haul is an award winning design brand upcycling old advertising billboards into iPad cases and laptop bags, among other things. They originally started life in a garage, turning used number plates into journals and photo albums and selling them from a card table at Salamanca Market in Hobart, Tasmania.
Recently we spoke with owner and creative director, Scott Kilmartin, about the role that Saasu has played as they have grown from the card table to the global marketplace.
haul was one of the first of its kind to be green certified in Australia. We’re not really a tree hugger brand — the punters who buy our stuff appreciate the eco aspect to the product, but it’s the fact that because of what was originally printed on the billboard, no two products are ever the same. So if you walk up the street in Shanghai, Sydney or Stockholm you’ll never see anyone with the exact same accessory as yours.
That’s what really makes us stand out.
We employ 6 staff and some part timers, have an office in Indonesia and a retail store in North Fitzroy. We refer to the North Fitzroy store as our ‘winery cellar door’ — you can buy the products in the front and and watch them being made out the back. Not too many people get to see the inside of workshop these days so we’ve made that part of the experience.
In 2008 we started talking to the large outdoor advertisers about making products from their billboards once the campaign had finished.
That part of the the business has grown rapidly with companies keen to extend the reach of their advertising campaign, keep the billboards out of landfill and have great products ‘embedded with their brand’ to kit out staff and customers as promo products. The client list include: SEEK, RMIT, AGL, Carlton Draft, McGrath Real Estate and Mount Franklin.
As part of our marketing my dog @GusTheBoxer has inadvertently become the cheeky spokesperson for the brand, in between greeting customers and snoozing in the front window.
Back in 2009 I researched a bunch of accounting packages before deciding on Saasu. They beat the others to the punch in being cloud based, which was what the business required having staff in various locations and travelling.
Also paying by the month instead of the traditional model of buying the software package was appealing, and helped with cashflow. Saasu being Australian based was important, but the fact it could also handle international currencies and tax schedules was also impressive.
Integration with our web platform and inventory was key. Saasu integrates well with other online platforms, like our website and CRM package, and the ease of the API was appreciated by our developers doing the integration.
The same thing that makes haul’s products unique also presents some challenges. We photograph each and every product that goes on our website — we have more than 5000 individual products in our online store.
Being able to have unique product IDs in the thousands and also track sales across ranges was a challenge but one that Saasu was able to handle. The fact that we are both a service and product based business also wasn’t an issue for the Saasu platform.
The integration provided via the API between our website, CRM and accounting platform has saved considerable time and money on double data entry.
Saasu has also allowed staff to understand the state of play of the haul business via the “access anywhere” capability — via a computer or iPhone, locally or overseas.
There are lots of things we like about Saasu :
We are going to be opening more experiential retail, where people can see and feel the unusual materials haul uses and to touch the manufacturing process.
There will also be expansion of both our online and physical offerings, including international markets such as UK, Japan and USA.
All of this means more multiple currency revenue streams. This will require additional help in the accounts area and Saasu’s easy to use interface should make training new staff a quick process.