Crafty Wholesale Limited | Linzi Algar
A2X critical to Crafty Wholesale’s growth
Follow UK-based Crafty Wholesale Limited’s wild ride from hobby to full-blown eCommerce business and how A2X has been critical for taking the headache out of their accounting – and key to their Shopify claim to fame. A2X and Xero are two of Crafty Wholesale’s 15 applications that help business owner Linzi Algar focus on expanding into new markets.
From crafting children’s clothes for fun to a fully-fledged business
Linzi Algar wears many hats. Google her name and you’ll discover that during the day she works as an international legal counsel for an IT company. What you might not find is that two and a half years ago while on maternity leave, Linzi started crafting blank children’s clothes for her kids – and it would go on to become a thriving eCommerce business.
“I started to look at how you can purchase large quantities or bulk quantities of blank clothing. It quickly became apparent that there wasn’t really anyone that was doing it,” Linzi explains.
So, in March 2020, right before the pandemic hit, Linzi submitted a request for business to a factory in China. Linzi and her husband took a chance and initially ordered two boxes of blank children’s clothing. Just over a week later, the boxes arrived and Linzi immediately posted a message to some of her crafting groups, asking if anyone was interested. Within one hour she had sold it all.
Increasing demand for online sales
One month later, Crafty Wholesale Limited officially became a registered company. Though the pandemic was in full swing, Linzi continued to import her blank clothing to sell. As the demand for Linzi’s product grew, so did the need for an official eCommerce solution.
“Shopify was offering a free trial, so we set up a website. And… it grew quite quickly.”
Crafty Wholesale grew so quickly that by May, Linzi’s husband left his job as a metropolitan police officer to run the business full-time.
Before: “Messy and time-consuming” account reconciliation
It wasn’t long before Linzi enlisted the help of an eCommerce accountant. The business had grown to the point where they were now liable for sales tax (VAT). While children’s clothes in the UK have a zero-VAT rate, Crafty Wholesale had recently launched matching adult clothing – and this popped them over the VAT line.
Linzi says before this, they hadn’t had “much difficulty reconciling what was coming through” from Shopify Payouts. But once they added VAT, “we were quickly becoming aware that reconciling those payouts was turning into a headache.”
To put things in perspective, the business was seeing around 1000 sessions a day on their website. That would translate into 50-100 orders a month.
“I didn’t even know where to start with interrogating the Shopify Payouts, so I went running to my accountant and said, ‘I don’t know what we’re going do!’”
After: “reconciling accounts with the press of two buttons”
After the initial panic, Linzi’s accountant quickly asked around – and A2X for Shopify came highly recommended.
“Ever since our accountant mapped our accounts, I’ve never had to ask the question again,” Linzi says.
The results were instant, and just in time too. Crafty Wholesale ranks in the top 1% of Shopify stores globally that opened in the same month, and they have one of the highest sales conversion rates of all Shopify clothing and apparel stores.
“A2X took the complexity out of what we were doing. It saves me multiple hours, if not days, a month coming in to reconcile our shop sales versus what comes out of Shopify Payouts, which is quite a complex system. I sit once a month, I reconcile my accounts by pressing, like, two buttons. And that’s it.”
Linzi adds that A2X has also been critical in helping the business expand. Linzi recalls speaking with A2X customer service about adding Amazon to their sales channels, as well as a new Shopify business venture called Tiny Little Humans – a personalised childrenswear business.
“They said, ‘Hey, you go into here, you click that, you upgrade your plan depending on how many orders you think you’re going to do and that’s it – done.’ And that was it! That’s how technology should be,” she says.
A2X a crafty and critical tool for business
Crafty Wholesale has a large tech stack working alongside A2X and Xero, most of them specifically designed for Shopify. There’s Shopify’s Marketplace Kit (a collection of APIs, components, and pre-built code snippets to add commerce features to any platform), an invoice generator, multiple low stock, back-in-stock and shipping-related apps, GDPR integration (data protection), Klarna (buy now, pay later app), Multi-Store Sync (for inventory organisation) and a product warning integration.
To some, that might seem like an excessive list, but Linzi is a firm believer in letting tech do the work for you. And she must be doing something right because despite how quickly the business has scaled, Linzi still works full-time too.
Her experience working for an IT company has certainly come in handy, as Linzi has crafted a digital app powerhouse that, she says, “pay for themselves.” Her view is, “if you can automate it, then let’s go for it!”
Linzi’s advice to other eCommerce businesses on the fence about using A2X is to let the app grow with you.
“I think A2X is critical for growth. If you want your company to grow, then take the headache out of it and use software to reconcile. The alternative is you have to pay yourself or someone else to do the work – and you’ve got better things to do.”