At a glance
Reduced rostering from 5 hours a week to just 10 minutes
Saving 4 hours a week on timesheets
Open Shift feature ensures peak time shifts are always covered
Fast fashion has a lot to answer for. It’s too easy to buy a cheap knock-off of a gorgeous outfit online or in a megamall, wear it once, snap a photo for Insta-love at whatever party, and then forget about it. The environmental impact of disposable fashion is huge: it’s the 2nd highest polluter globally, after the fossil fuel industry and before air travel.
Iconic UK designer Vivienne Westwood made a good point about fashion when she said: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”.
Of course, most people don’t have the disposable income to shop the high street for the real deal, so if you want to wear something you’ve seen on the runway what can you do?
Audrey Khaing-Jones and husband Dean say you can have the best of both worlds. In 2012 they launched designer fashion rental business GlamCorner for every Australian woman who has riffled through her wardrobe before a big event and thought ‘I have nothing special to wear’.
“When (US-based) Rent-the-Runway popped up I thought ‘Oh my god, this is so exciting!’ but then I got to the checkout and saw it was US-only,” explains Audrey.
So the couple decided to build a massive online wardrobe of designer labels for Australian women to borrow from whenever they need, and now says Audrey “Thanks to the sharing economy our business has grown to 30 times the size since we started in our studio.”
Access is the new ownership: we’re democratising designer fashion with a massive wardrobe our customers can borrow from.
I was spending half a day every Sunday just copying and pasting timesheets before I could approve them for payroll.
GlamCorner’s popularity continued to grow: the business expanded to fill a 1000 square meter warehouse in Sydney (its fifth in so many years) and now has 50 employees in diverse customer service roles from selecting and packing dresses to laundry.
“I had to go get my forklift license when we quadrupled in size in less than a year” says Dean. “We brought in AirTree Venture Capital in 2015, set up a larger warehouse and expanded our software platform to manage all the logistics of sending and receiving thousands of boxes of clothes.”
Growing businesses sometimes find that for all the economies of scale benefits promised by business management systems, the day-to-day experience isn’t always easy. Tracking the details of thousands of orders is one thing, but sometimes you need more hands on deck than you have available.
Audrey identified early on that having a scalable workforce would help GlamCorner deal with spikes in demand, though she found organising the more than 50% of employees who work casual or part-time was still a lot of admin.
Extra orders mean organising and filling extra shifts quickly, so Audrey used to text her regular part-time employees to offer them the hours first. Texting is fast but locking in a roster on an Excel spreadsheet isn’t so easy:
“After I’d text everyone there was the back-and-forth to fill the shift,” says Audrey. “Sometimes we’d also have shifts available because full time employees called in sick and it was so difficult managing schedules in this Excel spreadsheet in front of me. Then after the shifts were filled I used to pretty much spend my Sundays checking timesheets to do payroll.”
Audrey and Dean knew they needed something more efficient than Excel for rostering and timesheets that would integrate logically with GlamCorner’s business systems.
The couple tried a few kinds of workforce management software before discovering Deputy.
“Deputy has a great product team,” says Audrey. “I feel like they have thought about everything. Even emails and SMS and notifications. These are the things that I take for granted now when updating shifts and they’re really helpful.”
Audrey and Dean admit they hadn’t thought of some of the business challenges Deputy solves when they introduced it to the business in early 2017.
Deputy’s tools for predicting wage costs per shift, per day, week and beyond proved especially beneficial. As Dean notes, every additional designer dress rented through the site should bring in more revenue, and it needn’t cost more to fulfil:
“When you grow people think there’s economy of scale. You don’t want running costs to get out of hand because volumes spike: you need the cost right in front of you.
“A lot of business owners work their guts out on compliance, getting wages right, doing BAS, IAS,” he adds. “Deputy was a breath of fresh air, suddenly the half day or a day a week we were doing, just in admin, is now gone. It’s zero. That was such a welcome value-add. Overall it makes it easier to employ people and that’s a good thing.”
Deputy’s Newsfeed keeps all employees in the loop about new customer offers, upcoming tasks and events, and seasonal roster changes. Audrey reports improved transparency between managers, supervisors and all employees thanks Deputy’s newsfeed, which unlike other messaging system, everyone checks.
Deputy has also improved transparency about hours worked, accurately recording each employee’s shifts when they clock in and out with face recognition on the Deputy kiosk.
Removing the need for employees and managers to write hours into timesheets was a popular move, even more importantly, employees trust the face recognition feature:
“If the team stays longer to finish their job, I really want to make sure I’m doing the right thing by compensating them for the correct hours,” says Audrey. “It removes the doubts we used to have with other time records, when I might have to chase up ten people and ask them ‘How long did you stay back?’. Now I don’t need to worry about it.”
Dean wishes during his bartending days at uni he’d had Deputy instead of the old punch card system, which relied on his manager putting in the extra work to sort out overtime:
“Everything is definitely time stamped, you’ve got a record of it, and you’re set. Now the kiosk at the entrance of our warehouse is the centre of gravity and as the business gets bigger and bigger it helps keep track of where everyone is. Deputy’s come out and nailed it.”