“I absolutely love how you don’t have to reupload products and pricing. That’s one of the hindrances to partnering with other retailers because you have to do the same process all over again.”
Philly & Friends is an award-winning children's lifestyle brand with a strong purpose at its heart. They aim to add a drop of color in the sea of children's products while supporting underprivileged kids worldwide. They create beautifully crafted children's books, dolls, puzzles, cards, wall art and products designed to instill confidence and self-love through the power of representation.
Create Inclusive Products For All Children
Vese Aghoghovbia founded Philly & Friends after she became a mother and found that there weren't many quality children's books that featured a black or minority ethnic main character.
“I wanted my daughter to grow up with self-esteem and to know that she’s more than what she is on the outside,” says Vese.
Philly & Friends began in 2019 with a children’s book Who Do I See In The Mirror? and expanded to wall art, dolls, and T-shirts because of requests from their customers.
They started as a direct to consumer (DTC) online brand, but Vese wanted to get her products in front of as many potential customers as she could. That meant going B2B and partnering with retailers.
The only challenge? Managing retail partnerships was easier said than done.
Managing Retail Partnerships Became A New Job
Once Vese entered into her first few retail partnerships for Philly & Friends, she realized how difficult it was to manage inventory data and order information across multiple retailers.
Order fulfillment was a challenge because information was fragmented across different systems and email threads. Vese had to pay close attention to shipping addresses and order numbers to make sure the right order went to the right customer.
“It just feels like you have multiple tabs in your brain open,” says Vese.
Inventory management proved to be just as difficult because Vese didn’t have her system integrated with her retail partners. She had to regularly update her inventory counts to make sure that retailers weren’t overselling her products.
Managing both her inventory and her orders added a lot of work to Vese’s plate. Going B2B “became a new job” for her.
Vese knew that managing her retail partnerships manually wouldn’t be sustainable given the high level of manual effort involved. She had to find a better and more efficient way to manage them.