A framed copy of ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling hangs in the Freemans Bay head office of apothecary and skincare foundry, Triumph and Disaster. The poem, a gift of advice from father to son, emerged triumphant after nearly 30 years of being forgotten in a chest, and inspired the characterful name of a company founded almost three years ago by cricketer Dion Nash.
Another twist of fate decided the hiring of the start-up’s first employee. Young marketing student Daniel Plested texted “Awesome!” to Dion on getting his first product into a prestige store. They met, and he was hired that very same day. “It was month three for our business based on the three pillars of ritual (the things you do in your day), character (who you are) and fate (what the day brings),” explains Dan. “Your day can be triumph or disaster, but the only constant, ritual, is the basis of good skincare.”
Having left the hated ritual of university for the uncertainty of a start-up in 2012, Dan “absolutely loves” being in charge of New Zealand sales. But company rituals also need consistency and Dan puts it down to luck that their lack of an inventory system met with no disaster before Unleashed Software was implemented. ” We were taking the orders and packing them ourselves so it was lucky nothing was ever missed.”
“We were flying by the seat of our pants,” Dan admits. “Being such a small, new company meant we didn’t have the processes in place that we should have.” Fortunately, lots of accounting later, the team saw the need for solid inventory processes to back up creativity. “Someone said let’s try this Unleashed, so the whole team figured out what process what would work well, what we could follow and stick to.”
And so Unleashed was introduced in April 2013 to keep up with sales that were growing as fast as ambitions for the classically styled products ‘derived from nature and engineered with science’. The team had grown to four in Auckland (where the men’s skincare products are created and manufactured), plus agents and distributors in Australia, the UK and US, Canada and Japan.
“We want to be in all the best stores and to compete with the best brands in the world,” states Dan. “We want to keep our sales growing at about 100% a year and we want to keep that up for the next 10 years.”
“The software implementation didn’t create any problems at all,” Dan recalls. “It was straightforward and pretty easy to learn. Of course there were a few growing pains with making sure we made no mistakes, such as if we were charging people in the right currency and that the prices were all correct when compared with the order. Unleashed runs through our online store too. It’s easy to track stock from Shopify to Unleashed to Xero, and everything’s accounted for.”
“Tracking is the main reason we like Unleashed,” Dan decides. “We can see what each sales person is doing per day, week and month. Eleven is not a large number of products but we’ve got four warehouses in Auckland, Los Angeles, London and Sydney so we need to be able to track sales per country and per sales person. It made it a really attractive system.”
“Our ingredients and fragrant oils come from various places in the world but it all comes down to the quality of the product. We ask: ‘Does this feel good? Does this smell good? Would I use it?’ If we all answer, ‘Yes!’ emphatically, if we love it, it goes to the market.”
“If our moisturiser fell out a guy’s gym bag, we wanted it to not be a hustle to get it back inside. It needed to look nice in the shower and be something that guys could be proud of. In saying this, lots of women are buying our products increasingly which we are really proud of, especially the cleanser, scrub and moisturiser.”
Ifs are out the question on whether Triumph and Disaster would recommend Unleashed’s inventory system. “It’s really helped with being able to track our margins per product and allowing us to see the big picture on where we are trying to deliver,” says Dan. “The software’s very good in that it allows you to do all the things you want to do. It’s all pretty self-explanatory and my only advice is to make sure initially that you set up the customer correctly. I haven’t yet found things that I can’t do on Unleashed.”
And there are also no ifs about the value of Unleashed’s processes. “I know Triumph and Disaster can complete the orders that we’ve been sent, I know that they’ve been sent, and I know that the packing sheets are in the sent box,” concludes Dan. “It’s definitely helped Triumph and Disaster’s speed of output and how much we can do in one day. Unleashed’s solid processes keep our customers happy.”