On the west coast, it’s no secret that the best ideas come from Burning Man. For best friends Emma Williams and Tanner Bloom, it was the spark that ignited a booming business.
After a trip to the playa six years ago, Bloom returned with an out-of-the-blue proposal: “What do you think about a pasties company?”
“I said I didn’t even know what that was, but to leave it with me, and I’d do some research,’” Williams recalls.
Rave fashion like body glitter, nipple pasties, and stick-on crystals was getting big in the festival circuit. Embedded in the rave community, Bloom was looking for things she could dance in for days, and Williams was all about sparkles and glitter. They would make the perfect team.
Starting Neva Nude
Williams says she got to work immediately mocking up a website and designing packaging. Bloom quickly started to become an expert in logistics. The best friends started the business without an office, a warehouse, or even manufacturers.
“We’d be laminating on the floor in my apartment,” Williams says. “It literally got to the point where I would open my cupboards in my bathroom and pasties would fall out. It was nuts.”
While operating on a shoestring at home, the duo had a knack for getting the word out and getting orders to roll in.
“Once I got a hold of certain buyers’ email addresses, I just didn’t stop,” Williams says. “Once a week, I’d drop them an email. And one day, they’d just respond.”
It didn’t take long until Neva Nude got the attention of some of the biggest names in the space.
“Our first order from Nasty Gal was amazing,” Williams says. “It wasn’t a big order, but it just told me, ‘You know what? We can build a brand here. Big names in the apparel industry are taking note of what we do.’”
The response from buyers and customers started to become overwhelming, and something had to change to keep up with demand.
“We got this massive order from American Apparel, and we had to handpack every single one item by ourselves in my apartment,” Williams says. “But, it was a great problem to have.”
This rapid success caused its fair share of growing pains, and a lot of those came from having inaccurate inventory. The team had one employee, Emily Farfan, tasked with keeping track of all inventory through a spreadsheet. She had to manually check in shipments and deduct orders from Amazon, Etsy, and wholesalers one by one.
“It’s a lot for one person to do,” Williams says. Between internet connectivity issues at the warehouse and a constant stream of items coming in and out, “Errors are bound to happen when you’re doing 500 SKUs manually.”
“We were using Google Sheets, and it just got to the point where it said we had 100 units, but we’re actually out of stock, and we have an open order.” Williams says. “And I thought, ‘this will take three to four months to order from China!’”
“To be honest, I didn’t know anything about WMS and ERP. I had to Google this stuff,” Williams admits.
However, Williams and Bloom weren’t intimidated by industry jargon. With their can-do attitude and hustler mentality, they set about finding software that would optimize their inventory, warehousing, and logistics.
“QuickBooks was our go-to, but honestly I can’t stand QuickBooks,” Williams says. “It’s more problematic than anything, and it doesn’t track inventory at all.”
At that point, the cobbled together softwares were not cutting it. Neva Nude turned to ApparelMagic when they saw they could get more accurate inventory while at the same time improving the workdays of their team.
“We needed a system that will help us streamline, manage our inventory, and take away all of these manual pieces that we do at the warehouse,” Williams says. “I was hoping it would free up so much of Emily’s time, just being able to log on to the system and see all of the numbers.”
“It was now or never,” Williams says. “I’m very happy we did it now and not when we have 2,500 SKUs.”
And it doesn’t take an autodidact to learn how to use ApparelMagic. With training materials, weekly live webinars, and a support team to guide them, new users can feel fully supported by the solution.
“Zane from the support team is very knowledgeable and very good at explaining things,” Williams says. “When he’d be doing screen shares with me, he briefly went over the B2B, and three days later, I messaged him, ‘It’s up! It looks amazing!’”
With ApparelMagic’s fully-integrated inventory management, the team has the confidence of knowing exactly what they have on hand, what they need to order, and what’s selling the best.
“In a few clicks, I can check the inventory,” Williams says. And that’s not all. “I can’t believe how much the software actually does. Seeing all the features, I keep thinking to myself, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they thought of this.’”