“Starting with the very basics, the core product is actually brilliant. That’s where we started. I’m a big advocate of getting to know the NetSuite way and staying within the NetSuite box. Not putting a square peg into a round hole. Not trying to make NetSuite do what your old system did. Because you’re moving away from that for a reason”.

–  Sarah Rynja, Global Systems Manager at Grace Love Lace

I’m sharing my third interview from the NetSuite conference. I spoke with a Global Systems Manager consultant who works in a bridal gown business using NetSuite.

During SuiteWorld 2023 I had the opportunity to speak with several businesses, CFOs, and CTOs who were using NetSuite in the business they worked in. They were all gushing with praise for the solution, and keen to tell me what a successful business they had. I think speaking with someone working within a business complements the other interviews I shared with you.

In this interview, I’m speaking with Sarah Rynja, Global Systems Manager of Grace Loves Lace

In this episode, we talk about . . .

– Grace Loves Lace was founded in Burleigh Heads, Australia to provide luxury boho-style wedding dresses without structure or boning

– They have gained global recognition through their unique dress styles and have are #1 on Pinterest for “wedding”.

– Grace Loves Lace manufactures all their custom-made dresses locally in Australia

– They implemented NetSuite to help scale their growing operations across stores in multiple countries  

– Key NetSuite features like WMS, dashboards, and OneWorld help with inventory, order tracking, financials, and multi-country operations

– Sarah’s Tips for optimally using NetSuite included leveraging dashboards operationally and getting involved in the NetSuite user community

Summary of the interview

  • Career, marriage, and business evolution with Sarah Rynja from Australia.
    • Sarah shares the story behind Grace Loves Lace, a NetSuite consulting business based on the Gold Coast, Australia.
  • Luxury bridal boho dresses and brand origins.
    • Grace Loves Lace created luxury bridal boho dresses without structure or boning, personalised experiences in Burleigh Heads.
  • NetSuite implementation for Grace Lovelace, a fashion brand.
    • Grace Loves Lace doubled their showrooms and workforce during COVID-19, scaling their business with NetSuite.
    • Implementing NetSuite requires starting with the finances to ensure a strong foundation.
  • NetSuite implementation for a wedding dress manufacturer.
    • NetSuite’s core product is brilliant, with many components and modules for Grace Loves Lace operations.
    • Customising gowns for each client, managing inventory, and navigating Australian tax laws.
  • Managing finances in the wedding industry.
    • Discussesing unique challenges in the bridal industry, including changing tracking and cookies, and the impact of COVID on wedding dress sales.
    • Sarah discusses leveraging NetSuite’s dashboards and features to streamline supply chain operations.
  • NetSuite user group, AI, and operational efficiency.
    • The importance of making dashboards user-friendly and engaging, even incorporating personal interests like Avengers characters, to improve NetSuite adoption and knowledge sharing within the organisation.
    • Encouraging accountants and bookkeepers considering a career as an integrator to start exploring NetSuite user groups and meetups to learn from others and share knowledge.
    • The NetSuite user group on LinkedIn (search for GOLD COAST NetSuite User Group on LinkedIn), sharing information and events with members globally.
    • The potential of AI within NetSuite, but wonders where it will focus its core product offerings.

Can you share with our listeners, who you are, what you do and where you’re from?

Sarah:                       My name is Sarah Rynja. I’m from the Gold Coast in Australia. I currently work with Grace Loves Lace, and I’m a consultant throughout the NetSuite ecosystem and have been for over 10 years now. We’re in a very happy marriage.

Can you share the story behind Grace Loves Lace and its global recognition.

Sarah:                          I think just because the dresses are so different. Like I said, there’s no boning, there’s no structure. Our marketing team, of course, do an absolutely amazing job. But they just tend to speak for themselves. And we have such a big following on Pinterest. Our brides pin dresses, all sorts of dresses for years and years before their beautiful day. And we have the number one pink dress in the world.

Heather:                      Oh, okay. So you have the number one Pinterest in wedding dresses or just in Pinterest in “wedding”?

Sarah:                          Yeah. Oh, wedding wedding.

Heather:                      Oh, sensational. Congratulations. That’s a phenomenal achievement. I’m not in the Pinterest world. So I was unaware of that. In my research of your company and your organisation.

How did you decide that NetSuite was the right fit for Grace Loves Lace?

Sarah:                         Well, at Grace when they went on to NetSuite, I wasn’t with the company at that point. But like most businesses, they’re really looking at scaling. And having a consolidated platform is absolutely critical for that, especially manufacturing. So Grace, obviously manufactures all of theirs in Burleigh in our factory. So to have an end to end solution, as opposed to three or four different solutions to handle the finances, the inventory, the supply and demand planning. And then the manufacturing of the dresses. We went from being able to hand make the dresses, you know, passing around paper, to having to get a lot more sophisticated. So just a few years ago, we in COVID, no less we grew, we doubled our showrooms by 11 in 12 months, and survived all of us. We also doubled our workforce in that time. And NetSuite helped us scale considerably because we had that in place as opposed to several different systems and Excel worksheets.

Heather:                      Wow, that’s very impressive. So you’re manufacturing, the clothes in Burleigh Heads.

Sarah:                          Yeah.

Heather:                      That’s really impressive. It’s always look Australia’s not a country that naturally manufactures anything. So it’s always exciting to hear something actually being manufactured locally. So congratulations on that thing.

Sarah:                          It makes us very brand proud. And you know, anyone that sees our our factory, our production studio in Burleigh Heads, it’s separate to our head office is always very impressed. Because, you know, there’s a lot of love that gets touched with every dress right in into our dispatch team.

Heather:                      So you weren’t involved in the actual implementation of NetSuite. I believe at Grace Love Lace. I think that’s what you said to me.

Are you familiar with implementing NetSuite?

Sarah:                         Absolutely. I’ve done several implementations. And in fact, I have a finance background myself. I was acting finance manager for a particular service, subscription based company. And that was my first implementation and introduction to NetSuite. And with fresh eyes, as a brand new implementation, again, going from the standard, several solutions and rolling it into one. I’m a bit biassed. But having that finance background, I can categorically say you need to start the bones from the finances.

Heather:                    Yeah, as an accounting degree owner myself as well,  I know.

Sarah:                        I’m a little bit biased, but I’ve seen it done in other way. Again, I came in for a bit of a rescue mission post implementation. And it was clear that finance was not the backbone of the architecture. And therefore the report outputting was absolutely horrendous. So really, really critical.

Heather:                   Yeah, no, absolutely. And looking. It’s interesting, because NetSuite has a lot of components. And we’re here at SuiteWorld 2023, has a lot of components. We’re seeing a lot of demonstrations about how they can be used, and how you can reengage customers and reengage them. But hopefully you’re not re engaging your company, because hopefully the wedding is lasting forever.

Sarah:                      Exactly. Customer retention is not our goal. To kindly not see you again, or would love to see your friend and family. Sure. But yeah, we always sourcing new brides into our, you know, Grace family,

Heather:                   Such a challenge for the wedding industry.

Sarah:                      Yeah. Our marketing team is amazing, especially with the current challenges around cookies and all of that business, and what’s going on in that market. So they’re always up on challenges and algorithm changes to reach out to our brides and track them.

Heather:                  Yeah, absolutely.

What features of NetSuite do you use? Do you leverage? And what are the most beneficial for Grace Loves Lace operations?

Sarah:                      Like you said, Heather, there are a lot of components, a lot of add ons, a lot of modules, a lot of suite apps and STNs. Starting with the very basics, the core product is actually brilliant. So that’s where we started. And I’m a big advocate in getting to know the NetSuite way and staying within the NetSuite box not putting a square peg into a round hole. So not trying to make NetSuite do what your old system did, you’re moving away from that for a reason, a very good reason, usually. Learn the NetSuite way is very intuitive when you do. Don’t over customise it. Because it’s particularly with the bones of the finances and all of the finance functions, the CRM functions that come standard and even the basic inventory really work well together and do all the right things. And then when you start adding modules, so being a manufacturer, we have WMS, the manufacturing, and warehouse management. Then critical to making the dress we have the whip and routings feature, which not a lot of people have installed, but it allows us to track exactly where your dresses up in every step of the way. So whether that’s creating your pattern, or cutting the material for your dress, or if it’s with the sewing so we can track every step of that dress.

Do you specialise in unique, customised wedding dresses?

Sarah:                     Yep.

Heather:                 Wow. Wow.

Sarah:                     We do have really to wear and customise standard gowns that we have that are a full size. So if you’re a small over medium, etc. But one of our core parts of our businesses customised gowns. So we take your measurements, and we size it to your range. So you might be a medium based on your measurement range on top and you might be a large on the bottom, and we’ll make your dress for you. And you might be a little shorter. So we take it up a few inches. We set up the mannequins to actually put your dress on to your measurements and and know how your dress is fitting.

Heather:                 So being an Australian based business, you are navigating Australian tax.

Are you running all of your Australian-based business taxes through your NetSuite solution as well?

Sarah:                    Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve got the OneWorld solution, which is a multi subsidiary multi currency. Because we have global stores. We operate all over the world delivered to 180 countries. But we have a subsidiary structure that allows us to transact in the different countries, particularly where we have stores. So in the UK, Canada, and very much in the US, as well as, of course, Australia, and so we’re able to settle and control our money in those regions and bring it down when the effects rate is great. But at the same time using OneWorld, we can consolidate and see where we’re sitting in the core currency, which for us is Australian dollars.

Heather:                And you’re reporting I presume BAS, and those sorts of things.

Sarah:                    Absolutely. Tax compliant, always in audit. Depending on the country, yeah. Finance team.

Heather:                Yeah. No, it’s good to know that because people are listening in thinking, okay, am I doing that? And the solution is, everything’s going through the solution.

What are the unique challenges facing a business in the bridal or wedding industry?

Sarah:                    No, no. We rarely have Bridezillas. And I’m not just saying that. We do have a beautiful Grace experience. And our biggest thing lending on mixed experience was, we have a very tailored and very personalised customer journey. And we take it very, very seriously. So you’re not just another number for us. But I think one of the biggest challenges in the bridal and frankly, in the retail industry is the changing, it’s the tracking, it’s the cookies. So particularly if you’re sourcing new clients, like we are. So we don’t have subscriptions and reviews and all of these loyalty programmes to lend on. That’s definitely an issue. And I think currently, people are spending on travel in a post COVID world. They bought all of our dresses in COVID. So it’s the year of the wedding, but not the wedding dress, so to speak. It’s a year of travel and weddings, of wearing the gowns. So we’re just coming out of that and really seeing that change now, but that’s been a very interesting trend of the last say year and a half.

Heather:                Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah. Just thinking. My son got engaged. Oh, six months ago, and no wedding is planned. But lots and lots of travel is planned.

Sarah:                   Yeah, definitely.

Heather:                So he’s following your trend.

Sarah:                   But we’re very grateful the supply chain has leveraged. I don’t know, everybody in retail, you know, had supply chain issues, sometimes shipping, either inbound or outbound.

Heather:               Yeah, absolutely. So we’re here at SuiteWorld ’23.

What’s something that you’ve come across in SuiteWorld ’23 that you’re going to take away with you and implement when you get that?

Sarah:                  Yeah, well, there’s a lot of tracks some of the admin tracks. And again, going back to basics, even one that I spoke in. We lean on a playable basics of, again, working within the system, getting to know NetSuite. Knowing when to customise it. Also, when to drive operationally, it’s features like the dashboards just being biased, because that was my session. But also a lot of the new features like the being able to have API capture, the bill capture module on its own now. Particularly in Australia, where the module that was paired with wasn’t quite ready for us yet.

Heather:               Yeah.

Sarah:                   But the bill capture was, it’s great to be able to have that for our API people.

Heather:               Excellent.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your session yesterday?

Sarah:                  Yeah, absolutely. So we really did a deep dive into dashboards and tries on my own. I lead with making them cool. Again, everyone talks about dashboards, and particularly in controller situations, executives, a lot of people are focused on that, which is great. They need the KPIs and the metrics and all the figures. And that’s fun. But I and my partner’s spoke to that I really spoke about how you can use dashboards operationally, to break down the department silos and follow the order process, build your customer journey, just as architecturally, as a system architect, build your customer journey in NetSuite on dashboards. So for example, when a sales order comes in from Shopify, we have defaulting, particularly things like custom fields and status. Now, once one department checks that order, they change the status, it falls off their dashboard, it goes immediately to the production Dashboard. Once they’ve built the JSON file, sent that along, and you can use highlighting to know hey, this winning date is coming up. It’s very important to us to deliver well ahead of time, right through to dispatch. So it’s not just about metrics, it’s it’s usable things and adding exception tallies and stuff onto those dashboards. I’ve even built a knowledge base within NetSuite. So whilst NetSuite help is great, there’s usually customizations and things to your business and some people in the business won’t go and search for help they want to really in front of their face. So I built a custom tab and custom links to our own knowledge base, where they can access and that helps with onboarding. So one of operational stuff like that, that you can use, making dashboards cool, even colour coding. I’m a big one one for making it fun. The navigation portlet for example, it looks very sophisticated out of the box, but you can go and change those icons to anything being on brand. I’ve trying to sum to Avengers characters to holiday characters just to make it really engaging. So as an administrator, you can have a bit of fun with it.

Heather:                I fully encourage embracing fun while at work.

For our accountants and bookkeepers who are contemplating becoming an integrator, what would you suggest they start exploring? Do you organise a meetup on the Gold Coast?

Sarah:                   Yes, I’ve just started a user group. We have a great user group in Brisbane. And it’s great. Meet up, and I’m just starting one in the Gold Coast. And obviously, everyone’s welcome from Brisbane and Gold Coast interchangeably. They’ll both have very different feels about them. But I’m a big one, for knowledge sharing. We’re all here. NetSuite is a beast in all the good ways. And I don’t think there’s one person on this planet who would know everything about NetSuite. And there is so much knowledge that can be shared, you know, inside of these sort of SuiteWorld and Suite Connect worlds, but also from a daily basis. So I think it’s really important that we can just Network and Sharing, Hey, did you know this was a thing? Great. Let me show you how and just help each other out.

How do our listeners connect with the NetSuite and your user group?

Sarah:                   So there’s a LinkedIn group. So you can go to my LinkedIn profile. So Sarah Rynja thanks to my Dutch heritage, there’s only one of me. And there’s a link to the group there to the Gold Coast.

Heather:               Okay, sensational. So for our listeners who are listening in, there is a user group in the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. I’m sure there’s probably user groups in your location as well. But worth joining the LinkedIn group, because that’s online and doesn’t matter where you are.

Sarah:                   Absolutely. On LinkedIn, there is a NetSuite user group simply named and that is everyone globally seems to jump on there. And there’s a lot of information shared there.

Heather:               Fantastic.

Sarah:                  Whereas the more localised group we share what events are coming up and things like that.

Heather:               Yeah, no, it’s always always useful to do that. Look. Another question. There has been a lot of talk about AI at the conference. And they’re going to be using here to have generative text within the platform.

Have you envisaged how AI that will help you?

Sarah:                   I think AI has been a big question mark for all of us. Particularly as old axe at NetSuite and wondering which direction NetSuite would go with that as part of their core product. Are they going to face a focus on manufacturing on analytics? Analytics is an obvious one, because it’s already happening within their analytics systems. So it’s quite interesting to see things like the bill capture, pop up. And I’d like to see where it’s all emerging to. So it’s great to be able to attend those sessions and see where it’s headed.

Heather:               Excellent. I look forward to finding out next year. Well, how you use them.

Sarah:                   Yeah, absolutely.

Heather:               Because it’s very exciting and very new. Thank you so much for speaking to us on the Cloud Stories podcast.

How can our listeners get in contact with you?

Sarah:                   Yeah, thanks for having me here though. It’s it’s been lovely. LinkedIn, definitely Sarah Rynja or you can email Sarah at Opalsuitesolutions.com.

Heather:               Awesome. And how can they find Grace Loves Lace?

Sarah:                   We’re everywhere. Checked out the Instagram.

Heather:             And Pinterest.

Sarah:                  Facebook as well. But Instagram is great way.

Heather:              Thank you so much. Excellent.

Sarah:                  Thank you so much.