Soon after founding artisan cookware company Made In, Co-founder and CEO Chip Malt discovered the massive opportunity - and complexity - inherent in cross-border commerce.
“We spent a lot of time developing artisan products with craftsmen throughout Italy, France and the United States; there’s natural global demand for that sort of supply chain,” recounts Malt. “Something like our fourth sale was to Singapore, but fulfilling that order was a terribly painful process.”
As a young, growing business, Made In lacked the resources and experience to effectively manage cross-border; the team was burning countless hours on research and paperwork; inaccurate tax and duty calculations were causing customer complaints; fulfillment on most orders was slow and costly.
“There was clear demand, but it was also clear that cross-border was an issue for our business,” says Malt. “As a direct, digitally-native company, your advantage is your customer experience. It has to be better than retail. For us, cross-border wasn’t.”
Bogged down by complexity and concerned by the growing frustration from international customers, Made In sought a cross-border partner that would help it better serve global consumers while maintaining a focus on its core business.
- Newly launched company without the resources or experience to effectively manage cross-border.
- International fulfillment was costly and time- consuming and created a poor experience for customers.
- Inaccurate tax and duty calculations led to unhappy customers and high refusal rates.
- Lack of confidence in cross-border operations caused hesitation around expansion.
- End-to-end global fulfillment and returns with faster, cheaper shipping options.
- Instant and accurate tax and duty calculations, including display options at checkout.
- Localized currency and payment options to reduce friction for global consumers.
- Rapid and confident international expansion guided by Flow’s global expertise.
The team is really excited about the potential here. I mean, we’re three years old and we’re shipping all over the world. It’s exciting and empowering to know that our story is resonating and that this can actually be a global brand. There’s no empirical way to measure just how valuable that is for us, psychologically.
– Chip Malt, Co-founder and CEO at Made In
Within two years of partnering with Flow, Made In was able to grow its young, domestic business into an international brand spanning multiple continents. By tapping into nascent global demand, Made In has accelerated revenue growth and positioned itself more competitively in the market, all without diverting attention from its primary focus: developing world-class cookware.
Early on, Made In leadership was hesitant to sell internationally so soon after launching the company. In the end, going global was the best decision they could have made for the business.
“It was a chicken-or-the-egg conversation; we knew we wanted to be global, but when?” Malt recalls. “It was so early that it really took a leap of faith to get started. But the results speak for themselves...if we could do it all again, we’d have started sooner.”
Within two years of launching, Made In was able to expand its addressable market beyond its domestic roots to over 69 different countries, leading to faster revenue growth and a more resilient, competitive market position.
“The work involved in managing the day-to-day details of cross-border fulfillment, especially as a small team, was a nightmare,” says Malt. “It took hours out of our day to figure out and we hated doing it.”
Now, thanks to Flow’s global logistics offering, Made In enjoys all of the upside on international orders with none of the responsibility or risk. By leveragingFlow’s carrier network and rate cards, the brand can offer shipping rates and delivery times to international customers that are comparable to its domestic offering. Plus, because Flow is the acting Merchant of Record on such orders, Made In is free of the legal and administrative burden of maintaining compliance with global regulations.
Accurate Tax & Duty Calculations
Before working with Flow, Made In was attempting to manage cross-border sales on its own with a series of point-solutions that were not up to the task. Case in point: tax and duty calculations. The brand was consistently fielding customer complaints about inaccurate calculations, which led to unhappy customers and high rates of package refusals.
“Selling into Canada turned out to be super confusing for us,” recalls Malt. “Each province has its own tax rate depending on the product type. We had trouble estimating taxes and duties accurately, which led to a lot of additional fees for our customers and a lot of support tickets for us.”
Localized Currency & Payments
“Localization of currency and payment types was a massive unlock for us,” indicates Malt. “We had so much going on as an early-stage startup, we just didn’t want to figure them out for ourselves.”
With Flow, Made In got instant access to over 100 global payment methods and currencies. The company was able to reduce friction at checkout and open its catalog to consumers from all over the world, resulting in more sales and happier customers. What’s more, Made In can now experiment with different pricing strategies by testing variables around currency displays, rounding rules, margins and more. Flow even supports localized price promotions.
Launching with Global Ambitions
Like many online brands launching today, Made In discovered that demand for its products was not constrained to any one, “domestic” market. Modern e-commerce companies are inherently global and have an opportunity to launch with global ambitions.
Today, Made In’s world-class products, backed by Flow’s support and strategic guidance, are fast becoming a global standard in cookware. To a team filled with pride for what they do, that means everything.