Most eCommerce founders handle fulfilment themselves to begin with – when you’re taking a handful of orders a week, it’s more cost-effective to do so. But when sales take off – you’re spending half your life grappling with parcel tape or post office queues – it makes sense to outsource. So what do founders do with all the time they get back, once James and James is handling their fulfilment?
1. Build their brand
Raised on a New Zealand sheep station, Andy Caughey knew that merino wool was the ideal performance fabric – flame retardant, temperature regulating and odour free. He set up Armadillo Merino in 2011 to create garments from the natural fibre, outsourcing his product fulfilment soon after.
He now counts soldiers, firefighters, explorers and astronauts among his clientele, having had the time to develop and evangelise his brand, not worry about fulfilment.
“We’re building an international brand with a reputation for high-performance garments that solve health and wellbeing issues,” he says. “We see James and James as an important partner in this global marketing strategy.”
2. Develop new products
Auteur Limited was set up in 2011, to launch bobble water bottles in the UK. After a successful launch in Harvey Nichols, Auteur began selling direct to consumer. It enlisted James and James as its UK fulfilment centre, rather than ship products from the US.
With the time the company saved on fulfilment, it’s been able to add five new brands to its portfolio – sustainable, design-led items that reduce our reliance on single-use plastics.
“We’re constantly innovating and looking for new products for our customers,” explains Kirstie Pendry, Marketing Associate. “With sustainability becoming such a massive market, we’re always looking for ways to differentiate our products from other brands. James and James has been very supportive. It’s a great tool to have and we’d 100% recommend it.”
3. Manage their inventory
Harry Simonis founded TAILORED ATHLETE aged just 18, with the aim of creating the perfect muscle-fit shirt. The product proved so popular with gym-goers that Harry and his mum were soon packing hundreds of orders from the family home.
“I wanted to use a fulfilment warehouse, but as a start-up, surviving on a credit card, I couldn’t do it straight away,” he explains.
“The software has helped from a back-end point of view – it’s made things more efficient,” he says. “We now work with a supply chain specialist, who uses the system to watch stock on a weekly basis, and tell us what to order and when.”
4. Invest in marketing
With the aim of creating a high-quality yet affordable vegan makeup brand, Jack Thompson co-founded MEMI in 2016. By outsourcing the brand’s fulfilment early, he was able to invest in PR and influencer marketing, without fear of letting down customers.
Jack explains: “Brands can sell out overnight if the right influencer posts the right image at the right time. We send out so many samples to so many people, this could happen at any point – we could wake up with one or more SKUs completely sold out.
“If we were fulfilling in house, it would be impossible for us to ship all of those orders, which would then result in a negative experience for customers, making them think twice before they repeat a purchase.”
5. Take a break
Make-up artist and dietician, Shareen Akhtar, set up Anne Beauty in the summer of 2015, after her homemade hair oil proved popular on Facebook and Instagram.
The business was initially a cottage industry – Shareen and her husband made and sent hundreds of bottles from home each week. But they soon decided to professionalise their operation, outsourcing their production, setting up a Shopify store, and using James and James’s Shopify fulfilment service.
With the time they got back, they focussed on marketing, customer support and product development. But they also took a well-deserved break.
“In 2016, we went on holiday. We had to make 1,000 bottles before we went and then process all of the orders when we came back. The whole holiday was ruined by the stress,” says Shareen. “Now, we can go on holiday and run the entire business from a phone, wherever in the world we are. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend James and James – it’s taken away many of the issues and risks of scaling our business.”
Want to spend more time growing your business, not fulfilling orders? Contact us today to begin your journey with us.