A year ago, Justin Tianbaoying was a graduate fresh out of university, and he wanted to do something new, something different. With help and support from his girlfriend, and immense interest in fashion, the twenty-four year old opened his first clothing boutique.
Based in Indonesia, JUSY now has three brick and mortar stores in Jakarta, an online ecommerce site, and drop ships and consigns garments to other fashion retailers via their fashion wholesale inventory. They have also reached a current number of selling 1,000 pieces of clothing per month on average, just after a year of operations.
Of course, Justin didn’t accomplish all this by himself. His main area of responsibility lies in sourcing for reliable manufacturers and factories in both China and Indonesia and attaining product supplies so as to sustain JUSY's fashion wholesale inventory efficiently. On the other hand, his girlfriend looks for designs and communicates with local designers, carries out customer development, and manages operations at retail outlets - overseeing things like shop front display and customer service.
Besides supporting local designs, JUSY also differentiates themselves from the crowd by pushing out designs of international standards such as those similar to Mary Katrantzou and Chanel, but with localised elements like batik prints, a technique of manual wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth. For instance, during the Chinese New Year period, JUSY promotes cheongsams, also known as body hugging one-piece Chinese dresses for women, in their stores.
There are two types of competitors in the Indonesian fashion industry currently. The first being big, fashionable brands putting only self-designed garments on its racks, but way out of budget for the younger consumers, while the second group consists of retailers selling cheap clothing sourced from Bangkok or China, but with extremely common and out-dated designs. Amidst this competition, JUSY has carved out a niche in the market where they supply unique, trendy, and wearable numbers that are reasonably priced – basically the best of both worlds.
The main reason why Justin is able to keep prices of his items low is because he sends in orders of significant volume and quantity to his manufacturers and suppliers in China. “We have great working relationships with our manufacturers in China and local Indonesian fashion designers, so our products are unique in design and are of good quality,” says Justin.
Justin also voiced out initial issues with identifying a market for his clothes at the start. “The income gap in Indonesia is huge. Our customers come from above the middle class so we had to figure out the perfect store location that is easily accessible for them. Also, we reach out to them using social media platforms like Instagram to promote our brand and release latest updates in order to achieve more publicity for our products and building relationships with customers to boost sales."
Moving forward, Justin aims to work on strengthening online sales for JUSY. The current payment gateway the company uses is bank transfer (the typical method in Indonesia), resulting in a time consuming and complicated manual process for the sending and verifying of invoices and payments.
“During this inconvenient process, I lose my customers and I miss out on sales sometimes – it’s very frustrating. So if we update and improve our payment gateway to one that allows payment via credit cards, that will make our lives a lot easier.”
Justin initially handled his clothing stock by using Excel spreadsheets but gradually found it harder to keep up with his fashion wholesale inventory. As the business grew, the product range also grew significantly, there was no way spreadsheets could manage over a hundred new products with their different SKUs without any human errors, excessive manual work, or time wastage involved.
He turned his search for a more effective solution to managing his inventory online. With the help of Google search, many inventory management software turned up on his page. After starting different free trials and conducting feature and price comparisons across many systems, Justin finally settled on TradeGecko.
“It’s easy for me to manage my clothing stock. The fashion industry is ruthless, we have to keep up with new products and stock all the time, so we need a powerful system to support what we’re doing.”
Justin uses the Multi Location and Stock Transfer functions in the TradeGecko online inventory software to manage consigned stocks and keep track of inventory movements across his sales channels.
“We used to take up at least 5 hours per day, or even the whole working day to manage our fashion wholesale inventory. We have three physical stores and our online ecommerce platform, and top of that, we consign stocks and products to three other retailers. Everyday we had to check through Sales Orders manually for each sales channel in order to restock items and fulfil demand, so keeping an eye on each channel with different store locations and varying product SKUs and demands was very tough. With TradeGecko, the process is automated and simplified, saving us time and giving us visibility on my stock. The system is strong and easy to use, and supports my business model effortlessly.”