How an Integrated Web Store Helped Ten Thousand Villages

——Extra customers than ever are turning a watch to honest commerce companies. With 75 years of moral enterprise practices prime of thoughts, Ten Thousand Villages isn’t involved with pushing revenue margins or pleasing shareholders––their greatest precedence is individuals.

The world’s largest and oldest honest commerce group, lots of their handmade present objects are offered with details about the artisan, the supplies they used and the way your buy helps assist international honest commerce. You may additionally be stunned to be taught that almost all of retailer workers are volunteers.

In June 2020––citing a shifting retail surroundings––Ten Thousand Villages Canada reluctantly introduced the closure of its head workplace and distribution middle. A handful of places accepted the problem of working as an impartial retailer––together with Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Brandon, Manitoba. 

Like most small companies, Ten Thousand Villages Brandon was already going through difficulties from the load of COVID-19. By the point Christmas rolled round, they have been relying solely on curbside pickup, and and not using a net retailer, they have been struggling to proper the ship. 

That’s when retailer supervisor Meeghan Gavin dove right into a wave of change. 

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

We love the idea of your retailer. Are you able to elaborate on the nonprofit background of Ten Thousand Villages?

Our mission is to assist artisans in growing nations carry their merchandise to the worldwide north. We work with about 30 completely different nations worldwide whose merchandise are licensed by numerous businesses. We guarantee they’re paid a good wage for his or her work whereas guaranteeing they’ve entry to well being care and training for themselves, their youngsters and their neighborhood. Every little thing is handmade and distinctive.

Since Ten Thousand Villages Canada ceased operations, how are you accessing objects from artisans?

Typically we’ll buy from the artisan immediately, and typically we supply objects by North American honest commerce wholesalers. We’ve found new artisans to characteristic in our retailer, however we additionally proceed to take care of relationships with teams we met by Ten Thousand Villages Canada. 

Christmas is a busy season for retailers underneath regular circumstances. What did your vacation rush appear to be with the added stress of a COVID-19 lockdown?

Merely put: We have been unprepared for the constraints of COVID-19––particularly since we didn’t have an online retailer.

All of Brandon was underneath lockdown for the 2020 vacation season. Consequently, we have been overwhelmed by emails, cellphone calls and Fb messages asking for data or requesting curbside pick-up. It didn’t take us lengthy to understand that showcasing 3000+ merchandise on the market utilizing social media alone wasn’t going to chop it. We wanted an online retailer.

When researching the choices obtainable to you, what made you zero in on Small Biz Sense?

Small Biz Sense’s built-in net retailer characteristic was one thing that caught our consideration. I’d say there have been a variety of options we have been fascinated about, however what’s been a lifesaver for us is the matrices for categorizing product variations. Up to now––with our outdated system––it was tough to import objects, which made stock administration fairly time-consuming and labor-intensive.

For stock administration, Small Biz Sense has made an enormous distinction in saving us time.

Along with your POS and eCommerce system up and working, what does the lead-up to Christmas appear to be this 12 months? 

This 12 months, Small Biz Sense has helped us hold monitor of orders and get them shipped out––it’s simply a lot easier. We’re already experiencing greater gross sales, and we’re promoting out of tree ornaments loads faster than we had final 12 months. Clients are searching on-line earlier than coming into the shop, which has additionally helped enhance our gross sales. 

Plus, when prepping for vacation pop-ups, we are able to now guarantee we’re not packing away objects which are wanted on the web site or in our bodily retailer. 

The long run is merry and shiny

Via dedication to the trigger and onerous work, Meeghan Gavin and her staff made daring strikes that stand to learn Brandon, the Ten Thousand Villages artisan companions and their international south communities.   

Does Gavin have any recommendation for retailers going through a busy vacation season? “Have as a lot up on-line as attainable earlier than the season begins so that you simply’re not scrambling to replace your web site.”

Are you prepared to remodel your retail enterprise with Small Biz Sense’s one-stop commerce platform? Discuss to certainly one of our specialists and let’s get you began.

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.