A Gap in the Market
West Ninth Vintage, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was founded about 5 years ago. Frank Iannucci and his wife had a hobby of renovating old homes on the side. They continually ran into the issue of finding light fixtures that fit the style and architecture of a historic home, but were also functional and updated for modern use. To solve this problem, Frank began designing light fixtures for the homes they renovated. About a year or so later, Frank quit his job in the finance sector to dedicate himself full-time to West Ninth Vintage. Today, West Ninth Vintage is run by a small team of mighty people and shows no signs of slowing down.
How did you find your way to Bonanza?
West Ninth Vintage is a unique company. We create our own designs and manufacture our lighting fixtures in-house. Because of this, we need to interact with customers directly. We were recommended to Bonanza by a friend who was using Bonanza to buy their own home decor and thought it would be a good place for West Ninth Vintage to explore.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first started and how did you resolve them?
One of the biggest challenges when selling online is shooting high quality images for our items. Because of the nature of our products, our users need to be able to envision the product in their own home. We aim to capture that tangible feeling in our photos. However, lighting is difficult to shoot because it requires light to be shot but also gives off light in the photo.
What has surprised you the most about becoming an online seller?
I have been surprised by how different the customer base is on different marketplaces. Some marketplaces, like Amazon, draw customers who are very cut-and-dry - they either want to buy your product or they don’t. Other marketplaces have customers who are very open to communicating before a purchase is made, allowing for more customization options. This means that it’s essential to tailor your item listings for different client bases, as the service you provide on each marketplace is different and results in varying customer experiences.
If you could start all over again, would you have approached online selling differently? What advice would you share with those looking to enter ecommerce?
It doesn’t happen overnight. It took a full year or two working a full-time job and doing this on the side at night and on weekends so that we could build volume, grow our customer base, run trials and errors, find the right photo settings, and so on. If I had to do it again, would have been more patient. You get out what you put in, whether that’s monetary, mental time, or effort. The reality is that the more we put into the business, the more we get back. Nothing happens with minimal effort. People give up so quickly when it doesn’t happen, but you have to be in it for long-term. Once you find what formula works for you, stick with it.
Fast Facts with Frank...
- What was the last book/article you read? E-Myth by Michael Gerber.
- When you’re not busy working on your online business, what do you do for fun? Spend time with my family, surf and eat donuts.
- What is your favorite part about online selling? Everyday is something different and the opportunities are endless.
- If you could get on a plane tomorrow and go anywhere for free, where would you go? Barcelona, Spain.
Today's scavenger hunt item is: something with exactly 8 items in stock. Once you find something on Bonanza that fits this criteria, share it on Bonanza's Facebook page. The guidelines to participate in the Facebook contest are as follows:
- Users may participate in all 8 days of scavenger hunts, but you only NEED to participate once to be eligible for the contest.
- Users may post a maximum of twice per day.
- Users must post an item from Bonanza.
- Users may post their own item if relevant to the day's theme.
The winner(s) will be selected at the end of the week, with responses from all 8 days considered. The winner(s) will receive our Great 8 Prize Package. This package includes:
- 1 TurboTraffic Package
- 1 month of Background Burner Personal
- A booth consultation
- Item(s) from your booth featured in a homepage HPL
- A Custom Badge for profile
- An Item feature on Facebook / Twitter
- A Bonanza T-shirt
- A Bonanza Sticker variety pack
Be sure to check back here to find out each day's theme. Happy Hunting!
We want to say thank you for being loyal users of Bonanza. Without your feedback and input, we wouldn't be able to build a site that sellers recommend over Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. This week, we are featuring big discounts from Bonanza sellers on the homepage. Discounts start at 20%. Don't miss out - check out the homepage for hand-picked lists that feature great deals throughout the anniversary promotion.
We’ll also be offering a steep discount on annual memberships during our anniversary celebration. Enjoy an additional 25% off when you sign up for a new annual membership, upgrade from a monthly membership to an annual membership, or upgrade your current annual membership to a higher annual membership level. Don’t miss this opportunity for huge savings on membership-only features that will benefit your store long-term!