Crayons: Using integrated eCommerce tech to accelerate toyland growth
With teachers and kids in both families, it’s no surprise that Jonathon and Sheyne Ladmore, and Davin and Rene Gibbtook to careers in the educational toy market like ducks to water.
In 2012 coworkers, Jonathon and Davin, who had been working in IT, decided it was time for a career change that would allow their families to do something different, while making a difference. Jonathon and Sheyne Ladmore, and Davin and Rene Gibb all had kids of their own, and saw that there was a seemingly infinite number of kids’ toys on the market, but not a lot with actual educational value.
With that in mind, the two families founded the first iteration of Crayons: a small brick-and-mortar store in Sydney, Australia that sold toys designed to challenge kids intellectually and creatively.
Thanks to Crayons’ modest initial success, it wasn’t long until they progressed to the eCommerce market, establishing an online store and moving to a bigger warehouse space that enabled them to sell more of their most popular products: LEGO, Meccano, puzzles, board games, logic games, role play and science kits.
But as most business owners know, more products means more complex inventory management requirements, and Crayons’ growing product range soon led to an inventory headache. With only an offline POS software to rely on, it was impossible to sync online sales with offline stock levels. They moved to an online inventory management system but found that it didn’t handle GST well or integrate with Xero, which ended up causing issues with their accounting operations too.
Jono realized that in order to see the growth he wanted from their business, everything had to be connected – and that meant using a robust cloud-based inventory management system with multiple integration capabilities. After doing some further research, he made the decision to move to TradeGecko, a move that he says has fundamentally changed the business for the better:
TradeGecko is the heart and soul of the business really. We use it every day. It’s probably the most of important piece of software we have.”
Smarter workflows = doubled growth
Comparing the period before and after TradeGecko, Jono says the difference is like night and day. Although Crayons’ headcount has remained small (just three full-time staff members), the business has doubled in growth year-on-year – all thanks to TradeGecko’s automation capabilities:
The support we get from TradeGecko is brilliant. It’s outstanding and always has been.”
Integrations with Magento, Xero, and StarShipIT enable Jono and the team to manage all their orders, inventory, accounting, and shipping from a single location, which frees up an estimated additional eight hours for them each week:
Syncing all our data through TradeGecko saves us a bucket-load of time!”
The Crayons Team uses TradeGecko to create sales orders for customers on the spot from the their warehouse in Sydney, and they have even utilized the TradeGecko API to build out an integration with the business’ custom demand forecasting platform:
We do all our purchase orders, sales orders, and stocktake through TradeGecko, and I’ve built a lot of tools on the side that integrate with it.”
Looking forward, the team plans to move to an even bigger warehouse space, establish a smarter SKU system, and continue to grow their customer base in Australia, New Zealand, and around the globe.
Jono jokingly says he plans to grow the business “as big as Amazon”, but with such a forward-thinking approach to doing business, that could just become reality.