How The Finer Things 1920 Beat Their Sales Targets in Q4 by Outsourcing their Fulfillment [Case Study]

Learn how founder of The Finer Things 1920, Andrea Hamilton, was able to scale logistics just in time for the gift-giving season by transitioning fulfillment from in-house to ShipBob. 

Key metrics:


3x

growth in subscription box customers in under a year

 

<2

days it took for ShipBob to fulfill orders that would take 3 weeks to fulfill at home

Customer Profile

Founded by Andrea Hamilton in 2018, The Finer Things 1920™ is based in West Palm, Florida and is home to the quarterly gift subscription designed exclusively for a “Zeta Woman by Zeta Women.” The inspiration for the brand came from Andrea’s sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., founded in 1920 at Howard University. It is where her team gleams inspiration for their quarterly creation.  

Beyond the organization’s shield, Greek letters and colors, their members are known for their founding principle of Finer Womanhood, which embodies who they are and what they stand for.

The Finer Things 1920™ is a licensed vendor of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., a Divine Nine sorority with over 800 chapters across the US, as well as in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Carribean. Andrea Hamilton has been a member of Zeta Phi Beta for over 20 years and has established long-term relationships with her sorority sisters, known as Finer Women.

Andrea is the type of person that doesn’t take gift-giving lightly. She always sought out to find the perfect gifts for her sorority sisters. Because of her dedication to her sorority and her love for gift-giving, she noticed an opportunity to build a quarterly gift subscription business exclusively for the organization. Soon after the idea came to mind, she moved forward to make it a reality.

In just a few years, The Finer Things 1920 has grown rapidly. Andrea knew that her initial fulfillment strategy — fulfilling orders from her house — wasn’t going to allow her business to scale. To prepare for the 2020 holiday season, she started searching for a fulfillment provider that would understand the complexity of her business and chose ShipBob.

Driven by a love for Zeta and a passion for gifting

As told to ShipBob by Andrea Hamilton, Founder of The Finer Things 1920.

The Finer Things 1920 brand defines what it means to be a Finer Woman and stands us apart from the other Divine Nine Greek-Lettered organizations. Having this brand built on that foundation is really important. It embodies the elements, the beauty, and the essence of Finer Womanhood. 

Almost four years later, here we are! We are growing rapidly, and it’s exciting to see something grow from an idea to what it is today. We started with about 50 box subscribers and now have thousands of subscribers, which is why we had to outsource fulfillment to ShipBob. 

The items available for the box are different each quarter. We focus on items that are both personal and practical, including apparel and accessories. The sisterhood is not just an undergrad experience. Not only do we represent Zeta, we are representing our life-long commitment to our founding principles and how they impact our local communities.

Managing complex subscription logistics from home

Before ShipBob, I was managing logistics from my “Florida-based facility” (code for: my house). That’s how it all started: building a business from the ground up and figuring out how fulfillment works as I went. The entire fulfillment management process took place in my house — building boxes, accepting large packages and breaking them down, picking and packing boxes, and scheduling USPS pickups. 

My partner and I work full-time jobs, so it took us three to four days to prepare shipping labels and organize them by alphabetical order, size, and name. We did this in case someone needed to make a last-minute change, such as a wrong address, and we could easily find it and correct it before it was shipped. 

“Last time we shipped our own packages, it took us 3 weeks. It took ShipBob less than 2 days. I couldn’t wait to delegate this business over, because the stress level was through the roof. I am just so grateful for ShipBob.” 

Andrea Hamilton, founder of The Finer Things 1920

Finding the ideal fulfillment partner just in time for Q4

We really needed to think about how we were going to scale the business. We can’t scale if we can’t fit it all in the house. 

I came across ShipBob while searching online for fulfillment and got in touch with their sales team, which was a very smooth process unlike conversations I had with other 3PLs that were difficult. A different 3PL sent me a 30-page questionnaire full of questions I didn’t know how to answer. Another dropped the ball multiple times.  

My initial phone call with one of ShipBob’s account executives went great. He provided transparent pricing and knew the business like the back of his hand. There’s a level of comfort that comes with that. At the end of the day, what matters to me is that my 3PL partner values my business. 

The entire process of getting started with ShipBob was so easy. I was handing my business over to someone who was not just a vendor but a partner, one who was going to hear me and understand the complexity of what we do — and have a solution. During our initial conversations, it was never “we can’t do that …,” it was always “we can do this and …” and “it’s going to be this or that …” 

“ShipBob ended up shipping a few thousand orders with minimal issues. I loved watching it happen in the ShipBob portal this year, rather than in my living room. I’m thrilled with ShipBob and how they handled Q4 for us.”  

Andrea Hamilton, founder of The Finer Things 1920

Gaining visibility and the freedom to scale

I am a bit of an analytics nerd, so I love the ShipBob dashboard because I didn’t have access to this level of visibility before. ShipBob’s technology integrates with Shopify and Bold Subscriptions, and it is so cool to see how all the shipments move through the process so quickly and how fast the whole fulfillment process happens.

I also love the ability to see remaining inventory — that’s so huge. Before, we were counting one by one in my house, but that’s being taken care of by ShipBob now. 

“ShipBob is not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. I’m really happy with my decision. It’s a huge load off myself and my family not to have to manage logistics in my house — especially during Christmas.” 

Andrea Hamilton, founder of The Finer Things 1920

What’s next for The Finer Things 1920?

We have big goals! We plan to continue growing our subscription service and our base. We want to try new subscription options such as bonus boxes and things of that nature. We’re dedicated to our sisters and want to serve them in others ways with additional products and opportunities.

In terms of fulfillment, as we grow and our partnership grows, we definitely plan to give more of our business to ShipBob. Because of our great partnership, we get to focus on managing the business rather than spending all our time on logistics.