Vender of the Week: BIY Homebrew


Who: BIY (Brew It Yourself) Homebrew

Where: Marion, Iowa

BIY Homebrew hasn’t been on the scene long, but they’re already making quite the impression amongst beer-crafters, wine connoisseurs, cheese lovers and kombucha brewers world-wide. Armed with everything you’d ever need to ‘brew it yourself’, the team at BIY are out for world domination with their tasty offerings and we, for one, are definitely not complaining.

How’d you get started, and what brought you and Vend together?

BIY started almost exactly 1.5 years ago (opened Cinco de Mayo of 2012 – how appropriate for a homebrew shop, eh?) with the goal to become the area’s leading home brewing and wine making supply store. In just that short amount of time, we’ve maxed out our retail space with inventory, grown a very large base of customers both locally and internationally, and have continued to expand our selection and specialty inventory each month.

This is why at the end of 2013 we were looking for a better, more expansion-oriented solution for our old school cash register. I found Vend amongst the sea of potential POS systems, and we decided it was the right fit for us for numerous reasons – the ease of use, the “cloud” inventory system, the ability to link up to e-commerce platforms, and the ability to add on store locations quickly and easily. I was looking for something that would be fairly simple to set up, very easy to grow with, and extremely easy to use on a day-to-day basis, and Vend nailed it on the head for us.


Do you have any tips for new retailers?

My advice for any new retailers is to really think about the need for what you have to offer in your area, and make sure the location you pick to set up your shop in is ready for what you have to provide. In our area, I’ve seen several small shops set up, barely scrape through a year, and then close. I have a feeling that if they had taken a good look at the demographics and socioeconomic cues of the region, they might have been more ready to handle their business. Once you’re feeling that your business could realistically work where you want to put it, then be prepared to work your tail off and make it happen. Lots of things will get in your way, but you have to find a way to deal with them and carry on!  Work hard and make it happen. Then go home and have a good home brewed beer to cap the day off!

What would be your words of wisdom for new Venders?

My best bit of advice for new Venders, especially new business owners who will have larger inventories, would be to make sure you set up products in Vend correctly the FIRST time, rather than having to go back and fiddle with things over and over again. For example – we have a huge inventory (over 1,050 individual products (SKU’s)) so I thought it would be best to get Vend running with just the name, SKU, Cost, Price, and inventory count to make setup quicker. I THEN decided to transfer our online store from an open-source solution over to Shopify… What this meant was that I had to go back into Vend, enter all the product descriptions, size and upload all the product photos one by one.

If I would have taken into consideration the switch to Shopify at the start, I could have set up our initial product import into Vend completely the first time – thus eliminating the need to add then edit while our shop was “live” in Vend. Vend makes it excessively easy to import products, so I don’t know why I didn’t just enter everything the first time so that it was immediately ready to link up with other apps and solutions. That would have been a real time saver! If a new Vender doesn’t have a large inventory or doesn’t need something like Shopify to run their online storefront – then I don’t really have any groundbreaking advice to give. Vend makes it so easy to handle products, inventory, orders, and reports, it can’t really get much easier.

– Joseph Williams, Founder and  Zymurgy Zealot, BIY Homebrew Supply LLC

Do you have an awesome success story that’ll help other Venders to win too? Share it with Grace and the 8,000-strong Vend community.


About Grace O'Hara

Grace is a Marketing Assistant at Vend and helps make cool things happen behind the scenes. She enjoys talking to incredible Vend retailers from around the world and making the world a better place with her side projects. You can get in touch with Grace by email or connect with her on Google+.