user-friendly nature of Homesteads web design software.
Do you have an interesting story to share with readers?
We had a local lady inquire about seeing some of our lighting in person. We took 3 light fixtures to her home, hoping to sell her at least one. When we got there, she inspected our lights and took us on a tour of her Arts & Crafts home. She suddenly starting pointing out which rooms that she wanted to put our lighting in. We had to scramble to find pen and paper. She ended up ordering 10 light fixtures that day. We learned quickly that personalized service really pays off!
What lessons did you learn along the way that can help new businesses just starting up?
- Aim high with your marketing ideas and follow through ( a simple Craigslist ad in Hollywood *my dream* gave us our first large sale)
- Offer a unique item
- Figured out who your target customers are and do research so you can do your marketing where they will find you
- Be creative while looking for opportunities to promote your website.
- Offer the best customer service that you can provide. Return clients are the core of our customer base.
What goals do you have in store for the future of your business?
We have already been featured in one national magazine (This Old House) and we will be featured again this summer. We would love to continue that trend with features in more decor and design magazines. We also would love to expand our inventory further and maybe offer some different products that fit into our theme.
Anything else? :)
Only that we appreciate the support given to us by intuit/homestead. The few times that I needed assistance, it was given to me in a friendly and timely manner. Thank You!
Thanks for sharing your story, Teresa and Craig!
Check out the website at http://www.vintagelightingandfanshoppe.com