There’s a passion that drives Heather and Dave Hatton, a passion of producing a world class quality product without compromise.
Dave Hatton says he’s been a hunter and fisherman all his life. Heather has the same loves and no doubt they have spent many hours standing in cold New Zealand waters, thinking about the clothing they had on: waders. Waders are PVC nitrile gumboots attached to neoprene garments, keeping water out and warmth in. But not all waders are comfortable or well made.
Explained Dave, “We could see a gap in the market for a product that really fitted the hunter and fisherman properly. Our Kiwi Waders are not cheap, but we use very high quality neoprene, glues, tapes and bindings to produce a wader that is world class and will last.”
Expanded Heather, “It’s not just about the waders, it’s about the people who use them. Many of our clients are large companies who purchase our waders because their guys are wearing them eight to ten hours a day. Whether the garment is for commercial or private recreational use – the aim is for our waders to be as comfortable when you take them off after hours of use as when you first put them on. It may sound a little cliche, but we’re all about investing in other people’s lives.”
Currently, Kiwi Waders are mainly sold within New Zealand, but they recently had a customer from Iowa, USA, and enquiry’s from Tasmania Australia. “We’re beginning to look at export sales”, said Heather. “I’ve worked in export before, but like everything, it all comes down to price. We already have a high end product, so the trick is to add in shipping and still be affordable.”
Choosing to sit at the top end of the market, Kiwi Waders is essentially a retailer. “The discount outdoor shops want a margin that’s nearly as much as our net profit, so we only sell direct. We have our price and that’s it for both commercial and domestic markets.”
When Kiwi Waders started out, Heather jokes that they were using an abacus. “She’s more or less right”, said Dave. “It was a calculator, pen and paper – until we moved to SapphireOne.”
SapphireOne offers scaleability, from a small start up like Kiwi Waders all the way up to large Billion $ Business with thousands of employees. Even when set up as a single-user, SapphireOne offers all its functionality that many entry level packages leave out. And for a business like Kiwi Waders, it means they start with payroll, inventory and all the other components are included.
“That made SapphireOne really attractive – it did everything we needed it to do. Well, it doesn’t make our waders, but it comes close!”
Continued Heather, “I have used a range of software in my other roles, so I didn’t want to start with something, knowing we’d have to change over when we got bigger. I didn’t want to put us through any extra stress and so the luxury of using SapphireOne right from the beginning is that it will have all the answers as we grow.”
With a background in the New Zealand military and NGOs, Heather has been involved with some very sophisticated inventory and logistic packages over the past 20 years, so she knows what is possible, even if her business is not that that level yet.
“The most valuable resource we have is our time, so going with a package like SapphireOne was not a difficult decision. Honestly, how many thousands of hours will it save me when I know it is scaleable to any size? I don’t see why you’d look at anything else”, enthused Heather.
Dave isn’t big on the IT side of things, but learning from Heather as she processes the transactions – he can see how the software matches the business, not the other way around. “Sapphire One does what we need it to do – and that gives us the freedom to concentrate on running the business.”
Heather added, “We love how easy it is to raise invoices and keep an unlimited customer history as our business grows. And the bank feeds and reconciliation are a breeze.”
“We don’t have staff beyond Dave and I at the moment, but it really surprised me just how straightforward it was to run the payroll HR and then, at the end of the month, you just click on a couple of buttons and there are your figures for NZ GST. Really, it makes the administration so easy.”
Dave and Heather say SapphireOne’s support has been second to none. “Nothing is ever a problem and they get back to you swiftly – not that we’ve had a lot of problems. But when we have a query, they’ve always replied in a timely fashion with solutions and not more problems!”
In summary, for Heather and Dave, Sapphire One’s best feature is that it is easy to use. Even when it comes to some of the more tricky financial aspects of the business – Sapphire One sorts it all out.
Added Heather, “And if we do make a mistake, SapphireOne is quite forgiving, meaning there’s little effort needed to go in and fix. Some programs make changes very difficult, but things like stock adjustments are effortless in SapphireOne.
“So Sapphire One’s best feature? While ease of use is right up there, for me it’s more the fact that it can run the whole jolly company. I don’t need two computer screens and multiple spreadsheets, which is what I used to need for some other jobs.
“SapphireOne takes on the burden of doing the administration and accounts for me.”