Susan Sigel Goldsmith talks really really fast. Which goes along with her brain (speedy), endeavors (varied), and imagination (colorful). She’s the owner of TicketsMV, and she uses all of those qualities running the Island business she founded in 2007.
Back then, ancient history in tech-speak, the need for an online ticketing service wasn’t overly clear, especially in the small Martha’s Vineyard market. “When I launched TicketsMV, most people couldn’t see the need for online ticketing. Cell phones were still relatively rare, and they were just phones, no internet via your phone. Online connectivity on the Island was patchy. Up-Island, connectivity was challenging at best. Sometimes I miss the remoteness you felt as soon as you got on the boat.”
Goldsmith is a marketing whiz who keeps up with the extremely complicated, continually shifting developments in the field, with new norms presenting themselves monthly, if not weekly. The ingredients of her varied career add up to a great set of marketing skills. She managed a regional merchandising team for Nintendo, with national and international responsibilities. She’s worked in a field which has gone from print, direct mail, landlines, faxing, CD-ROMs, and dial-up to email, social media, video, and who knows what’s next, staying technically abreast, using each step to her advantage. She’s developed data processing, programming, and website design for custom uses. All good stuff for a business like TicketsMV.
Goldsmith has one of the standard wash-ashore stories: summering with friends in short- and then longer-term rentals, buying a home (Bootstrap Farm), meeting a guy, marrying the guy, having a kid, and finding herself permanently on M.V. She came up with a “tripod income strategy,” another sort of Vineyard standard, mixing and matching gigs to come up with an acceptable accumulated income. She opened an antique store, taught riding, and designed websites, all on the farm. Eventually she sold Bootstrap, followed by moves to Chilmark, West Tisbury, and currently Falmouth, close to Falmouth Academy, where her son is attending school.
Going back to the dark ages in the year 2006, Goldsmith often found herself responding to questions from people like, “What’s a website?” or, “Why do I need a website?” In response, she organized a free seminar at the Harbor View, calling it “What Is a Website and Why You Need One.” No surprise, this led to work designing, you guessed it, websites. This allowed her to develop a sense of Island businesses’ ebb and flow as she activated her skills to expand her income.
In 2005, Goldsmith handled Jaws Fest, a weekend-long event that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the film. Goldsmith was asked to take on the marketing duties by the M.V. Chamber of Commerce. And she marketed with a vengeance. Suffice it to say, the entire event was a smash, with “finatics” arriving from all over the world, plenty of “Jaws” celebs meeting and greeting, and “sharktinis” galore.
Having had a hand in the complicated Island-wide ticketing structure of Jaws Fest, Goldsmith saw an opportunity to expand. She pounced. TicketsMV’s first account was for Richard Paradise’s inaugural Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival in 2007. Another administrative success. She has capitalized on that success, handling, over the years, more than 20,000 events. These days, organizations like the Yard and Vineyard Playhouse that have regular programming all summer long tend to handle their own ticketing. But there are many organizations glad to have a “buy local” option for their online box office.
In order to stay competitive, TicketsMV keeps abreast with the competition. There are plenty of national ticketing services around (Ticketmaster, StubHub, Brownpaper Tickets) that could easily handle Island ticketing. With TicketsMV, there’s no cost to the promoter (the ticket seller), other than a standard credit card processing fee they would pay if they were selling the tickets themselves. The ticket purchaser pays a fee to TicketsMV when they buy tickets, which she keeps competitively on the low side.
Additionally, TicketsMV helps to market the events, and does some paid advertising placements in a digital calendar that features all major events on MV, not only the events being sold through the site. Goldsmith understands the need to promote Island events and the advantage to the ticket purchaser of having only Island events listed on a single website. Plus, she believes in strong customer service, saying “when someone calls, whether it’s the promoter or a ticket purchaser, they get an actual person.”
The scope of TicketsMV is wide indeed. Clients include the M.V. Hebrew Center Summer Institute Speaker Series (M.V.’s premier intellectual lecture programming), the Ag Fair (for which Goldsmith is currently customizing a bar-coding system), and the intriguing Ginny Bee Honey Farm Tours (where you and nine other people can dress up in beekeeper clothes, meet the bees, and eat honey). TicketsMV handles box office for hundreds of events each season. Goldsmith’s commitment to providing a quality online experience makes TicketsMV a fine example of a local business making good.