CASE STUDY: Vaer Watches Builds Custom Fulfillment Solution with Scarbrough Warehousing
When Los Angeles horology startup Vaer Watches needed a new order fulfillment process that would work like clockwork, its leadership turned to Scarbrough Warehousing.
A year later, Vaer Watches (Vaer) benefits from a bespoke warehousing fulfillment service that takes the reins on challenges ranging from packaging to customer support. According to Vaer co-founders Ryan Torres and Reagan Cook, Scarbrough Warehousing’s individualized approach to order fulfillment has bolstered their efforts to both better serve customers and grow the company.
Scaling the Vaer Brand
Vaer is a Los Angeles-based watch brand that designs stylish, yet durable watches inspired by California surf culture and the aesthetics of classic vintage timepieces. Equally suited for both the rigors of surfing and the professional expectations of the office, many of Vaer’s watches stand apart from competitors with USA assembly and full waterproof engineering.
“A few years ago, I was surfing a ton before work and I needed a watch to know what time it is in the water so you can get to work on time,” Torres said. “I wanted a good watch that I could easily wear surfing and to the office with a collared shirt — there weren’t really any options at the $150 price point.”
Soon, Torres had developed his own watch brand idea and connected with Cook to develop a business model and start designing timepieces. Fast forward a few years and the partners had grown Vaer Watches into a highly respected brand with unique timepieces, strong sales growth, and a strong commitment to quality.
But as Vaer grew, its order fulfillment procedures became a pain point. At first, Torres and Cook would spend hours a day boxing orders and making drop-off trips to FedEx. It became clear to the pair that a third-party logistics provider would be necessary for order fulfillment efficiency. Finding a good fit for Vaer proved challenging at the start, however.
“We basically had some really bad experiences to start off with some tech-based 3PLs where they’re focused on fast growth and acquiring as many new customers as possible and most new customers are just another number,” Torres said. “We did that with two separate 3PLs – both failed.”
Forging a 3PL Warehouse Partnership
Finding a 3PL that matched Vaer’s focus on quality and relationships became a priority for the leadership duo.
“The larger companies like Amazon and others, their systems don’t fit our vision for growth because we were going to do it the old-fashioned way, which is predicated on one-to-one personal relationships and local sourcing, including the support and fulfillment side,” Cook said.
Soon, after signing up for the newsletter and reaching out with some questions, Torres and Cook found themselves talking to Scarbrough about their fulfillment, freight, and customer support woes. Torres said the partnership between Vaer and Scarbrough clicked right away.
“It seemed like more a family home-grown kind of business than these tech-based businesses which were just terrible with relationships,” he said. “We started to formulate solutions and Scarbrough was super flexible with everything we did, from finding good fair pricing to implementing services based around our specific needs. I felt like we were able to build a unique solution with Scarbrough for our business.”
Developing a Unique Fulfillment Solution
Vaer worked with the Scarbrough Warehousing team to develop an individualized fulfillment strategy that accommodates the brand’s specific packaging and shipment prep needs. A dedicated group of Scarbrough Warehousing employees field Vaer orders as they arrive, picking out the proper combination of watch dials, straps, and signed documentation to package together and send out for shipment.
“It’s a custom solution that Scarbrough was able to do that none of these tech-based startups would even touch because they’re so focused on hyper-growth and scalability.”
Scarbrough’s work supporting Vaer order fulfillment does not stop once a package is out the door. Vaer also leans on Scarbrough Warehousing for customer support services.
“Ideally the person handling warehousing and fulfillment is also the person handling customer support because most of the requests are about orders and shipping,” Torres said. “The fact that Scarbrough was open to making that work was awesome.”
The personalized approach from Scarbrough continued with its customer support takeover. While handling customer support internally, Cook and Torres had implemented their own software that supplies dozens of pre-made official responses to customer inquiries. Scarbrough Warehousing integrated this technology as part of its tailored customer support service for Vaer.
Developing bespoke fulfillment and support services with Scarbrough has helped Vaer to dramatically improve its delivery times. According to Torres, orders often took ten days to two weeks to arrive with customers before Scarbrough’s involvement. Now, Vaer is seeing delivery in as few as one or two days.
“Getting packages to customers that quickly is crazy,” Torres said. “That’s the kind of customer experience that we want to give. That’s what Scarbrough has allowed us to do.”
According to Torres, one customer even supplied glowing feedback stating that his order had arrived in London within 48 hours.
“Prior to this year we were never receiving kudos in our customer reviews regarding shipping timelines,” Cook commented. “If customers are willing to write about it and mention it in a review, other customers see it and it supports the whole buying cycle. That’s a huge win for us, so obviously that reflects positively on what Scarbrough is doing,” Cook said.
Prepared for Growth
Streamlining fulfillment and customer support with Scarbrough has freed up Vaer’s co-founders to focus on developing the core of the business. Torres said the extra time has allowed them to rework their design and production processes entirely.
“Honestly, Regan and I have been exponentially more productive since launching [with] Scarbrough. We were draining so much time shipping and doing support ourselves. Now we can focus so much more time on advertising, marketing, and new watch designs.”
Looking to the future, Torres and Cook said that Scarbrough’s support has set up Vaer for continued growth.
“The last piece of the puzzle that we figured out last year was the Scarbrough relationship,” Cook said. “We have our fulfillment situation taken care of and have absolute faith that all of our customers are getting the watch they ordered in a timely manner and have a great unboxing experience, not to mention the help with other aspects of shipping and logistics and help with customer support, it’s all critical.”
“The machine is in place. Now we can ramp it up and get really moving. We see ourselves growing considerably in the next few years and Scarbrough is absolutely critical to that.”
About the Scarbrough Group
Founded in 1984, The Scarbrough Group has grown its global logistics operation one client and one employee at a time. Whether international freight forwarding, customs brokerage, domestic trucking, or warehousing, The Scarbrough Group manages supply chains differently. We remain a people-first organization with dedication to traditional values and support for our community. Expect More™ from your logistics provider.