Nancy Law’s business idea seemed so simple she was surprised no one else had already thought of it.
Create an online marketplace for locals and visitors to purchase a range of products made in and around Santa Barbara that are also representative of the iconic seaside city.
Seeing none, the longtime Santa Barbaran worked nearly a year to develop the online platform and a proper list of vendors before launching the Santa Barbara Company website a year ago.
Locally made olive oils, pickles, surfboard cutting boards and more, just clicks away.
A friendly hounding from loyal local customers compelled Law to recently open a physical headquarters and showroom in a renovated bungalow at 214 E. Victoria St.
Not bad for one year on the job.
“They’re the reason we got this space,” said Law, who runs the business with the help of her daughter, Caroline. “We’re very reluctant retailers. We’re sort of like one combined source. It’s so fun.”
On a recent morning, the mother-daughter duo excitedly listed some of the vendors who have embraced the online marketplace.
Shepherd’s Farms, Pacific Pickles Works and twenty-four blackbirds chocolate readily came to mind, joining more than 100 other items available on the website that carries a select number of vendors in any given area.
Caroline Law, a recent UC Berkeley graduate who originally planned to help out her mother for just a few months, lovingly refers to the inventory as “Santa Barbara swag” — souvenirs that are anything but touristy T-shirts and baseball caps.
“I think there is a movement shopping local,” she said.
About a third of customers are locals buying for themselves, with a second group of locals buying for out-of-towners. Out-of-area customers make up the other third.
Nancy Law, who previously worked in finance, said she takes the same pride in her business as she does her city.
Five generations of her family have lived in Santa Barbara, she said, including a great-great grandfather, Henry Augustus Adrian, who was mayor in the early 1920s.
“My heart is in all things Santa Barbara,” she said. “It’s so rewarding. We want to be here forever.”
Especially relevant as the holidays near, Law said the Santa Barbara Company offers to wrap, pack and ship items purchased by customers.
The duo said they’d like to make more orders or items for special events and weddings, and want to grow their vendor base with others they deem “the right fit.”
The Laws encouraged locals interested in joining the online marketplace to submit proposals or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.