Growing a business

QuickBooks Online Advanced: The ideal system for the “big little” business

From the start, Shahla Karimi had a clear vision for her highly successful jewelry enterprise: Selling love.

Shahla, the eponymous name for the New York-based brand, set out to break the traditional engagement mold by helping clients tell their unique love stories through the custom pieces created.

“On the outside, Shahla is a sustainable fine jewelry brand based on egalitarian engagements. On the inside, we are really focused on love, telling the story of love, and working with our customers to come up with pieces that explain their journey,” says Karimi.

Karimi’s entrepreneurial journey started in 2008 when she launched her first Etsy store. Over the years, the Shahla brand grew—allowing Karimi’s solo gig to become a seven-figure business. This is how she did it.

What’s a Shahla?

Shahla is so much more than a business name…even extending beyond the founder herself. Shahla is a movement. It represents both the platform and the narrative for the new age of engagement—one that includes everyone from every walk of life. Shahla truly is a one-of-a-kind brand founded on a beyond-innovative business model.

The company flips the engagement script on its head by starting with the customer’s experience—working to uncover each person’s unique story. It’s the deeper insight and details that inform design and lead to cultivating a unique and personalized piece that memorializes a couple’s collective journey.

“Personal touch for us is so far beyond just making something they want. We really get to know our customers…no matter how long it takes. We want people to express their individuality so we can capture that in the pieces we create for them,” Karimi explains.

The Shahla business model is composed of three key elements:

  • Stellar, personalized customer service: Every customer has their own experience to share, which is why Shahla invests so much time upfront getting to know each. Customers also receive a 101 on diamond education.
  • Sustainable products: The company was the first to use cultivated lab diamonds, supporting both a sustainable and affordable product.

  • Idiosyncratic design: No one does what Shahla does. The team is always looking for inspiration in unconventional places…the people, the architecture, the personality of New York City itself. It’s what makes Shahla the standout among all other jewelers.

QuickBooks: The solution for the “not quite big and not quite little” business

Karimi is the first to admit she started her online enterprise with no business plan, no business degree, and, in her words, “no sense for business.” For all these reasons, she relied heavily on QuickBooks Online Advanced (Advanced) from the start of her wildly successful entrepreneurial ride.

“I joke that QuickBooks is for business people who don’t know how to business,” Karimi says.

Advanced is so intuitive that Karimi quickly picked up on how to maximize system features. She uses it to check cash flow, make projections, process payroll, run HR, and so much more.

“I've learned how to—at the click of a button—project what my cash flow looks like for the next three months. I've been trained through doing…just diving in and learning the system.”

Eight years ago, when the business really started to take off, Karimi knew she needed to transition from Excel to a more robust solution that was intuitive enough for a self-described non-business person to master. She also wanted a system that could support her “tweener” business—one that’s not quite big, but not exactly small either—and could scale with the company.

“I chose QuickBooks Online Advanced because it allows me to focus on growing my business and designing versus managing my business. It also allows me to focus on my family, friends, and the culture of Shahla—rather than the businessing.”

QuickBooks Online Advanced offered all the tools she needed in one simple-to-use package. Shahla now uses Advanced for just about everything.

Real-time data access enables her to check her P&L daily to see what payments are due and what payments are coming. Access to up-to-the-minute data supports informed cash flow forecasting and smart decisions on big purchases (money out). “That’s important when you’re fronting $20,000 for a diamond…It was also helpful during the uncertainty of the pandemic. It helped us be agile in our spending and understand where we needed to cut back,” Karimi explains.

“QuickBooks Online Advanced helps me make data-backed decisions,” she continues. “I’m in an industry where I want to buy every beautiful thing I see, which can hurt cash flow. I use the QuickBooks app when I'm in the Diamond District or in the office pricing out products. Every decision I make is backed by the data. You can’t rely on gut feeling. It has to be analytics-driven, and QuickBooks helps me do that.”

Invoicing functionality makes quick work of billing customers with the ability to send a payment link. Customers love the convenience, and everyone loves saving on credit card fees. Typically, Shahla receives payment within one business day (compared to 4-5 days via the company’s eCommerce site).

According to Karimi, this is another big value of Advanced. “You have to consider that my average sale is $10,000. A 1.5% card processing fee comes to $150. It only costs me $10 to invoice through QuickBooks!”

QuickBooks Time lets both Shahla’s full- and part-time employees to painlessly track their time. At week’s end, Karimi approves payroll from her web-enabled device and has the added peace of mind that payroll taxes are filed automatically. The system also makes it simple to add commissions or bonuses.

QuickBooks Payroll supports all aspects of payroll—from time entry and processing to payroll tax filings. Payroll runs like a well-oiled machine, allowing Karimi to focus on what she loves (her clients and designing) rather than complex payroll tasks.

Shopify integration: As Shahla’s main source of sales, integration with Shopify’s eCommerce site is critical. “QuickBooks breaks out the sales tax for me and helps me see what I owe to the state of New York. And if I’m hitting the threshold for New Jersey and other states.”

HR app integration made setting up benefits a snap. Seamless integration also means benefit costs are auto-deducted from employees’ paychecks. 

quote image
There's nothing I use outside of QuickBooks as far as operations. Without it, I could not do business. That’s a big statement, but it’s true, true, true!
A group of people sitting around a table with a blue vase.

The solution for businesses of all sizes

If Shahla Karimi has learned anything, it’s that she can depend on QuickBooks Online Advanced to support her business at all stages of growth. From her four-figure solo entrepreneur days (before she could even pay herself a salary) to the seven-figure company of today that she’s worked so hard to build.

“I know QuickBooks can grow with my business because it’s been at the center of operations since we were small all the way up to where we are now. And it will be with us when we become a nine-figure company.”

From invoicing, payroll processing, and tax filings to employee time tracking and integration with eCommerce and HR apps, Karimi gets it all in a single, intuitive, and scalable solution. 

She stated: “QuickBooks is really my entire ecosystem…a hub for me to run my entire business. Whether I'm in the office or on the go, it's easy for me to send out invoices, receive payments, or check the company’s financial health. I can’t overstate how much I depend on it.”

At the end of the day, Shahla Karimi has built the perfect business. One where she truly enjoys what she does: being part of people’s love stories. And throughout her journey—from a one-woman show to a “big little” business—she’s relied on QuickBooks Online Advanced every step of the way…and will continue to do so.

“I’m excited to see where QuickBooks grows with me next. What's the next thing I'm going to need? I don’t know and am not there yet, but I'm sure whatever it is, QuickBooks will have it.”

Flexible solutions for growing businesses

Get the tools you need to streamline your business and the insights to drive it forward. All in QuickBooks Online Advanced.

This content, report and materials are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, financial, investment, or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc., or its affiliates do not have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit Inc., or its affiliates do not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

QuickBooks Online Advanced Mobile: The QuickBooks Online mobile app works with iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. Devices sold separately; data plan required. Not all features are available on the mobile apps and mobile browser. QuickBooks Online mobile access is included with your QuickBooks Online subscription at no additional cost. Data access is subject to cellular/internet provider network availability and occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance and events beyond your control. Product registration required.

Connect your bank and credit cards: Online services vary by participating financial institutions or other parties and may be subject to application approval, additional terms, conditions, and fees.

QuickBooks Payments: Requires a separate QuickBooks Payments subscription. QuickBooks Payments account subject to eligibility criteria, credit and application approval. E-invoicing QuickBooks Payments is an optional fee-based service. Additional terms and conditions apply.

QuickBooks Time: Time tracking included in the QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium and Elite subscription services. Features vary. The QuickBooks Time mobile app works with iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. Devices sold separately; data plan required. Not all features are available on the mobile apps and mobile browser. Data access is subject to cellular/internet provider network availability and occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance and events beyond your control. Product registration required.

QuickBooks Online Payroll (general reference): Requires a separate QuickBooks Online Payroll subscription. Additional fees will apply. For more information about QuickBooks Online Payroll see here.

Recommended for you

Mail icon
Get the latest to your inbox
No Thanks

Get the latest to your inbox

Relevant resources to help start, run, and grow your business.

By clicking “Submit,” you agree to permit Intuit to contact you regarding QuickBooks and have read and acknowledge our Privacy Statement.

Thanks for subscribing.

Fresh business resources are headed your way!

Looking for something else?


From big jobs to small tasks, we've got your business covered.

Firm of the Future

Topical articles and news from top pros and Intuit product experts.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.