The FOXERS Story
The idea for FOXERS came to April Spring while sitting in a cafe in Malaysia one Saturday morning in 2006. She noticed that many girls around her were struggling to sit in their seats without their underwear peeking out above their jeans.
Spring wondered whether an elastic waistband – the kind usually built into men’s underwear – would provide women with more security.The next day, she purchased a pair of men’s boxers, cut the band off, and attached it over top of a pair of women’s underwear.
The idea worked.
Fast forward six months later, and Spring, owner and designer, had produced 300 pairs of FOXERS underwear. Six months after that, she had a patent. FOXERS was off to the races selling online and at trade shows. “I thought one day someone might say, ‘You’re wearing men’s boxers?’” said Spring. “I would reply, ‘No! I’m wearing FOXERS!’”
With the roadmap for her business in place, including loungewear, tops, and dresses, FOXERS needed a way to manage inventory and fulfillment.
The FOXERS team initially fulfilled every order themselves and like many early-stage retailers, tracked inventory counts with spreadsheets. Spring knew the process wasn’t scalable. As orders increased, it would become impossible to fulfill each one accurately, and maintain accurate stock levels doing it all in Excel. FOXERS moved their stock to a 3PL to streamline their fulfillment.
As their business grew, Spring and her team at FOXERS found working with a 3PL was limiting their growth. “As [the 3PL] grew, it became less flexible because they became bigger and wanted to do less for us, even though they were really good at fulfilling everything,” she said. A less-helpful 3PL meant more work for FOXERS – and less time to market their business at large retail shows and events. Even FOXERS’ charitable contributions – monthly clothing and item donations – suffered because of the inventory uncertainty.
Spring made the hard decision to bring fulfillment in-house. She and her partner found someone who built their own software and agreed to handle the day-to-day responsibilities and order processing if FOXERS would provide the warehouse. It seemed like a good arrangement until orders went missing and daily mistakes interfered with success.
“After one year of the software not working properly, the stress of daily mistakes, over-sales, and under-sales, as well as losing sales and the cost of gifting and returning money, it was too much on the business and me,” she said.
Spring quickly had to downsize and take on loans to sustain the business. Because the homegrown inventory software wouldn’t sync with Amazon, sales through that channel dropped rapidly. The FOXERS team knew it was time to again rethink how they managed and tracked inventory to save her business.
“SkuVault gave me the relaxation I needed. We can check inventory any time, anywhere, even when our factory is 12 hours ahead and we’re away.”
FOXERS needed a system that could connect all their sales channels – Amazon, Etsy, and their website- and fulfill orders accurately from start to finish.
Through research, her partner found SkuVault in March 2020. Within a few weeks, they were up and running on the platform, and by the end of April, their sales had increased 30% on Amazon alone. The easy integration between platforms and complete inventory visibility created an instant boost back to their business and mission.
“SkuVault gave me the relaxation I needed,” Spring said. “We can check inventory any time, anywhere, even when our factory is 12 hours ahead and we’re away.”
Luckily, the implementation took place just before the impact of Covid-19. Despite supply chain hiccups and social distancing rules in the warehouse, Spring says SkuVault prepared them for bumps in the road.
“I had SkuVault in place just before Covid hit, so I was able to continue my fulfillment daily alone in the office with no outside assistance or other employees,” she said. “I couldn’t have done this without SkuVault.”
The Growth Results
Since implementing SkuVault, nearly every facet of her business has improved. Because of the increased inventory certainty and quality control, Spring can again donate monthly items to her favorite charities without fear the items will get lost in her warehouse.
She’s able to get back to the reason she started the business instead of working in the business: to build a brand. Now, FOXERS has plans to grow a bridal line and open a storefront in Atlanta, allowing Spring to focus on her talents instead of managing fulfillment.
Through all the growing pains and financial pitfalls, she said the choice to implement SkuVault is something she wishes she would have known about long before. “I just wish I had done it years ago. It’s exactly what I kept saying to everyone that we needed for years.”