Peak Design Leverages Stitch X for Team Collaboration And Streamlined Inventory and Order Management
Just a few miles away from Stitch Labs HQ in San Francisco, CA is Peak Design — a rapidly growing, luxury camera accessories and bag brand. Their story began in 2010 when founder and CEO Peter Dering experienced first-hand during his 4 month trip around the world what a pain it was to carry around a DSLR. Fast forward 10 months to May of 2011, Peter launched his first stylish camera clip (called Capture) on Kickstarter — and Peak Design was born.
Since then, Peak Design has increased their product offerings to over 50+ camera accessories — from clips and straps to a full line of bags — and have raised over 15 million dollars on kickstarter through 7 majorly successful crowdfunding campaigns. Leveraging their unique and passionate loyal customer base, Peak Design is achieving exponential growth through offering exceptional products and customer experiences.
Peak Design’s operational challenges began to become apparent as the business started to grow organically, both in number of products and channels. Despite being a small, US-based company of 30 full-time employees, Peak Design runs a complex operation where:
- 60% of their customer base is international
- Fulfill with a third party logistics (3PL) partner
- Manages 5 warehouses; 1 US, 4 international
- Recently opened a flagship store
- Sells through wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels
- Runs kickstarter pre-sale campaigns for major product launches
“With over 100+ SKUs, 5 international warehouses, our recent flagship store, and several wholesale channels, managing inventory across all of these channels was becoming a really big challenge,” shared Jen Howell, Director of Logistics and Customer Success at Peak Design. “We’re a small company with no outside investors, so cash flow is really important us. We need to keep our inventory very lean, and we have to do this across all five of our warehouses so it’s a constant balancing act of trying to keep our warehouses properly stocked and not tying up our resources.”
Peak Design, prior to adopting Stitch, primarily managed their inventory through Google Docs and the functionality available in ShipStation. “It wasn’t enough,” commented Jen. “The data was all over the place and none of our teams — marketing, wholesale, operations, accounting, or finance — were getting the information they needed.”
The final nail in the coffin before Jen and Business Technology Director Mark Wang decided to adopt an inventory management solution like Stitch was watching their CFO, David Anhalt, spend hours sifting through multiples of Google Docs, spreadsheets, and various data sources to produce the monthly accounting and finance report.
“It was painful to watch. You could see and feel the frustration as he spent hours, sometimes days, every month collecting and consolidating all of this data from 20 different places to produce this report. We just knew there had to be a different way,” recalled Mark.
Mark and Jen shared that the Peak Design business methodology has always been to ‘keep going until the breaking point and you’re busting at the seams’. That’s how they approach their hiring, implementing new processes, and how they decided to move to a 3PL from handling shipping in-house from their office.
For the Peak Design team, handling inventory and orders manually, sacrificing accuracy, visibility, efficiency, and customer experience, was their breaking point; they were busting at the seams.
Moving to Stitch
Before finding Stitch, Mark considered a variety of other inventory, order, and warehouse management solutions in hopes of finding a solution that would aggregate and streamline all of Peak Design’s inventory and order data.
“I looked at everything from BrightPearl to enterprise solutions like Oracle’s NetSuite and SAP. The problem was the cost: the initial startup cost alone was too much for us,” said Mark. “Then, we found Stitch. From our initial call to our first meeting, we were impressed by how knowledgeable the Stitch team was and how much flexibility and customizations Stitch brought to the table. It was actually one of Stitch’s sales reps and CEO that came in to our office one day and impressed a good chunk of our team.”
When asked what convinced them that Stitch was the right solution, Jen shared that the majority of it was in the flexibility of Stitch’s platform and level of personalized support available to them from Stitch’s internal experts.
“We know that we run our business in a pretty unique and ad-hoc way, and all of the other solutions or companies we considered would have required us to change the way we ran our operations to be able to use or fit their solutions. With Stitch, it was clear right from the beginning that you were willing to work with us on creating a unique solution that’s right for our business. Even today, we still work very closely with our Customer Success Manager and a few folks from the Product team on many of our ad-hoc requests. And almost every request we’ve had has been implemented which we really appreciate.”
Today, Stitch functions as a central source of aggregate data on inventory and orders that the entire Peak Design team can access and self-serve relevant information to them reliably. The Marketing and PR team have visibility into stock to run promotions and seed products; R&D teams get insight into best performing color variants; finance and accounting get access to the appropriate data; and operations have control over inventory and orders at every channel and warehouse.
Jen and Mark shared that, in particular, the Automated Order Routing and Splitting feature has been most impactful to their business — both in terms of improving customer experience, as well as cutting down on manual work. Through this feature, they’ve implemented over 200 routing logic workflows to match customer orders to the nearest warehouse to reduce customs, duty, and shipping costs, and are able to automatically split orders that contain a backordered and partially ship in-stock items.
“The automated order splitting has been huge for us,” said Jen. “Our average customer order quantity is 2.5 and we keep very lean inventory across all of our warehouses, so it’s very likely that a customer’s order contains a backordered item. Previous to Stitch, if a customer’s order contained a backordered item, their entire order would not ship until all items were in stock. Now when a customer places an order, all in stock items ship out right away and back ordered items are held to be shipped once more stock arrives. This allows for customers to receive “in stock” items up to 2 weeks faster, and requires no manual work on our part.”
Stitch’s Order Splitting feature was put to the test this holiday season when the Peak Design team saw upward of 600 orders that contained a backordered item. “That’s 600 potential angry customers, customer support tickets, and a lot of hours manually splitting orders. Stitch helped us cut down on all of that tremendously,” added Jen.
In addition, here are a few of Peak Design frequently used Stitch features:
- Automated Geo-location Order Routing
- Automated Order Splitting
- SPS and other EDI integrations for wholesale
- Reporting and Analytics
- Customer Success / Service
Looking forward, the Peak Design team is especially excited for the new Purchase Order functionality and B2B wholesale integrations scheduled to roll out this year.
“One thing that always gives us peace of mind about choosing Stitch is that every feature on our “want” list is in Stitch’s pipeline. Even if it isn’t, we’re confident that the Stitch team will help us find a workaround.” — Mark Wang, Business Technology Director
For more information on Peak Design and their luxury camera gear, visit www.peakdesign.com
Previous to Stitch, if a customer's order contained a backordered item, their entire order would not ship until all items were in stock. Now when a customer places an order, all in stock items ship out right away and back ordered items are held to be shipped once more stock arrives. This allows for customers to receive "in stock" items up to 2 weeks faster, and requires no manual work on our part.”
Jen Howell, Director of Logistics and Customer Success | Peak Design