Wayne Headley always had an eye for fashion trends and a tendency to brush with history.
As a university student in the late 1970s, he learned dance moves from guys who’d go on to teach Michael Jackson a thing or two. His first business manufactured fitness apparel and sponsored the unlikely bobsled team from Jamaica that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Wayne’s hometown.
As a serial entrepreneur with a background in college sports and hip hop, he anticipated the rise of both casual sportswear and streetwear as mainstream fashion categories. It was said that Wayne’s products influenced his friend, Chip Wilson, who would go on to found Lululemon.
Even after a more than decade-long career shift to religious ministry, Wayne never lost his instinct. So in 2015, when the opportunity rose to distribute a few brands in North America, Wayne launched Dagga Sous.
An uber-cool product
Dagga Sous is a family-run, online-only boutique business. One of Wayne’s daughters inspired the company name: a transliterated Afrikaans phrase for “awesome sauce” (and in which Dagga means dope or cool and “sous” is pronounced “sauce”).
“It was her pet phrase that meant something isn’t just cool, it’s uber-cool and that became part of the family vernacular,” Wayne says.
It also described the kinds of products that have always inspired Wayne, including Artphere, which Daggas Sous now distributes exclusively in North America.
“What Artphere has done is to make the first revolution in briefcases in 20 years, and it looks like something James Bond would wear,” Wayne says. “It’s this ultracool looking backpack that converts into this briefcase that opens like a clamshell.”
“You can strap it to your back and walk through an airport, hands free. Then when you get to your meeting, you tuck in the straps, and you look like you’re ready for business.”
An emphasis on service
Wayne Headley, Founder, Dagga Sous/Artphere US
Wayne knew from the start how to make Dagga Sous stand out. He didn’t want the Dagga Sous brand to get lost in an “online mall” like Amazon (as he puts it). He wanted it to stand on its own like a boutique with its own website, creative flair, attention to detail and customer focus.
“I’ve known since my first retail clothing business that you’re only going to compete one of three ways: selection, price or service. If you’re a small boutique, you can’t beat Walmart and Amazon on selection or on price,” Wayne says. “The only way to compete is to compete with outstanding service. That is the whole point of being a small business: to build relationships with customers, to build brand loyalty, to know your customers and to serve them well.”
Cin7: More than software
Dagga Sous uses Cin7 to move orders from its Shopify website into its warehouse, to integrate with Shiptheory and, most of all, to put its signature on every product, invoice and email it shares with its many customers around North America.
“Cin7 was more interested in building a relationship with me than they were in just grabbing my business,” Wayne says. “That’s a conversation I did not have with any other company that we called and we called many looking for an inventory management system.”
Many inventory management solutions “count widgets”, Wayne says, but that just isn’t enough.
“An inventory management system today has to be a part of your service,” he says. “Cin7 does more than just count widgets. Cin7 wants to be a part of your team by interacting with it in the way that feels familiar to you and in the same way that you want your products to connect with your customers. The interface is simple and easy to navigate with things like templates that allow you to invoice your customer in a more personal way in an email.”
Cin7’s service-mentality and its ability to personalize packing slips and invoices meshed perfectly with Wayne’s business philosophy and empowered him to achieve his goals.
“Cin7 doesn’t want me to lose sight of the fact that I’m in the customer service business,” he says. “The ability to customize was exactly what I needed to set me apart from the Amazons of the world. Cin7 allows me to make a good first impression, and that’s consistent with my core values and my philosophy in business: relationships travel at the speed of trust.”
The team (L to R): Karlynn Headley, Chelsea Beauchamp, Quinn Headley and Trevor Cochran.