Things were looking pretty blue for Lesa Wallace: The economy had gone into recession, she was downsizing her once thriving handbag manufacturing business and she no longer had the time to volunteer for a children’s charity that she was very involved with called CASA.
Her big idea – Lesa Wallace Handbags in Santa Ana, Calif., was sitting among a pile of leather scraps and buckles – the ends from the leather bags – when she had her moment of inspiration. She would turn the scraps into stylish, quality leather bracelets, and donate 10 percent of sales to charity.
“The only real cost for the bracelets was labor, since we already had the material,” says Lesa. “I thought to myself, I can’t give my time anymore, but this is one important way I can give back to CASA. And, I can recycle high-quality materials to do it.”
Buckling Down to New Business
Many of her traditional customers were shuttering their stores, and she needed a new channel for reaching buyers.
“A friend suggested we sell directly to customers at Farmers and Artisan markets,” says Lesa. “I liked that idea right away – it gave me an opportunity to not just sell the bracelets at low cost, but also talk about CASA and the work they do.”
Lesa pulled herself up by her bootstraps, designed and oversaw production for the bracelets, and brought them to market. They were an instant hit.
“People loved them,” she says. “And, they loved that we were giving a part of the proceeds to charity.”
Losing Sales Without Credit Cards
Without the ability to process credit cards, Lesa found that she was losing sales.
“I was very limited without a mobile payment processor,” she said. “There’s a lot of foot traffic at these markets, but people don’t always carry cash.”
It was time for a mobile credit card payment processor. She researched about 10 different providers before settling on QuickBooks GoPayment.
“I liked that we could have multiple users on one account with GoPayment,” she said. “That way, we could have several salespeople working at different markets on the same account. This was a big advantage Intuit had over other processors.”
Lesa also relied on expert advice (Who did she get her expert advice from?) to make her decision. “I liked that GoPayment was rated very highly.”
Seamless Setup for New Payment System
With GoPayment, Lesa can accept credit card payments, using an Apple iPad, iPhone or Android mobile phone. She also added a magnetic card reader that attaches to the smartphone, which lets you process payments much faster. One salesperson uses their Android phone, while she and another salesperson both use their personal iPhones.
Setup for the new credit card payment method was a snap.
“The packaging was very clear and concise,” she said. “All I had to do was download the app, plug it in and I was ready to go. It was completely seamless.”
Increasing Sales With GoPayment
Once she was able to accept credit cards, sales took off.
“As soon as we got GoPayment, our sales grew about 30 to 40 percent,” she says. “And, it’s continuing to grow, month after month.”
Today, Lesa has four employees, and doesn’t worry anymore whether customers have cash on hand.
“We definitely used to lose sales when we didn’t have GoPayment,” she said. Even if they say they’re going to an ATM, it’s just not the same as making the sale right then and there. GoPayment synchronizes all the payment information with QuickBooks® back at the office. It makes it so simple.”
Growing the Business in Unexpected Ways
The bracelets have not just been a hot selling item, but they’ve also opened up new, unexpected opportunities.
“In the last few months, five different women have opened up new businesses with our bracelets,” she said. “They buy wholesale from us, set up a mobile payment processor themselves, sell the bracelets at their local markets and donate a part of the proceeds to their local CASA branches. It’s opened up a whole new channel of business for us. And, it’s given an opportunity to these women to earn extra income.”
Getting Back to Basics
For Lesa, GoPayment is an integral part of her new business model.
“We could not have achieved what we did without GoPayment,” she says. “It’s been so critical to our success.”
Lesa’s story is yet another example of turning what feels like the worst thing in the world into a fantastic new opportunity. And, will she keep finding new and interesting ways to grow her company?
You can bet your boots she will.
- Increased sales by 30+ percent.
- Reduced number of lost sales.
- Saved time by automatically downloading credit card sales information to the QuickBooks file.
- Increased efficiency by keeping all employees on one GoPayment account.