Spotlight on luxury phone case brand, Maison de Sabré who have reduced fulfilment time and human errors with StarShipIT
After a year of planning, just over a year ago, two brothers founded a company supplying personalised, premium leather phone cases. Inspired by the sophisticated designs of Louis Vuitton, they set about creating their own brand with its own distinct identity, Maison de Sabré.
We talked to founders, Omar and Zane about their journey from a little garage project, to a serious contender in the personalised leather space.
Where did the inspiration come from?
The two brothers have always been interested in business, inspired by their dad who hails from a long generation of businessmen. Unfortunately, their father had been diagnosed with a serious illness and they needed to find a new revenue stream to help fund Zane’s University tuition. The two budding entrepreneurs were continuously scouting for new venture ideas.
Omar was in Ponsonby having coffee one day and saw somebody with a monogrammed Louis Vuitton case. “It was like I had a lightbulb moment. I really felt like there may be a market for personalised, premium phone cases”. He called Zane and he agreed that it’s the ultimate form of individuality for the devices. From there they started researching, getting samples of leather and planning their designs in a scrapbook. Maison de Sabré then started to evolve from a little garage project as they poured their heart and souls into it. While they were planning, they were posting on Instagram, and whilst original content was non-existent, the duo built an audience around the lifestyle their future product would evoke. The duo progressively built an interactive audience and 173k followers later, they have a serious following.
What were some of the failures you encountered on your journey to where you are today? Or some of the key challenges when you first started out?
“Initially, we designed a whole range of premium small leather goods and we wasted a lot of time and money as well as it being a confidence breaker. When you run into issues and getting stuff back that wasn’t up to standard, it would be really disappointing. As a small start-up we didn’t have a lot of time or money to invest and the knockbacks were hard to take at times”.
The brothers decided to go back to the original idea of the phone case, and put all their time and effort to create an impeccable feature product that would then set the tone for their future releases and help them turn the name into the brand they are today.
“The main challenge is to find the right people that will help you achieve your ideas. Simple stuff is never easy. So be prepared to fail, try again and again and problem solve. That was a big one for us. A lot of people with industry experience will just say no, that’s not possible. They can’t see out of their box. As a start-up you will get told no a lot, but you have to keep going until you achieve what it is you set out to achieve”.
How do you split the day to day running of the business?
Zane is the Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director while Omar is the Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. The brothers like to think of it as dealing with internal and external aspects relating to the business, however, both oversee their supply chain management and sourcing.
Who else is involved, how many in the team? (size of team/key roles they play):
In addition to Omar and Zane, they have a marketing director, general manager, a social strategist, content strategist, content creator, customer care lead, data analyst, videographer and dispatch staff that vary in number according to the orders that need to be processed.
What was life like before StarShipIT?
“We used to go to the Post Office, buy satchels, all handwritten, paying each time and then keeping the receipts. It was a nightmare, with lots of human errors and we had the extra level of work and frustration where we needed to then go back into Shopify to add in the tracking details. Last Christmas Omar and I ran two laptops side-by-side, to copy and paste all the details and ran around finding the right packages”.
Realising there must be an easier way, they reached out to AusPost and with their sales volumes, qualified initially for an eParcel account. They used this for around 1-2 months, which helped improve productivity and efficiency.
What specific attributes were you looking for in your shipping software?
It needed to integrate with Shopify and be very user-friendly – this was a must for Zane. “I had tried using ReadytoShip but found their customer service a little sub-par – I could never get a full answer, and I didn’t like the user interface, I wanted someone I could directly reach out to by picking up the phone and getting support”
After speaking to their account manager at DHL about alternative solutions, she suggested they look at StarShipIT. They watched some of the videos and liked what they saw, so they started a trial. Anthony got them set up and shipping and although there were a few challenges at the beginning after they were properly set up with support from the team, things have been a breeze since.
What challenges did you face shipping internationally?
Prior to StarShipIT, they were using eParcel and found international shipping challenging.
“With eParcel there are quite a few additional fields you have to fill out. Addresses aren’t populated which is frustrating, you have to enter everything in. You also need to make sure you click on the right shipping method, and that it’s correct, then pick and pack and then stick on a shipping label. But with eParcel, the shipping labels didn’t print in order. So you then had to separate them all and then manually find the one that marries with that order. Very time consuming and frustrating. Today we are supplying 90 countries with orders from over 30 countries in any one day. With StarShipIT those challenges have gone.”
What is life like now using StarShipIT?
“It made us way more productive, one less thing to worry about – we can focus on other areas of the business, look at the company as a whole and no longer have to worry about dispatch, we have ultimately streamlined our entire dispatch process, our efficiency and accuracy is second to none. Dispatching orders doesn’t bring return value to the business like marketing or strategy does, so we can now just brush over it and move on to other areas”.
“We ship hundreds of orders a day and now save around 4 minutes per order, when you’re doing high-volumes the minutes and seconds all add up. It’s saving us so much time – which is your most important resource.
Human and delivery errors are also minimal now with auto address population and everything automatically integrating and triggered”.
What’s in the future for Maison De Sabre – What’s your long-term vision for the brand?
“We have some big plans for this year. Omar is leaving his full-time role as a Dentist in NZ to join me in Australia and focus full time on the company. Up until now we have only been able to put part-time hours into the company. The plan is to put all of our time and all of our effort into the company and continue to shoot for success – grow and scale even further. What we have achieved is really just the beginning, we are excited to take Maison de Sabré to the next level!”
What advice or tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who would love to follow in your footsteps?
For us, we feel it is the 3 P’s – patience, persistence and problem-solving. Patience because things do not happen overnight, persistence because it will never be right the first time, and problem-solving because there will be so many issues that you won’t even have thought of that will come your way. It’s all about the vision you have in your mind – you really have to truly believe whatever it is you foresee will become a reality.
StarshipIT really helped us streamline our dispatch process allowing us to focus on growing the company – their support staff are very helpful and are there when you need them.
If you would like to try StarShipIT for yourself, sign up for a FREE 30 day trial and we will help get your set up and shipping straight away.