Interview with Molly Vinpa, Owner of NYC Longboards

What products do you sell?  When did you get started?

We started 3 years ago, selling custom-complete longboards (skateboards) and accessories. We started small and local, in the NYC market. The local response was great, but we felt that we could reach a much broader market if we sell online.

In addition, longboards are semi-seasonal, if you live in a cold climate (you can’t longboard in the snow!). So in order to keep our business going even when the local (NYC) market wasn’t buying new gear, we decided to sell online to reach longboarders in warmer climates too. We also wanted to get people talking about us, like in the longboard forums, and being online was the right way to do that.

Our website is (built on Bigcommerce)

nyclongboards-imageWho had the idea?  Was there an “A HA!” moment?

We started because one of our guys, Ike, couldn’t find a good local shop with decent prices and a good selection of gear – no super brilliant idea here! Once we started selling our products, the local response was overwhelming. Everyone was really happy that we were making good gear available at good prices.

The real validation happened when we started getting emails telling us how great our customer service was. We built our business on the idea that it’s not just good enough to sell good gear, but also to make our customers feel that they’re being taken care of. To hear from our customers that we were succeeding in doing that felt like we were doing it right.

Even though we’ve grown since the beginning, we always take care of our customers, without whom we would never have been able to get our shop off the ground.

What is your marketing secret?

A big part of our strategy is to get repeat customers and word-of-mouth marketing. We treat each customer as if they’re our ONLY customer. And we do our best to make each one happy (including throwing in free small goodies with each order).

We also try to be as personal and as “real” as possible. We don’t do big “professional” advertisements. We’ll post to our Facebook page letting our fan base know that we’ve got a great deal for them. We try to work with as natural a platform as possible.

People know when something’s not a REAL “deal”. Being the product expert, doesn’t make you smarter than the customer – treat the customer with the same respect you’d expect if you were shopping.

My advice to all small businesses is that you should be genuine and up-front with your customers. Always be available for personal communication, by phone, email, Facebook, etc. When responding to inquiries or issues, put yourself in the customer’s position and ask yourself – “What would I want them to do for me? Can I do that for them?”

How has Ordoro benefited you?

Ordoro has really let us take our business to the next level, making it possible for us to track each order received and all the activity related to it. Some of the most time-consuming part of fulfilling our orders can be printing the orders and their shipping labels, but with a couple of clicks on Ordoro, we can print the packing slips and the shipping labels. Ordoro integrates our multiple shipper accounts, like UPS and USPS, into one space, making it really easy and efficient to create shipping labels, and then keep track of them later on.