Riding the Waves To Success: 10 Inspiring Stories Of Retailers Who Tackled The Challenges Rapid Growth During a Pandemic

Seeing an enterprise through periods of rapid growth is no small feat, and naturally at Brightpearl we hear incredible accounts from founders and teams about their event-ridden roads to success. 

Read on for 10 enlightening retail stories from fast-growing e-commerce businesses who made bold decisions when the growth journey got tough during the pandemic. 

All of the merchants below progressed their business from a simple idea to a thriving, profitable brand using a combo of creative problem-solving, smart technology investments, and unflinching faith in their brilliant products…

Snow Cosmetics

Taking a single SKU to A-list backed mega brand – with $100M turnover and 90% YOY growth

Best known for its transformative teeth whitening kits, oral cosmetics brand Snow catapulted to fame in America after big-name stars such as Kim Kardashian and Chris Pratt started backing the brand. 

But even without its celeb endorsement, the business was destined for phenomenal success. Launched in 2017 with just one SKU and a powerful vision to innovate the stagnant oral cosmetics industry, Snow quickly secured retail placements at America’s biggest stores, including BestBuy, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Walgreens, and was soon seeing incredible 90% YOY growth and $100M turnover.

When pandemic sales sent Snow’s systems into override, the team signed up with Brightpearl to transform its unsustainable manual processes. The brand claims Brightpearl has saved them from hiring tens of extra staff and is using the saved resources towards international expansion.

“There are 7 billion people in the world with teeth and we’re on a mission to reach as many of them as we can, and to continue to innovate as we do so.” Trevor Martin, Vice President of Operations, Snow

Get the full details of Snow’s success story here.

Furniturebox

Turning a serendipitous shipping error into a winning growth strategy 

As two entrepreneurial teenagers with an eye for a gap in the market, Monty and Dan gave up their university degrees to pursue their company, Furniturebox’s mission: delivering fairly priced, high-quality furniture to customers in super-quick time. 

Thanks to its service-focused culture and great products, the company quickly became a much-loved furniture provider, leading them to open a bigger warehouse space and sign up with Brightpearl to streamline and automate their complex, multi-channel operations. 

Furniturebox considers itself ‘a tech brand that sells furniture’ – after all, it was its perfect choice of tech stack that meant they could handle an immense boost in sales that would have them named the fastest-growing retailer in the South West of England.

A serendipitous shipping error meant Furniturebox received a surplus of stock at the start of 2020, which at first they weren’t sure what to do with. When the pandemic hit and sales inevitably spiked, their cool-headed use of Brightpearl’s Demand Planner tool meant they could smartly distribute their piles of extra stock, and achieve an insane YOY growth rate of 267%.  

Since then, Furniturebox has continued to grow, expanding its team from 22 to 37 staff, doubling its product range, opening a second office, and making plans to branch into the US. 

Read the full Furniturebox success story.

Cyberjammies

Meeting demand for the year we lived in pyjamas – and trebling growth rate

Cyberjammies started business in the early 2000s as an online-only nightwear retailer (hence the name). Thanks to the popularity of its high-quality, ethically made pyjamas, the much-loved brand now not only operates via its successful web store but with leading UK retailers John Lewis, Next and Very. 

Even before the pandemic sales boom that sent demand for comfy loungewear soaring, the Cyberjammies brand was going from strength to strength and making impressive 50% growth YOY.

When the pandemic hit, the business thankfully already had Brightpearl’s scalable, built-for-retail operations platform in place, and had implemented 3PL for with a bigger warehouse. That challenging year and ever since, Cyberjammies has been fully equipped to maintain service levels under pressure and treble its revenue with immense growth of 372%. 

Read the full story about how CyberJammies became the UK’s fastest-growing fashion brand.

Bells of Steel

Activating full-scale mode in times of struggle – to grow from $3M to $15M in only 18 months

When weightlifter Kaevon Khoozani was turned down by a string of corporate jobs, he went all guns blazing into his e-commerce side hustle: selling Olympic-style strength-training equipment. This one-man venture became the successful fitness brand, Bells of Steel, which, thanks to the popularity of its at-home gym kits, maintained steady profits for Khoozani for a decade.

It was when pandemic-fuelled demand for fitness equipment caused a national kettlebell shortage, that the small team at Bells of Steel were overwhelmed and processes began to break. 

Abandoning the prospect of selling his company, Khoozani instead took the brave risk to rapidly scale – hiring 39 staff, opening a bigger warehouse and uplevelling his operational infrastructure with Brightpearl. It was a series of big moves that paid off – Bells of Steel was fully equipped to grow 400% in 18 months, and the company went from $3M in revenue to $15M. 

Read the full story of how Kaevon Khoozani grew his fitness brand, Bells of Steel. 

Snap Supply

Dropping a bulky, big name ERP and trebling profits as a result

Brothers Nick and Shawn Ernst began Snap Supply by selling repair parts on Amazon and eBay during their lunch breaks – and it became one of the most highly respected appliance parts suppliers in the American midwest. 

The road to success didn’t come without obstacles, however – as the Snap Supply team experienced the logistical nightmare that often comes with rapid scaling. The company chose Brightpearl as an improvement on their existing ERP, Microsoft Navision – which was slowing them down significantly with reams of manual data entry.

Since doing so, the company has gone from strength to strength – growing at 5–10% per month since implementation and amazingly, trebling their profits – as well as saving an incredible 240 hours a month formerly spent on manual processes.

Read the full SnapSupply case study to discover how the brand trebled their profits with Brightpearl.

CoolBlades

Having a flexible operating system in place during the DIY haircut flux – leading brand to grow 600%

With 30 years of combined expertise in the hair and beauty industry, CoolBlades was started by a husband and wife team, Julie and Brian, who would pop into salons to sharpen scissors. Now it’s one of the biggest online providers of professional-level hair care tools, selling kit to salons and businesses such as Hob, Sack and Toni & Guy, nationwide.

The retailer wasn’t primarily a direct-to-consumer brand – until the pandemic, that is – when hair salons and physical stores closed their doors, and consumers and stylists had nowhere to turn for DIY grooming tools but online.

No one could have foreseen a boom in DIY haircuts, but though the staff at CoolBlades were hugely under pressure when their channels flooded with orders, they were prepared. Having set up with Brightpearl in 2017, CoolBlades had the means to skillfully keep stock of their most popular products – including their Kobe Carbon Barber Comb which saw a 760% increase in orders – and sustainably maintain a phenomenal 600% growth rate in a single year. 

“We had a great technology partner in Brightpearl that we could rely on to help us ramp up our operations to meet expectations. It has been an enormous challenge, and, at times, a fraught and chaotic experience, but ultimately it’s been a successful one and for that, we’re hugely thankful.” Rupert Hughes, E-Commerce Director at CoolBlades

Read the full story about how CoolBlades achieved phenomenal success.

Run Gum

Attracting big name wholesalers with a single product – and seeing a boost in sales

Run Gum was the brainchild of 2x Olympic track runner Nick Symmonds, who wanted an alternative to harsh, caffeinated drinks to boost his running performance. He took his idea to a gum manufacturer, and the finished product received such glowing feedback from fellow runners that he took the venture online.

Within a year, Run Gum became one of the only thriving e-commerce brands dedicated solely to ‘Performance Gum’ – and proved so popular that it caught the interest of mammoth retail stores, Target and Walmart.

Seeing impressive 50% YOY growth and rapid expansion of their channels both online and offline, Run Gum signed up with Brightpearl to manage their huge wholesale order processes and to streamline their siloed, spreadsheet-stuffed manual systems. 

With their newly connected infrastructure, they were able to manage a pivot to online during the stressful pandemic months – and even sustained a boost in sales when the gum industry saw a 25% overall decrease.

Read about how Nick Symmonds paced his way to success with the full Run Gum customer story

Fairfax & Favor

Bucking the luxury sector decline with 300% YOY increase – thanks to competitive Next Day delivery option

Luxury footwear brand Fairfax & Favor combines the middle names of co-founders, Marcus and Felix – two childhood friends who piled all of their funds into their rural-inspired, leather boots and shoes. 

The premium lifestyle brand has since become a galloping success, with celeb fans such as TV sports legend Clare Balding and the GB Equestrian team – but Fairfax & Favor has seen its fair share of challenges on the route to rapid growth. 

After implementing Brightpearl to transform its problematic warehouse and inventory operations, the brand has been going from strength-to-strength ever since.

The merchant’s supercharged processes meant that even during the pandemic, when the luxury sector overall took a 60% dip – Fairfax & Favor managed to buck the downward trend. 

In a period when so few online retailers were able to deliver quickly, the brand’s Brightpearl powered Next Day Delivery strategy ended up giving them the edge – and the retailer was able to meet demand for an incredible 300% increase in sales. 

“We [were] delivering 99% of orders as next day delivery during the pandemic – with less staff. Brightpearl has been essential to our continued success.” Rob Cooper, Head of Operations at Fairfax & Favor.

Read the full case study about how Fairfax & Favor came to be named one of the fastest-growing e-retailers in the UK.

Goose & Gander

An 80 day Brightpearl implementation leads brand to boost operations speed by 500%

Launched in 2013, Goose & Gander is a UK-based fashion brand owned by co-founders Olly and Maz – childhood sweethearts who had a bold vision for a commercial, unisex clothing line.

The business started out with a local high street store – but it wasn’t long before the couple realised that operating as a direct-to-consumer e-commerce outfit was the way to go, so pivoted to selling exclusively via their Shopify Plus website.

As success was swift and the orders piled in, the team quickly lost control of their processes, especially with a distinct lack of visibility in their inventory. After a couple of nightmare scenarios with unsuitable ERP solutions, Goose & Gander opted for Brightpearl’s made-for-retail operating solution and were set up in only 80 days. 

The retailer’s formerly time-heavy order processing workflows are now 500% faster, meaning items are out the door in record time, and, with the time saved on clunky manual processes, the forward-thinking clothing brand is set to dominate the unisex fashion space.

Read the full story on how Goose & Gander completely overhauled their problematic manual systems.

Lords & Labradors

Ditching 80% of its clunky manual systems to meet puppy-buying boom 

Provider of unique pet goodies such as an iconic doggie Chesterfield, the Lincolnshire-based ‘pet department store’ Lords & Labradors has specialised in beautiful pet bedding and furniture since 2013. With success that led to growing from 14 to 44 members of staff and gaining celebrity endorsement from Made In Chelsea stars, the brand had exploded and was seeing 100% YOY growth.

The merchant reached a crossroads during the pandemic’s puppy boom, however, as the surge in sales almost overwhelmed the small team. Held up by their time-intensive manual workflows – which included a copy-pasting address system and manually sticking labels to packages – the merchant signed up with Brightpearl’s flexible retail operating system and automated an immense 80% of their operations

Not only did this enable the pet retailer to meet the colossal demand in sales, it saved a nifty 35 hours a month for the team to dedicate to further growth. 

To see how Lords & Labradors became top dog, read their full story here.

See how Brightpearl can help your business grow fearlessly with a free demo