When brothers Abbas, Ben and Sam Youssefi were kids, their dad ran a small tile shop that offered beautiful, curated collections of tiles alongside friendly, expert customer service.
In the years since, the brothers have grown – and, thanks to their determination, so has the family business.
Porcelain Superstore is an online-only DTC tile shop specializing in top quality, well-priced wall and floor tiles for kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors. The Shopify Plus-powered brand has just had one of its best years to date, recording an impressive 76% growth rate after successfully building on the boom in demand seen during the pandemic.
Its year-on-year growth has earned the Manchester-based business a place on Brightpearl’s UK Lightning 50 league table of the fastest growing online brands. After researchers tracked growth rates for hundreds of companies across Britain, Porcelain Superstore was also named one of the top three fastest growing DIY companies in the UK.
Doing things differently
“We set out to do things differently from the start, and it’s finally paying off,” says Co-Founder Abbas Youssefi.
“When we first launched the online-only business lots of the suppliers we knew in Italy wouldn’t sell to us because they didn’t believe we could successfully sell tiles without a showroom.
“Bit by bit, we’ve figured things out for ourselves. We’ve turned our dad’s passion for tiles into our own hugely successful online brand and proved the doubters wrong.
“To be recognized in this year’s Lightning 50 is amazing – it feels like confirmation that we’ve been doing things right.”
Unlike most online businesses, Porcelain Superstore’s first transaction with customers isn’t a paying one. The company sends out 4,000 tile samples every week – completely free of charge.
Putting a sample of its products into the hands of consumers is how the business bypasses the need for a physical showroom. However, it means there’s no room for error or delay in its back office operations.
Abbas says: “Samples are our chance to impress a customer and ensure they go on to place an order – it’s imperative we get the process of sending samples right.
“They have to be picked, packed and shipped quickly, with excellent comms along the way.”
Processing huge volumes of samples is no mean operational feat. The business previously used TradeGecko, a basic standalone OMS, but switched to Brightpearl a few years ago for a smarter, more streamlined way of doing things.
“TradeGecko was far too simple for our needs and couldn’t help us scale.
Brightpearl, on the other hand, has been incredible – and it’s played a critical role in our growth,” adds Abbas.
“We’ve been able to automate most of our workflows using Brightpearl’s Automation Engine which means we spend so much less time manually processing orders and are able to do more, with less. No more working until midnight!
“Everything from filtering orders to printing, picking lists and organizing shipping is done automatically. Brightpearl is also our source of truth across the business – it connects in real time to our Shopify Plus website and other tools we use like Zendesk. We have a relatively high average order value, so customers expect to have any queries responded to quickly. Brightpearl gives our team instant access to stock and shipping info, so almost all queries are resolved immediately.”
Brightpearl also gives Porcelain Superstore access to a huge library of Plug & Play integrations so the brand can curate an ever-changing roster of best-in-class apps to suit its changing needs as the business grows. As the market-leading retail operating system, Brightpearl’s functionality also includes advanced reporting, accurate demand forecasting and WMS.
Brightpearl’s annual US Lightning 50 league table was announced in September after researchers tracked growth rates for hundreds of companies across the United States to find the fastest growing e-commerce brands of the last year.
The table revealed that the top 25 UK e-commerce brands generated more than £206M in revenue over a 12-month period (2020-2021). Porcelain Superstore is part of the North West e-commerce growth hotspot – five of the UK’s top 25 brands are from the region, making up 20% of the list
“I’d recommend applying for the Lightning 50 to anyone – it’s a huge confidence booster,” says Abbas.
“My biggest advice for brands that want to scale would be to get your tech stack in order. You need a scalable operating system so you can easily handle spikes in demand and manage your stock, avoiding overstock and out-of-stock events.
“Once you have a system like Brightpearl in place, it’s just a question of scaling everything up on the front end – Brightpearl will do the rest.”
With recession looming, the future is uncertain for e-commerce generally but Abbas is confident that Porcelain Superstore can continue to succeed.
There are plans to expand into the trade market, which will boost the business’ repeat custom rate, and to add a physical showroom in the North West.
Abbas adds: “With Brightpearl, we can take the business in any direction we like, with zero worries about our back office operations – that’s a great feeling.”
Shopify Plus-powered DTC tile brand achieves outstanding YOY growth
Fastest Growing Online DIY Store in the UK