Customer Story

Cleva cuts through the competition with 100% YoY growth

“We’ve a lot of interesting projects on the horizon. That’s the thing with Brightpearl – you’re able to focus on innovation without being caught up in the operational processes. With everything taken care of in the background, business grows at a good rate – and that’s when, as a retailer, you feel confident to move the brand forward.” – Douglas Begg, Technical & Operations Director at Cleva Europe

UK-based DIY brand Cleva has its fair share of fans, having deservingly won a place in Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 list of fastest-growing online brands. The lawnmower, vacuum cleaner and outdoor power tool retailer placed 2nd in the DIY and Gardening sector and 15th in the UK overall, reporting an incredible 100% growth rate year-on-year.

Douglas Begg, Technical & Operations Director at Cleva, says that after such a rollercoaster period for retail, they’re delighted with the accolade.

“What’s great about the Lightning 50 win is that it’s awarded on rate of growth rather than number of sales – which is amazing for newer companies trying to compete against the more established brands with bigger marketing budgets,” he explains.

“I think we’ve done well to make the list, considering the unique challenges of the marketplace these last few years.”


Originally a Chinese-owned manufacturing brand, Cleva branched into the European direct to consumer market in 2016 with a UK HQ based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Today, it sells products online under its own brands, Vacmaster and LawnMaster – offering a wide range of DIY equipment including wet and dry vacuum cleaners, fans, lawnmowers and outdoor power tools, spanning from industrial and commercial to household use. Products are sold B2C and B2B via its Shopify webstore, Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces such as Wayfair and B&Q.

Cleva rode the early wave of the pandemic that saw at-home DIY projects soar, but then built on the momentum by further expanding its product range and opening a second warehouse, so the business was able to maintain an incredible 100% rate of growth even when online demand slipped for competing companies in the wake of Covid.

 In fact, maintaining growth post-Covid meant the team faced multiple challenges.

“In 2021, as we lifted out of Covid, we  had scaled the business up and forecast for more stock,” Doug explains.

“But there was a slowdown in sales towards the end of the year that was hard to manage. Like most retailers, we weren’t sure what to expect.

“Another challenge was the high street retailers opened up again – and they were now internet savvy; Google bids had gone up and competition was more fierce.

“I think we’ve done well, managing to grow as a business despite the unpredictable odds.”


Cleva is an early Brightpearl adopter. From its launch, Doug was so confident in Brightpearl’s purpose-built features and intuitive connectability that he chose to set up the Cleva Europe brand with the retail operating system from day one.

“Cleva was essentially made up of Office 365, Amazon, Ebay and Brightpearl – all cloud-based – so we were set up well for flexibility. Even during Covid, business didn’t stop – we were able to easily work from home and carry on as usual.”

Today, Cleva still deems Amazon, eBay and its main Shopify-powered website as key to Cleva’s sales. The thread bringing them all together however is Brightpearl.

“With all of our channels, Brightpearl is our central hub for stock levels and inventory numbers,” Doug explains. “Thanks to its open API, we’ve also easily connected with other key and emerging sales channels, like the Range, Wayfair, and most recently, B&Q.”

Doug says it’s Brightpearl’s ease of connectability to other apps and channels that attracted him to the system in the first place – at a more transparent cost than competitors.

“If I’d wanted to integrate an OMS with our accounting software, there was a risk that if one system changed we’d have to fix the other,” he says. “Also, the cost wasn’t clear over whether I’d have to pay for two systems, or how to manage that integration.

“Brightpearl offered something that could do everything. By far it was the best system and at the best cost.

“I do a check every year – and Brightpearl still offers better overall value and a lower risk than other systems. It’s been good to us; the more we use it, the more we want to stick with it.”

For Doug, Brightpearl’s powerful Automation Engine is an operational mainstay for Cleva. As it automates and streamlines processes such as orders, inventory, warehouse, shipping and fulfilment, it typically cuts labour costs by around 50% – allowing key staff members to be freed up to focus elsewhere in the business. 

“Automation has been vital for us,” he says. “It means we can take orders overnight, at any time of day. Our two third-party warehouses are synced to Brightpearl, so orders go straight through with almost no manual input involved.

“As business grows, it’s much better to ‘design out’ any manual work where you can, whether that’s in product orders or in manufacturing.

“One of the main benefits is it reduces human errors. Plus, we process thousands of orders a month – it would take too many staff too many hours to manage that manually.”

Brightpearl’s Automation Engine has also allowed Cleva to make useful decisions over staffing levels. The team has grown from two to 12 staff since launch, but the business is made up of mostly sales and marketing roles, rather than processing.

“Customer service is our only touch point where we find it necessary to interact manually,” says Doug. “Nearly everything else in the business is automated.

“That said, all of our staff have developed strong familiarity with the Brightpearl interface, so that even our team members in customer service can easily hop on if necessary. It’s extremely usable as a system, and has been since day one.”

Another key element to Doug’s opting for Brightpearl was its ability to seamlessly interact with the team’s accounting, meaning Cleva receives high quality data and analytics that all go through one system.

“Every data set goes through the same place – cost of warehousing, landed costs, cost of containers and more,” Doug says. “It highly improves accuracy.

“When information goes through several separate systems, vital data can be easily hidden. With Brightpearl as a central source of truth linking everything together, we have full visibility of the data in real time and can therefore make better, more informed choices for the business.”


This Lightning 50 win (their second in a row) is just the beginning for Cleva. Doug says he’s looking forward to reaching new heights.

“In future I want Cleva, Vacmaster and LawnMaster to become a more recognised brand. Things like winning a place in the Lightning 50 certainly help with that,” he says. 

“We’re constantly expanding our product range and we’ve plans to move into categories we haven’t before – something new and different, that people haven’t seen. We’ve a lot of interesting projects on the horizon. 

“That’s the thing with Brightpearl – you’re able to focus on innovation without being caught up in the operational processes.

“With everything taken care of in the background, business grows at a good rate – and that’s when, as a retailer, you feel confident to move the brand forward.” 

Check out who made the list of fastest-growing online retail brands in the country with Brightpearl’s Lightning 50.

Key Facts

100% YoY growth

Has doubled in size every year since 2016 launch

15th fastest-growing online brand

According to Lightning 50's UK poll