From startup to fashion success: What Thats So Fetch gained in their first 3PL partnership

startup to fashion success

Rapidly growing order volumes can seem like a good problem for brands to have. But if your e-commerce fulfillment strategy is unable to keep pace, you’re looking at lengthy delays in getting orders out the door - not to mention unhappy customers.

Committing to bringing in a 3PL partner can be an intimidating prospect, especially for businesses that are used to managing fulfillment independently. For other brands, the question is not whether or not to outsource e-commerce fulfillment, but when. Having cut their teeth as a successful online fashion brand in their native Australia, Thats So Fetch was ready to take the next step by expanding into the lucrative U.S. market. However, they needed the support of a well-resourced 3PL to offer their customers the experience they deserved. Learn more about how they paired up with Ryder E-commerce - and how they found a pathway to sustainable expansion.

Thats So Fetch: Bringing the latest styles to a global audience

collage: woman scanning in a warehouse; women modeling clothes; shoes

Immersed in an era of social commerce and global fashion trends, Thats So Fetch was founded in 2018 by Sam Finlayson and Tim Mcfadyen to capture the latest and greatest in apparel and accessories. From the latest festival looks to the perfect dress for an upcoming event, the brand is striving to be a one-stop shop for consumers who want to engage with a like-minded community of fashion lovers.

“To be honest, we never had ambitions to start a global fashion boutique.” Says Tim Mcfadyen, co-founder and CEO of Thats So Fetch. “Sam would see influencers working with fashion brands on Instagram and posting about what they were wearing. It made us think about how amazing it would be to be part of that ecosystem. Hearing customers say that they wore one of our dresses for their 18th birthday and felt amazing is what makes us so passionate about what we do.”

Thanks to a well-oiled social commerce strategy that sees the brand partner with a range of collaborators on Instagram and TikTok, Thats So Fetch has achieved rapid growth within the highly competitive apparel market. This lead them on a fresh journey to find a reliable 3PL who could support their ambitious expansion. 

Getting ready to scale

For many digitally-native brands, self-fulfillment presents a cost-effective and low-stress solution to getting their business off the ground and experimenting with different workflows. When order volumes are small, the cost of outsourcing fulfillment usually outweighs the benefits of bringing in outside expertise.

illustration of a person working in a warehouse.Right from its initial founding, That’s So Fetch had only ever fulfilled orders in-house via their warehouse in Melbourne, Australia. While this was partly due to wanting to keep fulfillment local, previous explorations had given them the impression that 3PLs weren’t geared toward working with fashion brands.

But as order volumes grew and expansion opportunities beckoned, the founders became aware that self-fulfillment wouldn’t be sufficient to serve a multi-national customer base.

“We’d been aiming for an expansion into the U.S. market for a while. But it wasn’t feasible to be shipping orders out of our Australian warehouse.” Says McFadyen. “We couldn’t achieve transit times in line with what U.S. consumers expect, and returns would have to be shipped all the way back to our facility. It became clear that selling in the U.S. hinged on finding a U.S. 3PL partner.”

With no previous experience partnering with 3PLs, Tim and Sam began their search the simple way - using Google to find potential providers and filling out contact forms. Ryder E-commerce’s expertise in working with emerging brands in addition to enterprise businesses helped them to stand out in the competitive e-commerce fulfillment space, as well as their proven track record in the apparel industry.

Reducing errors through best practices

Onboarding at a 3PL can be a time-consuming and stressful process, especially when brands are trying to implement their SOPs with a new provider. But in the case of That’s So Fetch, the brand had the rare advantage of starting with a blank slate.

“Because we are a pretty young company, we didn’t have any proper SOPs for fulfillment prior to partnering with Ryder E-commerce. We just relied on team members passing on their knowledge.” Says Finlayson. “One of the biggest benefits of the onboarding process was working with an experienced team who could suggest and implement changes to make order fulfillment run much more smoothly.”

One such practice that Ryder E-commerce helped introduce was barcoding all merchandise for the seamless tracking and picking of SKUs. Thats So Fetch worked with their factory to get barcodes printed onto labels at the point of manufacturing, saving valuable time readying garments for fulfillment.

“Apparel brands have very specific needs from an order fulfillment standpoint. They are typically working with extremely high SKU counts and carry a lot of variations for color and size.” Says Brian Weinstein, Vice President of Business Development at Ryder E-commerce. “This demands very granular inventory management strategies like barcoding to avoid picking errors or problems with excess inventory.” 

Mispicks were a common occurrence for Thats So Fetch when fulfilling orders in-house, and took valuable time and resources to rectify. Now that pickers in their Ryder E-commerce fulfillment centers are equipped with barcodes, incidences of mispicks have fallen from an average of 40 per month to just one - a massive improvement that’s resulted in higher levels of customer satisfaction.

collage: a scanner; clothing; a person working in a warehouse; illustration of a person delivering a package

How partnerships power better brand experiences

The value of a well-resourced 3PL doesn’t lie just in their ability to pick and pack orders, but to take a holistic view of operational efficiency and success. 

Successful e-commerce selling requires multiple touchpoints in the customer experience to work together seamlessly to create positive experiences that inspire loyalty. This is where the partnerships team at Ryder E-commerce plays a key role in ensuring that brands have the tools and support they need to enhance the customer experience:

“The purpose of the Ryder E-commerce partnership network is to connect our customers with other top solutions in the e-commerce and logistics space who can help streamline their operation.” Says Marco De Paulis, Director of E-commerce Partnerships at Ryder E-commerce. “By helping brands to address challenges besides fulfillment, Ryder E-commerce adds value beyond the traditional 3PL relationship.”

Discussions with Thats So Fetch during the onboarding process uncovered that the apparel brand was interested in implementing customizable tracking pages to offer a more cohesive end-to-end shopping experience. The partnerships team not only offered advice on implementation but also connected them with a Ryder E-commerce partner who could provide this capability.

“Working with the Ryder E-commerce partnerships team was incredibly valuable for Thats So Fetch because they understand the technology demands faced by growing e-commerce businesses.” Says McFadyen. “It was a really consultative process that has added so much value to the 3PL partnership.”

The purpose of the Ryder E-commerce partnership network is to connect our customers with other top solutions in the e-commerce and logistics space who can help streamline their operation.

Readying for the next chapter

Now armed with a reliable e-commerce fulfillment strategy and a plan to handle robust growth, Thats So Fetch is focusing on ensuring a positive experience for their U.S. customers, as well as maintaining a seamless cross-border relationship with their warehouse team.

“Now that we can offer competitive shipping timeframes and good customer service, we feel confident expanding further into the U.S. and building the brand community we started in Australia.” Says McFadyen. “The goal is to grow with Ryder E-commerce and continue reaching more fashion-forward consumers worldwide.”

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