9th Letter Press: The Impact of Sales Order Management Software

Sarah Leung
March 11, 2015

A greeting card and stationery brand founded just three years ago, 9th Letter Press is a company on the rise. With their wide range of high-end greeting cards and custom designs for weddings and special events, the company is now working with top retailers like Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, Paper Source, Terrain, and BHLDN. As a young brand, 9th Letter Press hasn’t had much experience with the standard “old way” of making sales and taking down orders, i.e. using paper order forms and printed catalogs. Indeed, they realized very quickly that spending hours re-entering orders into their backend system wasn’t sustainable. They sought a solution, and for nearly two years now, 9th Letter Press has been a sales order management software user. Over time, they’ve discovered that Handshake helps them not only write and process orders, but also make strategic product decisions. We recently had the chance to sit down for a quick chat with co-founder Sheli Scarborough to discuss how sales order management has impacted their business.

HS: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Sheli. Can you tell us more about 9th Letter Press and your role there?

Sheli: Sure! We’re a greeting card and stationery manufacturer, doing most of our production by letterpress printing on antique presses. The majority of our business is done on the wholesale side, which is why Handshake is so great for us. I’m a co-founder, along with my friend, who’s a designer. She takes care of the design side, and I take care of the business side of things.

HS: What made you seek out a solution like sales order management software?

Sheli: We quickly realized that manually putting everything into Quickbooks didn’t make sense for us. After our trade shows, we’d have to to come back home and input all the orders. It could take up to a week, and it really backlogged things. The second thing was the fact that we have hundreds of SKUs in the system, and we’re constantly inputting new items and discontinuing old ones. We needed a way to flexibly make those changes to our lines.

HS: What were you looking for in a software vendor?

Sheli: I don’t think we knew what we were looking for, to be honest. But when we heard about Handshake and did some research, it just seemed like it was the answer to our problems.

HS: How are you using Handshake now?

Sheli: We use Handshake as the overall place to keep all of our orders. We run all of them through the system, and it creates an easy-to-navigate database where we can track orders and see what each customer is buying. When we’re in the studio, we enter incoming orders on the Handshake web interface. We also use Handshake at trade shows, which is when we primarily use the Handshake mobile app on iPads.

HS: Can you talk a bit more about your experience using the software at trade shows?

Sheli: Most buyers are really impressed by it. For existing customers, they really love that we can pull up their account quickly on the iPad. We don’t have to waste time getting their billing and shipping addresses and credit card info a second them. They can just walk into the booth, meet with us, and finish up their order really quickly. We actually only used paper order forms at a trade show one time before getting started with Handshake. Most of the complaints at that point were coming from us. It was us coming home and being frustrated at how much work we had to do to get those orders into the system.

HS: Do you have any favorite features, or ways you’ve optimized Handshake for your business?

Sheli: Using Handshake to shift products around category-wise is great. If, for example, we have discontinued items still in stock, we can put them in a separate category, so we can still sell them but mark them as discontinued for the future. The reporting features are also great. We can see total sales by category, like, “Birthday,” “Thank You,” etc. Every time we come up with a new release, we can pull that report and see what’s selling well over time. Those reports allow us to compare the success of different products and actually make product decisions for the future.

HS: What other impacts has sales order management software had on your business?

Sheli: Order shipping time is huge. It’s helped us get orders out the door more quickly. We can also email buyers a professional looking confirmation and invoice, and print a packing slip, without having to do any extra work. It’s also just really easy to use. Anyone can go in and input an order. The products are all in the system. If we have a new employee who needs to learn to input orders, it’s easy. It’s really fulfilled all of our needs. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Sheli! For more information on sales order management software, check out our Sales Order Management FAQs post.