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
The Literary Gift Company was founded in 2009 by Dani Hall. Having worked for Waterstones – the major UK bookshop chain – she was familiar with the literary world and spotted a gap in the market.
She decided to outsource fulfilment, to regain “brainspace” for planning, particularly around new product development.
“Early on, we started to develop our own products, rather than buying from suppliers,” she explains. “While other retailers try to get their products on as many marketplaces as possible, we try to protect ours and ensure they’re only available on our website. As a small business, we can have an idea and get it on sale in just a couple of weeks.”
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. Grow their business
With a shared love of ski (and après), Aaron McLaughlin and Nick Marsden founded OOSC Clothing in 2014, to bring fun back to the mountains with colourful, retro ski suits.
When they realised they were spending more and more time at the Post Office, they decided to outsource their fulfilment. It’s been particularly useful for such a seasonal business.
Aaron says: “The peak season for us extends to the end of January, as customers prepare for their February ski holiday. It’s always been a massive headache, but with James and James on board, the stress is gone.
“Naturally, we must make sure the stock is available, but once we send it to the team, they do the rest. This is a real value-add for us as it means we can focus on further growing the business.”
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.