Tour Santa Barbara Through Our Local Websites
A New Series Spotlighting Our Local Clients & Their Businesses
We’ve been developing and designing websites here in Santa Barbara for over fifteen years and in that time, because of our work with various companies and organizations, we’ve come to learn a lot about our community. Not all of our clients are local, but many of them are and we consider ourselves fortunate to collaborate with a lot of amazing local solopreneurs, companies and organizations. Some of our clients occupy the nooks and crannies, servicing small niches while others have high visibility. But they all have something in common. And that’s the incredible contribution they each make to this amazing city of ours.
This article is the first of many to come where I will spotlight local clients to give you a tour of Santa Barbara by getting to know some of its interesting, valuable and influential community members.
The Santa Barbara Company
I am excited to begin the series with one of our favorites, The Santa Barbara Company, a truly local company through and through and the premier online market for local wares. It all started in 2010 when Nancy Law, founder/owner tried unsuccessfully to locate special Santa Barbara made gifts to order online for friends and family both near and far. Now this may not have been a business kick start for just anybody, but Nancy is from a long time Santa Barbara family- 5 generations and her great-great grandfather was mayor in the 1920’s – and this lack irked and propelled her into a mission to rectify it. Nancy knows the magic of our town and creative community and realizes that there are many who would like to own a little bit of it in the form of its creations. She saw an opportunity to use her expertise and ingenuity to provide something important for our community and a dream was born. Nancy contacted us about her newborn idea on almost the very last day of 2011 and the rest is history.
We were thrilled that Nancy came to us for her web development. Having the chance to participate and collaborate with budding companies in their infancy is a fun challenge and a stimulating process for us. This project piqued our interest and faith immediately, because Nancy’s excitement was contagious and her commitment and obvious ability to carry it through to fruition were beautifully apparent right from the start. Plus, we just loved her instantly and knew we would form a great team together. Teamed up on the business, website and operations side with her daughter, Caroline Law, who is brilliant in her own right, this is a family affair with Nancy’s mother, natural history expert, Phila Rogers contributing to the blog and her son, Stuart Law also participating and advising from the sidelines. And truthfully, these are the kind of folks that can make anyone they come in contact with feel like part of the family which is part of the reason for their appeal and success.
The company mission and promise arrived at in those very early days was to bring together amazing artisans, craftspeople, merchants, food creators and offer their wares with an honest, down-to-earth approach benefiting both customers and creators with equal respect. True to form, Nancy has not wavered from that promise.
The Website Project
The primary goal of the web project was to deliver that concept and promise in a fresh, unique online venue and sales destination featuring the best of Santa Barbara made items and a single source of sales for many of the small local producers.
The plan was to create a premium website that would reflect their quirky and wonderful approach with an outstanding level of quality, sophistication and unsurpassed customer and vendor satisfaction. It would additionally be an online source for company expression in various topics from nature to local historic meanderings, events around town, local resources, links and recommendations.
Included in this goal, was the desire to create an outlet for them to write articles about our community, its splendor and both widely known and hidden secrets through the use of a blog. It’s worth some good reading time, by the way. Don’t miss it! The articles span all sorts of Santa Barbara traditions, landmarks, hiking trails, farmers’ markets, culture in general.
Our job was to take a good hard look at all these ideas and work with Nancy and Caroline to refine the company identity with them. This involved some brainstorming sessions that we call the Design Discovery. The next step was to carry that identity into design to arrive at the visual aspect of the company identity and then to make a website container that would communicate that message through the look and feel. The design of the website would not be only about look and feel though, it would be the container that would house the content and functionality of the static areas on the site and reach into the shopping cart for a seamless experience. So all of that function was a consideration throughout the process.
The technology we decided upon is a combination custom WordPress design paired with a customized x-cart shopping solution.
The site was launched in Fall 2012 and The Santa Barbara Company has been going strong ever since.
As is usual with a dynamic and vital web presence, there is a need for fluidity to adapt to what arises as a business lives and interacts with their website. There have been refinements along the way. Nancy and Caroline are deeply committed to continually listening to their customers, offering new products, improving the shopping experience and learning what will work best to provide the optimal premium local online market. These are two smart and highly creative business women in my estimation.
We invite you to visit the site. While you’re there, enjoy the blog articles and peruse the marvelous wares available in the store. And just in case you’re wondering, there is a headquarters showroom in town where you can purchase most of their items and if you live locally and buy from the website, you have the option to pick up your order rather than having it shipped.
To continue your Santa Barbara tour, watch for our next installment in this roundup of our local clients. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss it. Next in the roundup will be Casa del Herrero, House of The Blacksmith, the home of George Fox Steedman and his wife. Steedman was an industrialist, engineer and amateur architect. It is a legendary estate museum completed in 1925 designed by architect George Washington Smith with a team of architects and landscape architects in neighboring Montecito, CA. It is noted as one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in America.
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