AYBL To Grow: £30M Athleisure Brand Saves 1000s of Hours With Inventory Planner
‘Work smarter, not harder’ is a phrase often thrown around in business but for savvy Gen Z entrepreneur Reiss Edgerton, they are words to live by.
After quitting university, Reiss considered joining the army before he teamed up with his brother Kris in 2018 to set up AYBL, an multi-website online clothing brand specializing in women’s gym gear – including leggings, shorts and sports bras.
Thanks to Reiss and Kris’s ambitious leadership, the business has skyrocketed to success and is now bringing in £30M a year – with further growth on the cards, even in the midst of a difficult economic climate.
With five million likes on TikTok and 700K followers on Instagram, AYBL ships over 400,000 orders to more than 160 countries each year, including the US, UK and Germany. In 2022, the brand was named the fastest growing private company in Britain with annual sales growth over three years pegged at 359.01 per cent.
Reiss says choosing the right tech tools has played a critical role in the business’s prosperity, and he credits Inventory Planner in particular with helping the business scale.
Reiss says: “I used Inventory Planner in a previous business and I probably started using it a bit too late, so I learned from that mistake and used it from the very start when we set up AYBL.
“As a tech tool, it runs to the heart of our business and has proved critical in helping us achieve fast but meaningful growth.
“With Inventory Planner, you can become an instant expert in replenishment – able to do the job as well, if not better, as someone with 15 years experience and in a fraction of the time.
“It takes care of so much, including automatic replenishment, that I can be quite hands off with merchandising and purchasing. It easily saves us around 100 hours a month – or thousands of hours a year!
“That’s key for me – I don’t want to be getting bogged down by managing day-to-day stuff, I want to be free to focus on the bigger picture.”
No out-of-style spreadsheets here
With supply unpredictable, the economic outlook uncertain and the risk from overstock ever-present, Reiss was especially keen to take advantage of cutting-edge technology like Inventory Planner so that the business could accurately forecast sales demand in an intuitive, hassle-free way.
Unlike clunky spreadsheets, Inventory Planner offers always-up-to-date forecasting and customisable inventory insights, along with easy-to-understand buying recommendations that can be turned directly into POs in a couple of clicks.
“I hate to say it, but I think a lot of merchandisers are too stuck in their ways, too wedded to Excel,” says Reiss.
“I know some of the world’s biggest businesses use Excel, and maybe it’s right for them, but I just think it’s an overly complicated and time consuming way to approach merchandising, with way too much manual lifting.
“Using spreadsheets in 2023 is like still using dial-up internet when the rest of the world has fibre optic broadband. If you’re a fast-growing business with multiple data sources and multiple websites, it’s just not feasible.
“To forecast in a spreadsheet, you need to have a really advanced, deep understanding of all the functions and be an expert at manipulating and importing data.
“Or you can just use a plug and play app like Inventory Planner and be set up within 30 minutes, with all the merchandising functionality you could need at your fingertips.”
A step ahead of the latest trends
Thanks to Inventory Planner, Reiss and his team always know which inventory to order, how much to order, and the perfect moment to order it, based on an accurate calculation of how much AYBL will sell.
This has helped the business avoid overstock and running out of stock, both of which can have a devastating impact on fragile retail brands right now.
“Overstock is lethal for cash flow and running out of items means missing out on revenue – neither should be happening if you are planning your inventory properly,” Reiss says.
“I know of multi-million pound businesses that have a team of merchandisers but who are sitting on a ton of excess stock, or who are always running out of key items.
“There’s a smarter way. I’m someone with zero merchandising experience who has been able to use Inventory Planner to successfully merchandise for AYBL with minimum effort.
“Thanks to Inventory Planner, our stock is lean and we always have enough to meet demand. That’s had a direct impact on our ability to grow.
“I believe that to achieve sustainable growth you need to plough back any profit into the business and build up your cash reserves – especially in the current market.
“I didn’t actually hire a merchandiser until we were doing £20 million in revenue – which other businesses might find hard to believe, but it’s true.
“Even now, Inventory Planner saves us about three full-time hires compared to a business run on spreadsheets.”
Insights in fine detail
The advanced insights and reporting in Inventory Planner are used to influence new product design and to help the business prepare for its three flagship sales every year.
Inventory Planner’s detailed insights across various KPIs – including variant, vendor, warehouse and product category – are highly customisable, so brands like AYBL can glean the data that matters most to their business, and use it to their advantage.
For instance, AYBL uses Inventory Planner’s insights to make business critical decisions on which designs to create next, or which items to include in its flagship promotion events.
The app flags up hot-selling variants and flags which are slow-moving, so AYBL can cash in on new trends and discontinue or earmark less popular items for discounting.
Reiss says: “We’re very conscious of not falling into the same trap as other e-commerce fashion retailers such as Boohoo of becoming known as a discount brand or training our customers to only shop with us when they’ve got a discount code.
“Instead, we charge full price most of the time but we reward customers with a really good sale across everything, including best-sellers, three times a year. Because our stock is so lean, we actually order stock in for our sale events – and we again use Inventory Planner to show us exactly what that order should look like.
“But what I love is that, for the rest of the time, we can exclude our sale data from our regular forecasting – so it’s not swayed by the huge spike in demand. That’s something other tools just can’t do.”
Being able to raise purchase orders directly from buying reports and being able to consolidate multiple Shopify stores in different currencies are also on the list of Inventory Planner features that have been game-changing for AYBL.
“We’ve got lots of exciting plans in the pipeline, including cool new products and pop-up stores,” Reiss adds.
“But this year is all about efficiency for us. We want to achieve maximum efficiency across the business – and Inventory Planner is a key piece of that puzzle.”
Want to get the same results with Inventory Planner as AYBL? Book a demo now.