Oaklandish marries civic pride
with savvy retailing and grows with Brightpearl
Evolving from a street art campaign highlighting Oakland’s historical figures, to a multichannel retail business,
Oaklandish is recognized as a powerful Fortune Inner City 100 company impacting local communities.
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Born out of a public art project in 2000, Oaklandish evolved into an apparel and retail company six years later to reflect Oakland’s identity while celebrating “local love and original Oakland charm.”
Their sales channels evolved as well, starting with a camper van they dubbed “the rig” for a physical store, adding an online Magento store, and then opening a traditional retail location in downtown Oakland.
All the way, Oaklandish kept their mission at the center of their business model, partnering with local non-profits and donating 10% of proceeds from these collaborative shirts to support local community projects and grassroots initiatives.
Oaklandish is growing at a rate of 25-35% per year through a combination of online sales and retail stores. They operate through four stores, pop-up shops, mobile events, a truck, a wholesale operation, and a new brand called therethere, which they plan to expand nationally.
Before Brightpearl, Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables were used to manage inventory and purchase orders across all channels. Like most retailers, this operation proved difficult and near impossible to manage, relying on frequent manual inventory recounts.
To preserve profit margins, low-level inventory management was necessary but complicated, requiring director-level staff involvement. The move to a centric retail management platform was crucial to support scalability.
Accurate and timely inventory reporting
Finding a robust, yet affordable system that could tie together all of their channels
Faster, easier reporting
Oaklandish Founder and Creative Director, Angela Tsay, had previous experience with Oracle, so she knew what could be gained from a traditional ERP system. “Brightpearl allows us to act big at a budget we can afford,” she says, while cutting operation costs by $2,400 a month.
Angela reflected on where they were two years ago and where they are today, saving 40 work hours a month. “With Brightpearl, we can spend more time on growing the business rather than running operations.”
Oaklandish is on track to grow sales at a rate of 25-35% annually while continuing to sponsor public art, film, music and community outreach projects. A certified B Corp, the company was recognized nationally by Fortune Magazine, which praised the brand as one of the Inner City 100 for their business model “in the service of the local community or the company’s employees.”
Angela acknowledges how their decision to move to Brightpearl played a part in their ability to scale and evolve as a business. “We can think strategically rather than just working to keep our heads above water. No human or spreadsheet could keep track of our business now.”
Today, the Oaklandish team focuses on extending their product line, growing new sales channels, introduction of their ‘pride of place’ national therethere brand, and the opening of a new retail store in downtown San Jose, CA. “We think this corner of San Jose is ready and we can be part of the same kind of revitalization that we’ve seen in Oakland.”