Who: Emma Thomas, IT Operations & Marketing at Mary & Me
What: A fashion retailer promoting established and emerging Australian designers
Where: Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started and what you’re all about?
Mary & Me started as a place to promote emerging and established Australian fashion designers. We now stock over 30 labels and have expanded our range to include accessories, art and gifts.
I first started working in retail in my late teens. I didn’t expect to return years after my university studies, but a role at Mary & Me sparked my interest and I came onboard to manage IT Operations and Marketing. The industry has changed so much! What really excites me each day is the amount of data at your fingertips that previously never existed, especially for us smaller players.
What is your local community like?
If you haven’t heard of Dubbo before it’s about a 5 hour drive north west and inland from Sydney, Australia with a population of over 35,000. There isn’t a grand selection of women’s fashion stores to choose from unless you want to do the long drive into Sydney or shop online.
Mary & Me is a modern day business for Dubbo thanks to the technology and hardware we use. We carefully curate all our products we sell both online and in-store. We use Vend for our point-of-sale, Xero for accounting, Collect for customer loyalty, and Shopify to power our thriving Ecommerce site. We’ve grown so much since I joined. A month ago we moved to a bigger premises enabling us to expand our product range and storefront teams.
What brought you to Vend and how have you found it? Would you recommend Vend to retailers like you?
Mary & Me has been using Vend for some time, mostly for point-of-sale in the past. When the business changed hands and I came onboard, Tom (the owner) wanted expert help to take advantage of all the data Vend serves up. We met Vend experts SMB Consultants at Life InStyle, a boutique trade event focused on homeware & gifts last February. SMB Consultants have played a fundamental role in enabling our entire team to start making the most of all of Vend’s great features. Our operations are now running so smoothly!
What’s your set-up like?
We use iPads for our register and I literally live on our Mac when monitoring the backend. Our set-up feels like an Apple store, it’s so clean and modern! Not many stores in Dubbo have a set-up like ours. We really hope we’re setting the benchmark for in-store solutions in today’s ever-changing retail world. I still love our storefront team reaction when we first started selling with an iPad.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe you can use an iPad to manage your business.”
Would you recommend Vend to retailers like you?
Would I recommend Vend? Most definitely. I love the user-friendliness, and the navigation really echoes that of an Apple product. It was certainly built for time-poor retailers like us. Loading inventory is easy and we can quickly see how sales are tracking in the retail dashboard.
Closing our register used to be a 40-minute procedure, now it’s fast and super easy. I use the retail dashboard daily to check average spend per customer, and base in-store promotions off that. Our promotions are far more agile with all this extra information.
Do you have any advice for retailers that you wish you’d known?
My advice to retailers is not be afraid of new technology. Celebrate it and nurture it and it will look after you. If you’re stuck, leverage experts to assist you and broaden your knowledge.
What’s your best retail tale?
We recently had an older customer come into the store who was about to travel to Sydney for a ball, and was looking for something special to wear. Since having children, she hadn’t been out of the house or done anything special in a very long time. She was reluctant about attending and quite nervous, but wanted to accompany her husband as he was really looking forward to the event.
Our sales assistant found the perfect evening dress for her that was completely sequinned, and helped her all the way from jewelry to how she should wear her hair. The customer let our sales team know she hadn’t felt that beautiful since her wedding day. She brought photos of herself at the ball into the store the following week and was so thankful for finding her dream dress. She felt like the most beautiful woman at the ball!