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Bringing the Sparkle: New ERP ignites fast growth

Before the digital transformation

  • Inventory was managed through Xero, which director Mindi Chisholm found frustrating and difficult
  • Mindi independently selected TradeGecko to replace Xero for inventory management, but quickly realized self-implementation would be impossible
  • Just 12 months after SMB Consultants implemented TradeGecko, it was sunset
  • A COVID pandemic pivot saw a drastic change in Zafino’s business model, and SMB Consultants had to implement a new tech stack to replace TradeGecko and manage Zafino’s new and changing needs

Zafino's top priorities for the transformation

  • After successfully implementing TradeGecko, it was sunset just 12 months later, so SMB Consultants had to seamlessly manage the transition from TradeGecko to Cin
  • As B2C sales were rapidly growing, including international orders, SMB Consultants needed to create a tech stack that could manage this.
  • The tech stack also needed to be able to handle a multichannel business model.
  • Before SMB Consultants, B2C orders would have been a long and arduous manual process.

The major contributors to
Zafino's integration success

Mindi Chisholm
Mindi Chisholm Founder, Zafino

Founder, Zafino Mindi Chisholm

  • Grew Zafino to its current state of extraordinary success after multiple pivots in the heart of a pandemic
  • Reached out to SMB Consultants to implement first TradeGecko and then Cin7
  • Handled implementation from the client side and uses Cin7 as the hub of her business

“If you've got a really well-running system, it just means that when growth comes, you can cope.”

Areas of contribution

  • Grew Zafino to its current state of extraordinary success after multiple pivots in the heart of a pandemic
  • Reached out to SMB Consultants to implement first TradeGecko and then Cin7
  • Handled implementation from the client side and uses Cin7 as the hub of her business
Jeff Atizado
Jeff Atizado Founder, SMB Consultants

Founder, SMB Consultants Jeff Atizado

  • Cloud services implementer with a decade of experience
  • Meets with clients and leads the implementation of Cin7 Omni ERP
  • Ensured that a novel, international business model would succeed

“This solution – and partnership – will only get stronger.”

Areas of contribution

  • Cloud services implementor with 10+ years of experience
  • Met with Mindi, facilitated workflow analysis workshops, and led the move to Cin7
  • Gave Mindi confidence in her business systems as the business grows, allowing her to work on the business
Deepak Stephens
Deepak Stephens Sales & Implementation Engineer, SMB Consultants

Sales & Implementation Engineer, SMB Consultants Deepak Stephens

  • Scoping, implementation, onboarding, and integration of SaaS systems including Cin7, WooCommerce, Starshipit & Channel Advisor
  • Works with clients on migrating data to Cin7
  • Tested the custom API with Channel Advisor to ensure order details were flowing down to Cin7 as expected
  • Works with clients to improve internal process and workflows for order fulfillment and product management
  • Helps build a strategy with the client to scale their business using Cin7 Omni as a base

Areas of contribution

  • Scoping, implementation and integration of SaaS systems including Cin7, Starshipit, Xero & Shopify
  • Worked with Mindi to create a scalable system to grow her business on the B2C & B2B channels Zafino has
  • Helped improve the way Zafino sales reps place orders on the road
  • Provided long term support to Zafino to help maintain efficiency using Cin7 omni
Joy Moore
Joy Moore Xero Integration Specialist, SMB Consultants

Xero Integration Specialist, SMB Consultants Joy Moore

  • Integration of Cin7 and Xero, alternate GL codes and tax rates
  • Accounting reconciliation workflow implementation
  • Ongoing support with the accounting team

Areas of contribution

  • Integration of Cin7 and Xero, alternate GL codes and tax rates
  • Accounting reconciliation workflow implementation
  • Ongoing support with the accounting team

Overview of the new retail and ecommerce system

Pivot to success

  • Cin7 Omni - the centre for Zafino's success
    Cin7 Omni enabled Zafino to centralize inventory, enter international markets, and integrate to online marketplaces
  • Shopify Plus ecommerce platform
    Shopify Plus integrates wholly with Cin7, meaning inventory is kept constant across sales channels, and provides a robust ecommerce operation that can easily scale
  • Xero cloud accounting software
    Xero makes accounting and compliance effortless, thanks to a seamless integration with the rest of the software stack by SMB Consultants
  • Pinch
    Pinch's payment gateway is integrated with the rest of the software stack, and its powerful automations make sure that Zafino's invoices are always paid on time
  • Starshipit
    Starshipit automates Zafino's shipping, allowing for lower shipping costs and reduced shipping admin.
  • Airwallex
    Airwallex's currency exchange allowed Zafino to easily scale into international markets

Pivoting through software sunset
to new ERP and higher levels of success

Results of the partnership

  • SMB Consultants provided regular check-ins and support, as well as handling day-to-day queries and delivered online training sessions, which helped make the implementation seamless
  • A robust discovery process allowed SMB Consultants to have a strong handle on what Mindi needed to learn, making for a methodical and efficient training and onboarding process
  • Zafino’s business system was able to cope with an enormously successful product launch
  • Cin7 allowed Mindi to centralize her inventory, enabling her to enter international markets and integrate to online marketplaces
  • The automation of most functions means Mindi is now able to delve into business strategy and forecasting
  • Being multichannel means that the business is now less exposed to unforeseen events

Zafino's story

When jewelery seller Zafino encountered not one, but two, unforeseen setbacks, SMB Consultants was there to lend a hand

While the word ‘pivot’ was on many people’s lips throughout 2020, Mindi Chisholm was no stranger to it.
Back in 2010, after an abrupt end to a brand agency career, Mindi launched a business selling laptop bags for women that did double duty as stylish handbags. Though successful, dealing with the logistics wore thin. “Over time, I got sick of the bulkiness of the product. So we went into other fashion accessories, until years later, we ended up just purely doing jewellery. Not many people these days would remember that we actually started as a ladies' laptop bag company.”
So that was her first pivot. As the business developed, it became clear that it was evolving beyond what she could do herself using Xero. Not one to sit around, when someone recommended TradeGecko (later Quickbooks Commerce) for eCommerce logistics, she signed up. “And then, very quickly, within weeks, I understood that there was no way I could set this program up myself.”

“A pivotal time”

On Trade Gecko’s suggestion, she turned to implementation experts SMB Consultants, and met CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Atizado. “They were fantastic,” remembers Mindi. “The first thing Jeff did was to sit down with me and talk about my business, and how my business ran. I wished I had met Jeff before I'd signed up for TradeGecko. It was quite a pivotal time!”
But then, just 12 months later, TradeGecko advised that their product was being sunset. While this was a blow to Mindi after the time and investment, there was a bright side. “In starting over again, I was in a better place of understanding what a business system was capable of.”

And it was just as well, because at this point the pandemic was in full swing and she was already redeveloping the business, with the help of her daughter, a marketing student. As a jewellery wholesale business, with their product sold entirely in stores, sales skidded to a halt as Australia went into a series of lockdowns and businesses everywhere were forced to – that’s right – pivot.

With plenty of time on their hands, she and her daughter worked together to decide what Zafino was as a brand, and relaunched as an online business. “We were able to get our product, during COVID, into the hands of some very influential young ladies here in Melbourne who wore it. And our online business then took off really quickly.” Slowly but surely, the stores opened again and the wholesale orders trickled back, and Zafino was more successful than ever before.
But there was still the problem of the looming sunset date for TradeGecko. With the business now in a different place, the obvious thing to do for Mindi was to go back to SMB Consultants. “We went through the same process, sat down [for discovery sessions], and I remember thinking, “this is really great, because Jeff was the first person that could fully understand all the different pain points in my business.”

Making the switch to Cin7

Once the SMB Consultants team was familiar with the new landscape of Zafino, they recommended Cin7 to replace TradeGecko, and began the process of onboarding. Though this can be daunting for any business owner – and a common excuse not to make desperately needed software changes – it was a smooth ride, says Mindi. “Because we'd done all the discovery, Jeff's team knew all of the key things that I needed to tick off so that when we went and did the workshops, we had those lists all in place. It was very methodical, the way that they approached the rollout and the education for me. I was grateful for that.”

Now, Mindi is grateful for something else: the fact that her business is now in a position to grow, really grow, through a multichannel presence, and that her five-year plan is in good hands. She’s been able to take on extra staff, and with the grunt work taken care of, she’s now grasping that business Holy Grail: working on the business, not in it.

“Because it's now so systemized and running so beautifully, I'm really stepping out of the business now, a lot more, and getting into the nitty gritty,” Mindi says.
“I’m finding that’s really exciting.”

Making room for expansion

For his part, Jeff considers Zafino a real success story: “It’s like 10 years of innovation and disruption happened within a couple of years. Because she was able to centralize her inventory, she’s retargeting to different markets and she’s integrating to online marketplaces. Now she’s expanding, and moving internationally.”
The guiding principle for SMB Consultants, he says, is to “make it easy for [business owners] to make sure the time they have is spent doing the right things.” Often his team have to put considerable effort into changing business owners’ mindsets around having their systems in silos – inventory here, accounting there, logistics over there – and bringing them all together, but “[Mindi] had already seen the benefits of integration and how all of these different products, like Starshipit and Pinch, working together would create a complete system.”
There were a lot of packages that had to work together. At the centre was TradeGecko, later switched to Cin7, with Pinch payments and Airwallex. Xero took care of the accounting, while Shopify and StarShipIt did orders and shipping. With nine stores, and an ambition to roll out in other marketplaces, Zafino is now on Shopify Plus. “If you've got a really well-running machine, a well-running system, it just means that when growth comes, you can cope,” says Mindi.
Cin7, now, is the very nucleus of her business. “Literally, every part of my business plugs into Cin7. It's the hub.”

“A true partnership”

Mindi is adamant that, without SMB Consultants and their software implementation support, she wouldn’t have the business she does. “I think I'd still be fumbling around with Xero and getting frustrated, to be honest.”
She’s quick to point out that choosing software is not the hard part. “It's actually onboarding it and making sure that the whole system works together. There is absolutely no way I could have done [that] without Jeff's business doing it for me.”
Of huge value to Mindi is the enduring business relationship the two companies have built. She calls it a “true partnership”, and is certain that they will continue to grow together. “We’ve been through a lot.”
Jeff agrees. “SMB evolved, as a business, through [the COVID] period. And we realized how many good customers we have, and [are glad to have] the opportunity to continue working with them, and not just have a support arrangement once they go live…For me, the satisfaction I get is really seeing businesses grow.”
In September 2022, the power of the expert implementation partner was really brought home to Mindi. For the launch of a new piece, she teamed up with an influencer to tease the product over several weeks. On launch day Zafino sold out almost the entire product in just 15 seconds. It was so extreme that PayPal saw the sudden influx of payments as a red flag and temporarily suspended Zafino’s account – an unforeseen problem that she is not allowing to happen again.
“If I didn't have a system in place, I think it would've been our undoing.” But fortunately, she did have a system. Orders were taken through Shopify, which at the time was integrated with TradeGecko, and labels were printed with Starshipit. Buyers were automatically notified of dispatch. Without SMB Consultants, fulfilment would have been a manual process that would have taken literally months.

“It was a very clear example of how, when your systems are all integrated and working together, it's a beautiful thing.”

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