Vender of the Week: Phillip & Lea

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Who: Phillip & Lea

Where: Trentham, Victoria, Australia

The aspirational and dedicated home cook is becoming increasingly aware of the origins and quality of the ingredients they use in their recipes. Phillip & Lea encourage them to catch, harvest, forage and/or grow as much of their own ingredients as they can. They sell a growing range of built-to-last tools and implements that aid in this endeavour, right down to the pots and pans to cook them in. Chris from Phillip & Lea takes us behind the scenes, explaining how Vend has helped them expand.

Can you tell us a little bit about how Phillip & Lea got started and what you’re all about?

Phillip & Lea retails implements and tools to the cook, the gardener, the preserver, the hunter and forager, the baker and patissier and the charcutier and salumi maker. Our ethos is that home cookery has its beginnings in the patch, field, orchard, forest, wilderness and waterway. Phillip & Lea selects its implements and tools based on the combination of materials, design, craftsmanship, aesthetic and provenance. As a result these fine tools and implements are built-to-last a lifetime of labour. Phillip & Lea is also a wholesaler. We are the distributor of Le Parfait glass jars, Sneeboer gardening tools, Mauviel cookware and Simplex copper kettles in Australia.

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What’s your local community like?

Visitors to the store are a mixture of locals and tourists from Melbourne and further a field – say 30/70. We are very well-supported by the locals in Trentham and surrounding shires.

Our first retail store was online. However, it was very difficult for customers to assess the quality of the implements and tools based solely on a product image. We then opened the brick-and-mortar store in Trentham. Now, customers have the opportunity to handle these fine implements and tools. We should all remember that assessing quality is a tactile experience.

We have big plans to improve our website in 2015 with the focus on demonstrating our ethos though knowledge and imagery. However, we ultimately feel that online success will come from opening more brick-and-mortar stores in rural communities in other states. After all, not everyone can make it to Trentham.

Is there a particular Vend feature that’s saved you time, or even money? 

Before opening a brick-and-mortar store we used Xero and Unleashed for our accounting and inventory management. It was important that we had a POS system that could integrate to the latter systems. Currently we are integrating the systems via file import / export functionality and direct integration. This works very well while we are loading the Vend sales history into Unleashed.

Lastly, do you have any advice for new retailers?

If you’re using more than one system make sure they can all be integrated. Make sure you have your systems and procedures sorted before you open your doors for the first time. I regret not following this advice: reduced back office effort will allow you more time to spend on your customers.

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– Chris Mauger, Head Shopkeeper, Phillip & Lea

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About Lorilynn McCorrister

Lorilynn is Vend’s Community Manager and resident music buff. Before joining Vend, Lorilynn worked in the music industry as a social media and artist manager. She loves writing, traveling, checking out live music, and, of course, communicating with Vend’s awesome group of retailers, partners and friends. You can get in touch with Lorilynn on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.