How Black Claw reduced overselling and expanded to new markets with ease

Years ago, tattooers around the world shifted from making their own needles to purchasing needles online. Due to mass production, roughly 25% of the needles ordered en mass were typically low quality, making them unstable and unsafe.

Black Claw consists of founders and lifelong tattooers Seth Ciferri and Grime, and Director of Operations extraordinaire, Wes Brown. They knew there was a better, safer, more professional, and more sustainable way of manufacturing, packing, and shipping out their tattoo equipment. Black Claw’s passion and focus on sustainability go beyond the needle: they strive to eliminate single-use plastics that artists discard after each client’s session, and do not use any plastics when shipping their products.

Unsurprisingly, Black Claw’s popularity soared. They began fulfilling and shipping their products themselves, and as a lean team, it was overwhelming.

The Challenge

Black Claw is impressive: upon release of their product, tattoo artists all over the world stock up.

Wes Brown and the Black Claw team typically sell out whenever they introduce a product to market, and whenever they replenish existing product.

Early on, Black Claw opted for a 3PL (Third Party Logistics Company) to handle their fulfillment and shipping demands, but it wasn’t enough. They still had issues with backorders.

Customers started buying their products in such large quantities in fear that Black Claw would stock out. Because their systems did not communicate with one another, and Black Claw found themselves disappointing customers and spending an inordinate amount of time reconciling the issue.

“Prior to Stitch, it was a real headache having to go to the warehouse management page, cancel that order, create a brand-new order for the customer and then go back to my email and say, hey, I deleted your first order and replaced it with the second order because their whole tracking and order confirmation is tied to this order that I had to cancel for them.” – Wes Brown, Director of Operations

As Black Claw continued to grow, the demand was so high that they found themselves paying a lot for shipping to other corners of the US and abroad. Black Claw needed a solution that would reduce their shipping costs and allow the product to get to the customer faster. They also needed the ability to add fulfillment solutions without the major headache of shutting down operations while doing so.

Adding Stitch to the Equation

Before Stitch, Black Claw explored several other inventory management solutions such as BrightPearl and TradeGecko. Wes could not find the flexibility he needed in an all-in-one solution like BrightPearl–it was overwhelming and didn’t allow them to experiment with new market opportunities as easily. When trying TradeGecko, Wes did not get the scalability and high-level of customer support they required.

As Wes shopped around for a new inventory and order management system, he immediately resonated with the way Stitch presented itself. He needed customer support and consultation. Wes also wanted a solution that acted as a centralized hub for his Shopify platform and fulfillment solutions.

When Wes implemented Stitch, many of the issues he previously experienced while managing backorders and upset customers disappeared. With Stitch acting as a centralized hub, Wes is left with “zero backorders, zero headaches, zero profit loss, and zero fulfillment issues.”

One way Stitch allows Black Claw to prevent backorders is by publishing only a certain number of units they actually receive. That way, they have less of a chance of overselling and customers are happy when more product winds up being available for sale.

Another way to prevent order issues is by way of order holds. Since tattoo artists need a lot of equipment, the wrong items are ordered. With order holds, Wes can go in and correct any information to the order before it goes out to fulfillment.

Additionally, Wes feels that Stitch as a solution is scalable and intuitive to quickly train new employees on since it houses all of Black Claw’s information in one place. Having flexibility in his operations allows Wes to experiment with new merchandising tactics such as bundling items without having to make changes to Shopify and any warehouses.

When faced with demand in other areas of the US and international demand, Black Claw consulted Stitch on ways to reduce shipping costs and get their product to customers faster. By introducing Black Claw to Bergen Logistics–a preferred 3PL of Stitch with multiple locations and fast implementation timeline–Wes and his team are able to reach new markets with ease.

Results

Regardless of how passionate each Black Claw employee is, small teams that grow quickly result in countless operational challenges. With Stitch, Black Claw was able to:

  • Eliminate backorders and stockouts by maintaining a centralized system with real-time visibility into what inventory they have and where they have it
  • Save hours every week on manual data entry and stock reconciliation
  • Save on shipping costs by adding 3PLs where needed in a matter of weeks–without holding up operations
  • Consult a dedicated Customer Success representative to assist in any additional integrations needed

We’re proud to help Black Claw scale efficiently. To learn more about Black Claw or explore their green initiative, visit www.blackclaw.com.

"By Monday morning I'd have a handful of people who had messed up their orders. And in some instances, those orders had already gone into processing. I had to pay the warehouse a fee for canceling a processed order. Stitch has been able to save us not only time but some headaches and busy work throughout the week."

Wes Brown, Director of Operations | Black Claw

Company

Black Claw

Industry

Art & Tattooing

Headquarters

Portland, OR

Founded

1993

Company Size

1-10 Employees

Website

http://www.blackclaw.com

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