Made with Miva: Vintage Makers / Smokin’ Betty’s
In 1994, a local wine merchant contracted Darren Wood to design the interior layout for his package store. The merchant wanted a store layout that focused on his wine sales. Since that first store in 1994, Darren Wood started Vintage Makers and has been designing, manufacturing and installing custom residential and retail wine cellars.
To this day, Vintage Makers is one of only a few companies in the country that build and install their product. That gives them the opportunity to create and customize projects while they’re in process. Other competitors would need to contact the mill shop where they purchased the racking, wait for pricing, wait for product and then finish the install. Vintage Makers can be back on site within a day.
Darren offers the unique designs and millwork that he’s created over the past 19 years and has since extended into the humidor market. All of the products featured online are built in Darren’s shop in Southern New Hampshire.
Over the years, Darren began to incorporate small “humidrawers” into many of his clients’ wine cellar designs. In 2009, while smoking a few cigars with a friend, the concept of Smokin’ Betty’s was born. His original idea was to go back to his retail clients and offer to build them a custom, climate controlled humidor with top selling hand rolled cigars. That idea evolved into SmokinBettysCigars.com.
Finding a Custom Fit
“After many years of failed, miserable attempts working with e-commerce solutions (Big Cartel, Custom Works, IBM Solutions), I came across Miva on a search and it looked promising,” recalls Darren.
“My first priority I was looking for with Miva was the cigar resale, and then to slowly introduce our racking, cooling systems, custom cabinets and accessories. Whenever I’ve had an idea about ‘Smokin’ Specials,’ a photo gallery or other custom features, the Miva Design team has been outstanding in getting back to me with ideas and implementation.”
“What I like most about using Miva is the competency of the staff, the ease of use of the back end, and the ease of customization.”
Darren’s Key to Online Success:
“I’ve come across a few situations when a product wasn’t immediately available or customers had questions,” says Darren. “I’ve been sure to respond within that day and have received great e-mails thanking me for that type of customer service. I believe the key to our online success is treating our customers as if they were in a brick and mortar store.”
“Orders don’t just come in overnight. There is a lot to the SEO component to make sure you can be found amongst your competitors.”
“It’s a slow start and that is the way I want it to go. I want to introduce products and information that is well thought out and consumer friendly. I’ve found too many stores that are information overload and that most of the information is irrelevant to what the consumer is looking for.”
“If you can think it, we can build it.”
Darren says, “I’ve been in business for almost 20 years. I’ve personally handled the design and implementation on all of our products. I’ve often said, ‘If you can think of it, we can design and build it. If you can’t think of it, we can.’”