Apparel & Fashion
Shopify, Patchworks & Starshipit
Growth-Driving Partnership Between Lovall, The Home of Leggings, and Peoplevox, The Ecommerce WMS for Ambitious Brands
Getting started – from spare room to first warehouse:
Childhood friends Chris Brian and Kane Haydon first set up Lovall (originally known as Love Leggings) as an Amazon and eBay focused seller of women’s leggings. Using trend prediction software, market knowledge and a good deal of personal research, they saw a burgeoning market with enormous potential. Price, quality and fit were all lacking across the competitive landscape, so it was a niche prime for investment and development.
Their instincts served them well: one batch of orders a week in their front room quickly developed into orders every day in a garage space, and within 6 months, a small storage unit was needed to house their stock. Before they knew it, they had a serious up and coming enterprise on their hands!
Turning a great idea into a great business:
With a view to developing a more scalable, long-term business, and keen to move on from marketplace sales alone (where often it is a ‘race to the bottom’ on price rather than anything else) Chris and Kane set about building the brand. Their own website, in-house product design, marketing campaigns and staff all followed, and Love Leggings was born.
From the early days, the vision of the company has been to become ‘The Home of Leggings’, and by focusing on customer feedback and quality of service, it’s a business that has grown from strength to strength in the past 4 years, growing 26% in 2022-23. Recently the brand has evolved to LOVALL; Still being the number 1 for leggings, but also expanding in to denim and timeless basics. In the last year alone they have collaborated with the likes of Olivia Bowen, Dani Dyer and featured on ITV This Morning.
Top 6 operational challenges that were impacting growth ambitions:
As so often with retailers in scale-up mode, the manual ways of working that help them through the early days start to become bottlenecks for growth. For Lovall, their first small warehouse had several scalability challenges:
1. Paper based picking with pre-printed labels, causing out-of-sync inventory and human error
2. Picking only one order at a time, an inefficient use of time
3. Every item fixed to one location, leaving gaps on shelves and inability to re-organise
4. Product and warehouse knowledge essential, without which, it was impossible to find the right items for orders on time
5. No intelligent pick routing, causing everyone to zig-zag back and forth across the warehouse
6. Hard to train new team members to handle growing order volumes
Efficiency and operational best practice were clearly going to become paramount as volumes of orders grew and hiring new staff to keep up became a requirement. Whilst it was never out of control, the team could tell things were slowing down in the warehouse right when they needed to speed up!
The rest of the business was also starting to see the negative effects of manual fulfillment. The customer service team were handling more complaints about wrong items being sent out and items going missing. In turn, the brand marketing team felt like they could be doing more to improve their overall customer experience and the reputation of the business through better warehousing.
It was at this point Chris made the decision to investigate technology – specifically, a warehouse barcode system built for ecommerce.
“Most importantly, Peoplevox is configurable and made for the ecommerce fashion industry.
It’s a real specialized piece of software. There are so many systems out there that try and do something for everyone, but it is clear Peoplevox is built exactly for our use case. It’s bulletproof and has significantly reduced human error from the operation.”
Getting started with Peoplevox:
After seeing the inspirational growth journeys of local brands like Lounge Underwear and Manière de Voir, who they were aware scaled up effectively with Peoplevox, Chris got in touch with us in early 2020, with 5 Warehouse Management System (WMS) goals:
- Make much better use of their existing warehouse space, introduce dynamic slotting
- Remove human error and mistakes from the pick, pack and dispatch process, to increase efficiency and improve the customer experience
- Cut down on walking time for employees by introducing smart pick routing and picking multiple orders in one go
- Make onboarding and training of new staff easier
- Stop ‘tribal knowledge’ from being required to work effectively in the warehouse
Time to value? Instant impact:
A detailed training and implementation process uncovered some more areas of immediate value for the business. With a smooth Go Live and close support from the team, Lovall were up and running. They’ve never looked back!
Instantly, we freed up unused space in their warehouse, creating a much more useful bulk storage and pick face combination with dynamic locations. This allows any item to be stored in any location, with replenishments triggered automatically as actions. Chris believes this transformation has helped the business to store 3x as much stock in the same warehouse space as before.
“Implementing dynamic storage was a GAME-CHANGER for us”.
The efficiency of the pickers was also transformed from day one. In the days before a WMS, the team would be walking back and forth across the entire warehouse, picking one order at a time. With Peoplevox the team are following the pick route as instructed on their handheld scanner, picking item after item and following one clean route through the warehouse to pick all the items needed for multiple orders. The past processes were riddled with picking errors and manual intervention, but now, using barcodes and scanners means you can’t ‘pick’ anything other than the right item. Everyone in the team is now working faster, more accurately and more productively with the WMS in play.
Trust the system – focus on growth:
Driving operational efficiency and knowing that your warehouse can keep up with any demand you throw at it is a huge win for the owners of any business. Chris and Kane are aware of how important their reputation is in the market, so being known for exceptional customer experience and always delivering the goods is a massive win.
What’s more, it’s about having trust in your warehouse and being able to focus on the other elements of the business. Chris and Kane didn’t start a fashion company to run a logistics operation, so knowing they have this bulletproof system in the back-end that keeps them ticking over offers huge confidence that they can go ahead and invest in the brand, growing their marketing efforts and customer base. Chris explains:
“You see some businesses having to turn off their website, or announcing huge delays to shipping, whenever their operation gets overwhelmed. It’s such a fundamental part of the business, so it’s really reassuring that we have Peoplevox working for us in the background. You can trust it, and it’s a real platform to grow from.”
With the brand evolution of Love Leggings into Lovall, this trust was more important than ever:
“Our core focus is brand awareness, growing our reputation. People know that the product is great and the service is excellent. We’re extremely confident about bringing more and more people to the site now, with these foundations in place for serious scale.”
Long term foundations and Peak trading:
Talking of reputation, it was ours that first drew Lovall to work with us, and that client-vendor relationship is something we actively develop and cherish.
“We went with you guys because we saw so many other fashion retailers partnered with you. Those types of brands are reaching aspirational levels of success and we want to follow in their footsteps. Peoplevox is genuinely such a great system. It’s efficient, it’s stable and it just gives you the confidence you need.”
“Most importantly, Peoplevox is configurable and made for the ecommerce fashion industry. It’s a real specialized piece of software. There are so many systems out there that try and do something for everyone, but it is clear Peoplevox is built exactly for our use case. It’s bulletproof and has significantly reduced human error from the operation.”
“The last Peak period we traded through was strong, and even still, we could tell our warehouse would be able to handle so much more next year with the same staffing. Without Peoplevox, we’d probably need to hire about twice as many people to get through that number of orders in a day.”
Head over to the brand new lovall.com website to visit The Home of Leggings, Denims and Timeless Basics. And a special thanks to our partners on this project, Shopify, Patchworks and Starshipit.