Making a new classic
or How we created a disruptive B2B2C Marketplace from scratch.
The HighBoy was a ground-breaking startup providing the best online antique marketplace. Founded by Olga Granda and Doug Scott, this custom platform innovated in many ways that later would be adopted by the likes of 1stdibs and Catawiki, among many others. It was featured by the Wall Street Journal as "a hip contender to the antiques throne".
The Highboy ceased operations in 2019.
What started as a branding exploration quickly became a full platform development project. Our team built TheHighboy from the ground up, creating features and experiences for sellers and buyers, marketing integrations, analytics and data management, privacy and payment interfaces, and more.
Our first step into the project was coming up with a brand new logo, visual identity, brand guide and materials. We needed something elegant, editorial, strong, current yet classic. I think we nailed it but hey, I’m just a biased copywriter! Check it out:
The HighBoy logo, 2013
This wasn’t a simple corporate site design, branding, blog, or an eCommerce gig. It was all of that all of that together and then some. We needed to create an entire marketplace from scratch. It had to reflect the founder's vision, satisfy the buyer, and please and engage the sellers. And above all we needed to come up with a product in tune with a very specific niche industry where beauty means everything.
Diving into such a process is not easy if you don’t know what you’re talking about, so we had to dive into the exotic world of antiques and antiquaries, head first. Do you know what Gustavian furniture is? We didn’t. We listened hard and learnt faster.
Mobile app design
So we had our design, our backend UX, and we needed to move on to coding. We chose a stack of tech ensuring performance, speed and reliability. We developed a bespoke backend and ecommerce platform using Rails. Then we added the finishing touches with a beautiful online magazine, a perfect newsletter, and an unmatchable user experience.
Sadly, The Highboy didn't make it. Fighting against the top companies in the industry raised eyebrows and made waves, but it wasn't enough to compete and prevail in the long run. But oh (High) boy, it was a beautiful adventure!
Our work helped the Miami-based startup to compete on a national scale, on a fraction of the time — and budget — compared to local agencies, and with a world-class beauty and quality.