Shining Through Challenges: SMB Consultants' Role in Zafino's Pandemic Pivot

Shining Through Challenges: SMB Consultants' Role in Zafino's Pandemic Pivot

In the year 2020, the term 'pivot' resonated widely, but for Mindi Chisholm, it was more than a buzzword.

A Journey of Evolution

Back in 2010, following an unexpected end to her brand agency career, Mindi embarked on a venture offering laptop bags for women that also served as stylish handbags. While successful, the logistics gradually became overwhelming. "Over time, I grew tired of the bulkiness of the product. We transitioned to other fashion accessories and eventually ended up exclusively in the jewelry business. Not many people today recall our origins as a ladies' laptop bag company."

Turning the First Corner

As the business evolved, its needs outgrew the capabilities of her Xero accounting setup. Not one to stand still, Mindi explored TradeGecko (later Quickbooks Commerce) for commerce logistics upon a recommendation. “Within weeks, I realized I couldn't set this program up on my own.”

A Pivotal Moment

On TradeGecko’s recommendation, she sought the expertise of SMB Consultants and met CEO Jeffrey Atizado. Reflecting on their assistance, Mindi noted, "They were fantastic. Jeff's initial step was understanding my business and its operations. I wish I'd connected with him before opting for TradeGecko. It was truly a pivotal moment!"

An Unexpected Twist

Within just 12 months, TradeGecko revealed their intention to sunset the product. While this was disappointing given the time and resources invested, there was a silver lining. "Starting afresh put me in a better position to comprehend the capabilities of a business system."

This development aligned with the pandemic's onset, during which Mindi was already revamping the business with her daughter's help, an advertising student. A jewelry wholesale enterprise relying heavily on in-store sales, the lockdowns in Australia forced a radical shift.

Adapting and Thriving

With time on their side, Mindi and her daughter redefined Zafino's brand and relaunched it online. "We managed to place our products in the hands of influential young women in Melbourne during the pandemic. Our online business surged in response." Gradually, physical stores reopened, and wholesale orders picked up momentum, propelling Zafino to unprecedented success.

Transitioning for Tomorrow

With Zafino's transformed landscape, SMB Consultants recommended replacing TradeGecko with Cin7 and initiated the onboarding process. Today, Mindi is grateful for something else entirely. Her business stands poised for substantial growth, boasting a multi-channel presence, and her five-year plan is in capable hands.

Mindi has been able to expand her workforce, focusing on that elusive business Holy Grail: working on the business rather than in it. "With efficient systems in place, I'm stepping out of the business, delving into the finer details," says Mindi. "It's an exciting time."

Creating Space for Expansion

From Jeff's perspective, Zafino is a resounding success story. At SMB Consultants, the guiding principle is to ensure business owners utilize their time for the right activities. The collaboration involved numerous elements: TradeGecko, later swapped for Cin7, alongside Pinch payments, Airwallex, Xero for accounting, Shopify and StarShipIt for orders and shipping.

A True Partnership

Mindi firmly believes that without SMB Consultants' software implementation support, her business wouldn't have achieved its current stature. The enduring business relationship is invaluable to Mindi. She terms it a "true partnership" and is confident that this growth journey will persist.

Come September 2022, Mindi fully appreciated the power of expert implementation. Collaborating with an influencer for a new product's launch, Zafino sold out almost the entire stock within 15 seconds, temporarily prompting PayPal to suspend their account.

"Without a proper system, it could've been a disaster."

But a robust system was in place. Shopify handled orders, TradeGecko integration at the time, and Starshipit managed shipping, automating dispatch notifications. Avoiding manual processes saved months of time.

"It perfectly illustrated how integrated systems, when working cohesively, are a game-changer."