At MiaBella, we produce, import, and distribute our own brand of small batch traditional balsamic vinegar from Italy.
Numbered and individually signed, MiaBella is handcrafted and carefully selected so that each bottle contains only the finest quality balsamic vinegar.
What are the key factors that have helped your store be successful?
We fell in love with Traditional Balsamic after tasting a drop from a bottle our friend had purchased. Once we realized purchasing our own bottle was out of the question, we saw a marketplace opportunity and began our work on MiaBella. Although our product is not cheap ($40 per 8.5 fl. oz.), our competitors sell for upwards of $250 for 3.8 fl. oz. bottles. That price difference is where we found our niche.
Imitation “balsamic vinegar” made out of wine vinegar, caramels, and artificial coloring is found on most grocery store shelves and is nothing compared to a true Traditional Balsamic. MiaBella is a luxury condiment; thick, sweet, and full of flavor. It may be the most versatile secret in anyone’s pantry because it tastes good on anything; steak and salmon, salads and strawberries, and desserts like vanilla ice-cream.
However, Traditional Balsamic can actually be very difficult to find and should be made with 100% Trebbiano grape must aged in Modena, Italy. Finding the right recipe and a producer that could meet demand was one of our biggest hurdles.
The right supplier for every aspect is crucial in creating a successful product and ecommerce store. There are going to be issues and this can not be avoided. Working with the right people that believe in the product, as much as you believe in it, is vital to finding a solution to the issues and ultimately leading to your company’s success. Every aspect of MiaBella, from the packaging to the actual product inside the bottle, is sourced from different parts of the world. It took us years to choose the best suppliers to work with and we never settled on a decision because it was “good enough” (even if that meant 2 a.m. phone calls to Italy and Spain). This may seem difficult because it is, but your customers will notice the attention to detail and become a fan for life.
Once we hashed out our logistical strategy, we had to find a way to sell our product. We had used a Shopify competitor (not naming any names!) and it was a User Friendly Nightmare! Since a few of us on the team had used Shopify in the past for other ventures, it was an easy sell and final decision. We knew that no other ecommerce platform compared to the endless capabilities, smooth User Interface and backend experience provided by Shopify. It made our lives simple and we were able to focus on driving traffic and increasing sales.
Four years after our first taste, we had found a recipe, a producer, established a supply chain, designed a brand, built a website, and launched our Shopify store: miabella.co
Our goal every day is to help new customers fall in love with MiaBella as much as we have.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Just because you are running an online store does not mean you can ignore traditional marketing and sales channels. Know the physical locations where your product is in demand as well as you would know what Reddit threads they post on. Figure out your customer’s personality traits and purchasing habits to determine where they “hangout”. Once you do this, you’ll find that both on- and off-line sales will begin to increase. Using the sales data from launching our Shopify store first is what allowed us to increase our offline retailer revenue. Take advantage of the apps in the Shopify App Store so you can track how long people are staying on your site, where they are visiting your site from, and catching any issues with your site as it happens. Many of the Apps are free and all are easy to install and integrate. Also subscribe to the Shopify Blog. Reading other entrepreneurs is the best way to learn.
Any Closing Remarks?
It’s easy to sell something you love. People can tell when you talk about your products whether you believe what you are saying or not. The best way to find a product to sell is to ask yourself: what do you love? and what surrounds the thing that you love? In our case, the thing that we loved was food.