HiNelson is a start-up that in a short time has managed to become one of the benchmarks in the world of online sales for nautical accessories with its platform HiNelson.com. There are many plans for the company’s future development: the start-up has launched a crowdfunding project to invest in new projects, involving its large community, raising 130,000 euros in 6 days.
WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF HINELSON
Its young founder, Marcello Labruna, has managed to combine his passion for the sea, inherited from his family, with the digital world.
Born into a family of entrepreneurs with activities related to the nautical world, Marcello inherited his passion for the sea from his father Angelo, but the desire to create something innovative pushed him to get involved, not without effort, thus giving up the stability and security of his father’s company.
In 2016, he moved to Milan to attend the E-commerce Master’s program organized by Talent Garden Innovation School, Europe’s largest innovation hub. Through this important training experience and the stimulating campus environment, Marcello Labruna settled into TAG’s coworking spaces and founded HiNelson.com, an online store of nautical accessories and components.
Thus began a long and challenging journey that would lead HiNelson, 24 months after its founding, to be considered a benchmark of online shopping in the industry with a catalog with about 200 brands, more than 12,000 products, 5,000 paying customers, and new projects that focus on sharing and innovation.
Marcello, what is the strength of HiNelson?
HiNelson was born digital, so only with e-commerce, in a country like Italy where the online store is mainly a need to clear store inventory. Being digital first has therefore allowed us to follow the customer’s needs with the prerogative of being able to offer them the lowest prices. HiNelson’s investments are thus aimed at improving site services and facilities, all to “pamper” the customer.
What are HiNelson’s new goals and growth strategy?
Thanks to the collaboration with Digital Magics, an incubator of innovative startups, today our goals are to be able to grow further in the Italian market by offering innovation, such as covering services of the national territory up to the inclusion of offline facilities, and of this there will be important news that will be made official soon. In addition, we wanted to open the doors of HiNelson through
a crowdfunding project
. A choice that stems not so much from the trend of start-ups using similar projects, but from the willingness and desire to share, in the truest sense of the word, the company with our customers and investors, who become partners and ambassadors of HiNelson, a nice way to grow. The proof to this was that after only 6 days of launching the project we reached 130,000 euros. Investing members, depending on the investment also have the tangible benefit of having discounts on purchases. Another feedback that the formula was successful was when some customers, who invested in HiNelson, called me because they wanted a T-shirt, a gadget they could show their friends at the dock, because they were proud to be part of the Hinelson community. Here, this is a great achievement.
What are the characteristics of the boating market in Italy?
The turnover of the nautical accessories and components compartment is about 600 million euros, where the outlets, small family-run businesses operating locally, reach about 300 thousand euros in turnover. A market that of Italian boating therefore still underdeveloped from the digital point of view, where there is a lack of a large B2C player capable of embracing the entire national territory. The user today is accustomed to online shopping in realities such as Amazon, but in boating this is still lacking, and we at HiNelson aim to become the agglomerating element where innovation and competitive prices become within the reach of the consumer, both domestically and across borders.
Who is HiNelson’s customer?
HiNelson’s customers can be divided into three types: the enthusiast, the customer who is just getting into boating, and the owner who invests his or her free time aboard his or her boat. They are entrepreneurs, freelancers, but above all they are people who follow their passion, even in the face of sacrifice, thus dispelling the myth that boating is for the few. These are people who have made the choice to invest their time and savings in sailing, thus returning to boating that is first and foremost a passion. HiNelson therefore works to ensure high quality standards and lower prices, because the passion for boating is a common element.
What are the advantages of e-commerce?
The advantages of an e-commerce are also the pillars, the gospel, of HiNelson; simplicity, speed, affordability for the customer. Three seemingly trivial elements but which we have elaborated over these three years. On the store we work so that everything is simple, immediately understandable and transparent; quick ;, because we live in an age where the customer places the order today and wants delivery yesterday, so it is critical to be quick, and not only in delivery but also in response; last but not least, our customers need to save money. In fact, the economic aspect is important, and we at HiNelson work to ensure that the products in the catalog have the right prices, and not the value attached to that world of boating that had, in years past, tended to attach a much higher cost because it was considered luxury.
How are HiNelson’s suppliers chosen?
Today our catalog has about 200 brands, some of which were chosen by the staff, but many were suggested by our own customers who sent us their feedback. The vendor who enters HiNelson’s catalog therefore finds himself with an absolutely active and attentive user base, but more importantly one that covers the entire country, and no longer local. When we propose new products or new brands, the response from customers is immediate, and this is an important effect of the work we are doing.