Lauren and Elena are two young entrepreneurs with an iced tea empire in the making. Their rapidly growing small business, Those Girls, uses their shared passion for unique flavour combinations to create delicious iced teas. If you haven’t seen them popping up at festivals and markets across Victoria, you will definitely recognise them from their successful pitch on Shark Tank Australia.
With customers carrying cash on them less and less, Those Girls took it upon themselves to find a simple tool that empowers them to accept any payment which comes across the counter. Enter Square Reader—the smallest, most mobile and most affordable card payment reader available, meaning they can now accept credit or debit cards directly from their smartphones. Running a small (but powerful) mobile point-of-sale simplified their counter-facing business operations, and by integrating their Xero account with Square they could automatically import, summarise and populate every day’s transactions to the appropriate account to Xero’s general ledger. A once tedious process – now simplified, thanks to Xero and Square.
The team at Square caught up with Lauren and Elena over cool beverage to talk tea, tips and how they’re leveraging the Square and Xero integration to run their business smarter.
Why iced tea?
We had our light bulb moment one day in December 2013. We were sipping our delicious home-brewed chai lattes and we thought, “Why aren’t we selling these?” We saw an opportunity there to start an ice tea range, a product that would be in demand on a hot summer’s day. Plus no one else was doing it at the time. So from there, we put our butts into the air and started recipe trials, and the rest is history.
You trade at a lot of events. What’s been your favourite?
We absolutely love being at the night markets around Melbourne. Our two favourites are the Queen Victoria Night Market and South Melbourne Night Market. Being at the night markets is a great way to connect and communicate with our customers and get valuable feedback on our products. There are always so many great local products and performers that it’s impossible not to have a good time.
You’ve used social media as a key channel to grow a loyal fan base. How has this helped grow your business?
Social media is a great way to communicate with our followers about what events we will be at and the new products we are launching. It makes us really happy when people try our iced teas and hot apple cider and love it enough to post photos or blog about it. Plus it’s a fun way to spread the word about great products, as people generally only post about positive experiences. We have just started using Periscope too, so keep an eye out for us!
Your business model is incredibly hands-on for you both. How do you manage the workload?
We won’t lie, it is challenging. But what makes it possible is that we really love what we do and we are ridiculously passionate about it. Plus, we have learnt to get by with very little sleep.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone who is about to set up their own small business?
Prepare to work hard — really hard. There’ll be a lot of laughter and a lot of tears along the way, so don’t forget to keep smiling or you will miss out on making a lot of priceless memories.
Prior to Square, you didn’t accept card payments or used a point-of-sale. Why now?
We’ve never accepted card payments before Square came along. It was never worth the time or effort or money for us to go and invest into cashless transaction. Square offered a system that was easy to set up, didn’t cost us anything upfront, we saw an opportunity and we took it. It’s been great since then and it means we never have to say no to a sale, and in small business, that’s huge.
How is the Square and Xero integration helping you?
The main benefit we have seen through using Square and Xero integration is the reduced amount of time needed for managing our sales data. It’s helped us create a streamlined process for our bookkeeper, and that means we’re more confident in recording our sales during busy times! It’s allowed us to expand, and to act like a more professional business as well.
What are you most excited for in the future?
We are incredibly excited to launch our wholesale range of iced tea mixers and hot apple cider. We have worked really hard to create a product that has the same great taste and quality yet is convenient for cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs and venues to use. We can’t wait to share the love with more Australians and make our products more readily available.
Xero and Square work together, syncing sales and business data seamlessly from point of sale to accounting to make business easier for sellers around Australia. Learn more about how you can integrate your new Square account with Xero.
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