"We were committed to Brightpearl as soon as we recognized that we needed better, more streamlined processes; it was ‘Brightpearl or bust’ for us."
The world of outdoors apparel had been missing a trick for years by the time Cassie Abel founded women’s adventure brand Wild Rye. After a diverse career in the outdoors industry, she’d come to realise that innovative, stylish clothing in the women’s outdoors space was at a dead end, and strived to forge a path that would fill the exciting gap in the market. Sure enough, since launching in 2016, Wild Rye has become a trusted source of high-quality clothing and accessories for adventurous women across the US.
Suitably based in ‘the heart of Sun Valley’ in Idaho, Wild Rye sells its range of biking, skiing, hiking and lifestyle apparel direct-to-consumer from its Shopify website as well as wholesale via big retailers REI and Nordstrom and a handful of smaller, niche outlets based in mountain towns.
Shannon Allen, VP of People and Ops at Wild Rye, is one of an all-female team of eight that now carries the brand. “Our goal is to create a community – so we partner with like-minded brands and organizations that celebrate women outdoors and in business,” she says.
“We’re focused on sustainability, we’re B Corp certified and heading towards being climate neutral. These aims are so important to us, they’re really our North Star as we continue to develop and expand as a business.”
After a period of rapid growth over the last 18 months, Wild Rye recognized the need for stronger, more streamlined operational systems in order to reach its bigger goals while maintaining a high level of service to its thriving customer base.
“We were working on our community, our culture and our systems – and we needed a more solid foundation as we grew,” says Shannon. “That’s where Brightpearl came in.”
LEAVING BASE CAMP
Wild Rye had been running on manual systems for a long time, including a time-intensive manual inventory process. As a business with retail and wholesale orders to process and forecast for, the team spent hours analyzing and consolidating a mass of Excel-based calculations.
“The main impetus for needing Brightpearl was inventory,” says Shannon “Wholesale and retail had completely different requirements; wholesale orders can come up to a year in advance, whereas we were keen not to oversell in our direct-to-consumer arm.
“For both wholesale and DTC, we were trying to predict what everyone would need, but each needed different approaches and nothing we were doing was fail-proof.
“Our manual inventory setup was all spreadsheets, so it wasn’t accurate nor in real-time; we’d have to recalculate every couple of days and never knew what was true or outdated.
“Also, having to pull all information from different places was confusing and added so much time to the process.”
As an eight-woman team, the company simply didn’t have the staff power to consistently manage inventory and accurately predict demand. The team’s sales manager ended up doing most of the calculations, which Shannon estimates took her several hours a day.
“Our sales manager was sinking time into inventory rather than sales, double checking everything twice over. There were issues over shipment times for some of our retailers because of incorrect calculations at our end, and we over-promised and oversold.”
OUT OF THE WOODS
Since upgrading to the Brightpearl retail operating system (ROS), Wild Rye’s operations have completely transformed. With wholesale and DTC inventory now integrated into one central source of truth, there’s no longer any need to pull reams of data from multiple sources and risk repetition and inaccuracies.
“We were committed to Brightpearl as soon as we recognized that we needed better, more streamlined processes; it was ‘Brightpearl or bust’ for us.
“It has completely solved our inventory issues. One of our biggest problems was the lack of real-time updates, as the numbers can change within 10 minutes or less,” Shannon explains.
“Now as all parts of our business are pulled into one central location, we know what we’re looking at is correct.
“We also use it for purchase orders – to know what’s on order with factories versus our wholesalers – and it’s so helpful to have all those puzzle pieces in one place.”
Brightpearl’s powerful Automation Engine has also been a game-changer for Wild Rye – as it streamlines and automates clunky manual processes such as orders, inventory, warehouse, shipping and fulfilment; saving time and money that can be better used elsewhere in the business.
“The automations are awesome, we use those across the board – everything from creating rules for specific sales channels to defaulting shipping methods, for example. When rules are set up this way, there’s no need for someone to go in there and manually check everything.”
With inventory processes solved and automation rules handling the time-heavy manual processes the team was used to sweating over, Shannon is certain they’ve saved 3-4 hours a day – a massive 80 hours a month in manual staff power.
“We saw immediate value in eliminating manual labor, and work just carried on so smoothly as everyone had access to this central source of truth.
“Still, we are using the bare minimum of Brightpearl’s features I’d say, as Brightpearl still has so much potential to help us more as we grow.”
REAPING THE GOODS
As Wild Rye embarks on new ground with a stronger, more integrated operational foundation, Shannon and the team are ready to take on more complexity in their business model, including expanding their product lines and boosting their capacity for a higher order volume.
“Our goal is to continue to be the brand of choice for women in the outdoors, and Brightpearl fits so neatly into that.
“We knew we needed a new system if we were ever going to expand beyond spreadsheets and manual work, and now we’re ready to go.
“As our inventory increases, we make more purchases and fulfil more orders. We can now navigate those numbers, as with Brightpearl we have an accurate, overall picture allowing us to stay on track.”
To discover how Brightpearl can transform your manual operations and free your business to Grow Fearlessly, book a demo with us today.
80 hours a month
Saved in manual inventory calculations