Roberto Ranoa

The VIPARO Group runs two websites specialising in niche products, primarily fashion and photography lighting equipment.


Ranoa says both businesses are based on the same concept of creating unique products for exclusive online sale.


“We have outsourced the majority of our website development to a team of overseas freelancers, which has allowed us to focus more on sourcing and developing higher quality product offerings to our customers,” he says.


“VIPARO is a fashion label of leather garments and accessories, which sells exclusively online through our multiple channels including our website, Westfield, eBay and ASOS Marketplace.”


“Hypop, on the other hand, is an online retailer of photography equipment catered to the entry-level or semiprofessional photographers.”


According to Ranoa, the rise of larger online retail sites – such as Zappos, Dick Smith, Kogan, eBay and Amazon – have reduced the barriers for most consumers to purchase products online.


“This in turn has assisted us smaller online retailers to grow in an otherwise cluttered industry,” he says.


As with most small businesses, Ranoa says gaining exposure proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of starting up.


“We have organically grown by focusing heavily on the products we offer and promoting a more online-heavy marketing strategy through SEO, Google Adwords and social media marketing,” he says.


“We’ve found that by maintaining a unique, transparent brand story, we’re able to attract loyal customers and gain exposure through word-of-mouth.”


Ranoa says the best part of starting up the business was the ability to develop an entirely new brand and product, and assembling a team with “the same passion and drive for the products that we offer”.

Since 2010 StartupSmart has been Australia’s no.1 publication for the startup community and those interested in the startup movement globally. Publishing news, information and advice daily, and placing itself squarely at the centre of the government’s national innovation agenda, StartupSmart is a leading participant in the momentum that surrounds the world’s focus on technology, creativity and entrepreneurialism.