For product sellers, inventory software is the foundation that keeps their entire operations running. But what happens if that foundation disappears?
Mindi Chisholm, CEO of jewelry brand Zafino, found herself facing that exact question in the middle of a global pandemic. Fortunately, with the help of Cin7 and SMB Consultants, Mindi seamlessly transitioned her technology stack in a way that allowed her business to continue to flourish.
After finding and implementing the right solution, Mindi could get out of the day-to-day minutiae of her business, hire new team members, and focus her time on planning the brand’s future growth.
Before Mindi added a dedicated inventory solution to her tech stack, she managed the business herself and used her accounting software, Xero, to handle inventory. As sales grew, she realized that she needed software that could scale, so she turned to TradeGecko and worked with SMB Consultants to help her implement the new software.
Mindi worked closely with Jeff Atizado, CEO and co-founder of SMB Consultants to successfully implement TradeGecko and pivot from a wholesale business to a successful multichannel retailer.
Unfortunately, Mindi’s excitement about the newly configured inventory solution was cut short. In 2020, shortly after Mindi had set up TradeGecko (later QuickBooks Commerce) to run her inventory, she received the news that the software was going to be discontinued in 12 months.
“[It] was heartbreaking,” she says, “because I put a lot of time and money into that program and then [had to] start all over again.”
TradeGecko’s looming sunset date meant that Mindi now needed to figure out a way to keep her success going while replacing critical software. Still, she chose to look at the bright side: “In starting over again, I was in a better place of understanding what a business system was capable of.”
Given the success of their first implementation project together, Mindi turned to Jeff to help her figure out the best inventory solution for her growing business.
SMB Consultants was familiar with Mindi’s business and knew she needed a reliable inventory solution that would enable her to maintain a multichannel business model, expand into new countries, and automate inventory so she could scale without adding excess manual work.
Given these requirements, Jeff recommended Cin7 to replace TradeGecko and began working with Mindi to get through the onboarding process.
Although switching to a new software provider can be daunting for any business owner — and a common excuse not to make desperately needed software changes — Mindi remembers it as a smooth ride:
“Because we’d done all the discovery, Jeff’s team knew all of the key things that I needed to tick off so that when we went and did the workshops, we had those lists all in place. It was very methodical, the way they approached the rollout and the education for me. I was grateful for that.”
Now, Mindi is grateful for something else: the fact that her business is in a position to grow, really grow, through a multichannel presence and that her five-year plan is in good hands.
Cin7 was an even better fit for Zafino, enabling her to reduce manual processes even more and use real-time data to better understand her business.
“[Cin7 has] taken a lot of workload off me because it’s now so systemized and running so beautifully.”
Since making the switch, Mindi’s been able to take on extra staff to manage the day-to-day, allowing her to focus on strategy and growth. With Cin7, Mindi gets real-time visibility into stock levels and sales trends across all her channels.
“I can now step away and go, let’s really climb into my stock, let’s really have a look at forecasting, let’s look at my obsolete stock that’s not moving.”
Instead of spending her time keeping orders flowing and managing the details of inventory work, Mindi says, “I’m working on my business now, not in it.”
For his part, Jeff considers Zafino a real success story:
“It’s like 10 years of innovation and disruption happened within a couple of years. Because Mindi was able to centralize her inventory, she’s retargeting to different markets and integrating into online marketplaces. Now she’s expanding and moving internationally.”
The guiding principle for SMB Consultants, he says, is to “make it easy for [business owners] to make sure the time they have is spent doing the right things.”
There were a lot of packages that had to work together. After switching from TradeGecko, Cin7 became the central platform keeping Zafino running, along with Pinch payments and Airwallex.
Xero handled the accounting, while Shopify and Starshipit did orders and shipping. With nine stores and an ambition to roll out in other marketplaces, Zafino is now on Shopify Plus.
“If you’ve got a really well-running machine, a well-running system, it just means that when growth comes, you can cope,” says Mindi.
For Zafino, Cin7 is more than just an inventory system. With the help of Cin7’s seamless integrations and Jeff’s implementation insights, Mindi now has a solution that serves as the nucleus of her business. “Literally, every part of my business plugs into Cin7. It’s the hub.”
Now that Mindi’s found an inventory solution that she can rely on, she’s free to look forward and work towards continuing the growth she started during the pandemic. She says, “I know that my five-year plan will be in good hands with the systems that we’ve got currently.”
Discover what connected inventory can do for your brand. Explore Cin7 today.