Best friends Nina, Siel, and Fien have been making ethical and sustainable shopping a top priority for as long as they can remember.
Since childhood, Nina, co-owner of Just Hazel, was inspired by the importance of fair trade and ethically produced goods. As adults, the trio made efforts to live and shop as ethically as possible by buying ethically sourced groceries and eating a mainly vegetarian diet. With more research, they discovered that one of their passions – fashion – was one of the most ethically and environmentally harmful. They made it their mission to consume ethical clothing. But it wasn’t easy. Their hometown of Ghent, Belgium, offered few options for ethical or sustainable clothing.
So, the three women took it upon themselves to create a solution. In 2016, Nina, Siel, and Fien opened a store in their spare time, on top of their full-time careers. Just Hazel, named after justice and for their beloved friend Hazel, is a passion project dedicated to providing accessible, ethically produced, and environmentally-friendly clothing for everyday women.
Just Hazel began as a WooCommerce online store. Without the overhead costs of renting a physical location, and with all three women operating the business alongside their full-time careers, eCommerce made the most sense. But with the growing demand for sustainable and ethical options, Just Hazel was an immediate hit with minimal marketing. With the growing success of the shop, the three entrepreneurs chose to prioritize Just Hazel, and open up their first retail location.
That’s where Oliver POS came in. With a thriving online store, it only made sense that they needed a point of sale to connect their in-store sales with their existing WooCommerce store.
“Our web developer recommended Oliver POS,” Nina says. “He said it was the best point of sale for WooCommerce, so we never used anything else.”
By staying synced to WooCommerce, Oliver POS updates sales and inventory in real-time so tracking online and in-store sales are simple and straightforward. Operating their store with Oliver POS on their laptop, the women of Just Hazel stay on top of any online orders that need to be packed up and shipped – likewise, stock levels automatically update online if sold in-store.
“Before we used Oliver, everything was in an Excel spreadsheet,” Nina confesses. With Oliver, Just Hazel can streamline their sales and stay on top of their inventory with ease.
When the pandemic hit, Just Hazel already had the advantage of operating online. Other stores in their local area, and around the world, scrambled to build functional eCommerce sites as quickly as possible to stay in business. Nina, Siel, and Fien were already on top of the game. Their WooCommerce site was already fully functional, and so Just Hazel continued to thrive even during the hardships of the pandemic.
Once stores had to close their physical locations, Just Hazel experienced a surge of online sales. To accommodate their customers during the closure, they implemented a system called ‘Hazel at Home,’ during which their customers could order online without payment, have the clothing delivered to their homes to try on, and then they have the option of purchasing the clothes they like or returning them to the store. This was a success for the shop and helped encourage customers to continue shopping despite the restrictions.
Opening their physical location proved to be an excellent business venture, with most of their sales now coming from in-store purchases – more than doubling sales during the weekdays, and up to ten times as many sales in-store during the weekends than online. Set up in a popular pedestrian-filled location, with a beautifully designed storefront, Just Hazel is an inviting place for the passersby of Burgstraat, Ghent. Their online sales are still going strong, but with the summer weather and the excitement of their long-awaited freedom, shoppers are eager to be out and about and have a retail shopping experience again. Their storefront is flourishing.
With Oliver POS’ intuitive solution, the Just Hazel team can easily manage both channels of their growing business.
“Oliver works really well for us,” Nina says. “It makes it easy to keep track of our sales online and in the store… We feel that Oliver evolves really quickly. It’s always growing, and it’s always getting new features.”
With new features always around the corner, Nina expresses the most excitement for the upcoming Oliver POS iOS App, which is currently under development.
To learn more about Just Hazel or shop their sustainable fashion and homeware, visit their online store.
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