ASB MAGAZINE: It’s seems like a lifetime ago when we first crossed paths with a little start-up brand going by another name. Even then, it was apparent Sam Coombes had what it takes for a long and successful career in the industry, and while other brands have come and gone, The Critical Society (TCSS) have remained relevant (and @stabmag board short award winning) Now, almost 2 decades since we first caught up with Sam, TCSS is onboarding with Brandscope and continuing to refine and reinvent by remaining nimble and a 100% independently owned Australian label.
The reason we ended up with Brandscope was heavily driven by our sales Agents. They’ve all had experience working across the other platforms in the market and their feedback was that Brandscope was the most user friendly and the platform most used by our account base. We were running a very manual system and our fulfilment of ATS orders was getting very frustrating. So, something needed to give. We will now be fulfilling all ATS orders out of our local warehouse. So, turnaround time should be very quick.
What role did lockdown restrictions play in this decision?
Lockdown has forced us to rethink many parts of our business and how we can work more efficiently. The obvious piece is to add more technology into the process. We’re in the middle of moving all our ERP to Cin7, which then plugs into Brandscope, which then communicated with our warehouse, which also plugs into Shopify at our direct Ecom level. Our ERP has never been planned out, the left hand fails to talk to the right hand. Lockdown forced us to rethink every part of the business and this was one glaring issue.
How is business right now at TCSS ?
Covid has been very challenging, Australia is a good piece of our entire business, however we also have distribution through Japan, USA, EU and other territories where Covid has really had a pretty significant impact. I’d also like to mention how challenging the banks have been through this entire period. The Covid Loan process has not been a pleasant one and very difficult, despite federal government security so I’m looking forward to seeing what disruption pops up in this space. We’ve had to make lots of changes to people, supply chain, distribution, logistics and so on. There’s not been one part of the business that hasn’t been reviewed. Many of our retail partners have been incredibly supportive and the ones we’ve worked closely with have had really good results. Sell through last Australian Spring and Summer was incredibly good. So, indent orders are up significantly for SP21. The range is a belter. Through this we still remain 100% independent as a Brand. I’m not sure if there’s too many that can say the same.
Can you let us in on any future projects at TCSS ?
We’ve so much going on outside of the back end changes. We have a capsule we’ve developed with Director Stefan Hunt called ‘No Surf on Mars’. We have a percentage profits from this capsule going to GreenFleet, a pro-social organisation that plants forests locally. Stef will be working with us on a shoot and film to launch the project. Stef had a sign he painted for the Climate Rally around 12 months ago. Off the back of that hand painted sign, we decided that there was a bigger message we wanted to get behind. The ’No Surf on Mars’ message is something we / our customer really connects with.
We have a Surfboard project launching in November, which is still under wraps.
We have a kids / teen line that launches in October. It’s only a small collection, but feedback has been very positive and most doors jumping on first season. I’ve 2 kids now…and there’s really not that much out there for them.
We’ve also started to rebuild our team. Key young guys Daniel Johnson @slabbycoco Lewie Dunn @lewie.dunn (joining the team) Will Jones @jonesay_ Jasper Endersby @jasperendersby being new guys we are working with.
Pretty excited to work on some projects with these guys.