Leather Spa

How Leather Spa Scales Business and Revenue Efficiently with Heroku

Leather Spa, a renowned name in the luxury leather repair industry, combines traditional craftsmanship with modern technology to provide exceptional repair and restoration services for shoes, bags, garments, and other leather goods. Founded over 30 years ago in New York City, Leather Spa has grown from a single cobbler shop to a sophisticated operation with multiple brick-and-mortar locations and a robust online presence. Specializing in the care of high-end leather goods, Leather Spa serves an elite clientele, including top fashion brands and customers with refined tastes worldwide.

In the early days of internet adoption, as online shopping began to take off, Leather Spa saw an opportunity to innovate. Recognizing the potential to reach a broader audience and streamline their services, they implemented an outsourced eCommerce solution. This move set the stage for Leather Spa to expand beyond their traditional brick-and-mortar operations. By leveraging new technology trends, they modernized the cobbling trade, positioning themselves to grow with the changing demands of their target audience. This forward-thinking approach allowed Leather Spa to innovate their customer experience and operational efficiency, laying the groundwork for future advancements.

Operational inefficiencies create challenges for Leather Spa

Initially, Leather Spa faced significant operational challenges that hindered their ability to scale and innovate efficiently due to the limitations of their foundational systems and processes. With a small engineering team consisting of just one in-house developer and occasional outsourced help, they struggled with fragmented business processes and scaling issues.

At first, they relied on various third-party tools that did not communicate well with each other. This led to inefficiencies as they started to scale their operations and required significant manual intervention to manage orders, customer data, and repair statuses. Employees had to manually enter customer information into UPS portals for shipping, which was time-consuming and error-prone. Managing these processes necessitated a large administrative staff, driving up costs, particularly painful in New York City where labor is expensive.

Their early point-of-sale (POS) software, developed by a third party, initially addressed some operational needs but quickly became outdated. It lacked the agility to introduce new features or efficiencies and did not support their quickly growing online sales channel. The old website, built on a flimsy content management system (CMS) and a custom server setup, also failed to scale adequately. It could not handle increasing online orders and did not provide a comprehensive view of operations, limiting Leather Spa’s ability to grow.

Furthermore, the existing systems were inflexible and made it difficult and expensive to implement new features. Processing online repair orders took an excessive amount of time, degrading the customer experience with delays and inefficiencies. The manual, resource-intensive processes led to bottlenecks, hampering operational effectiveness. Identifying and addressing these pain points was crucial for Leather Spa to streamline workflows and support business growth. Their developer decided to reimagine their approach using Heroku to simplify and take back in-house control of their systems.

Streamlining Leather Spa’s operations with Heroku

By leveraging the Heroku Platform, Leather Spa aimed to integrate their growing touchpoints, from digital business and brick-and-mortar stores to their warehouse and fulfillment services. During the onboarding phase, they set up Heroku staging and production environments as Git remotes, using a Git-based deployment process. This setup ensured a smooth and reliable deployment workflow, eliminating the need to provision or image servers, configure blue-green deployments, or manage database backups manually.

As Leather Spa's use of Heroku matured, the platform became an integral part of their daily operations. The Heroku Command Line Interface (CLI), staging and deployment previews, and Heroku Postgres extensions for managing database backups became essential tools. They deployed several website front ends using NGINX and Node.js buildpacks, while offloading burst processes to serverless functions to ensure consistent server load. Additionally, they developed custom dashboards for both internal use and for their corporate partners, providing real-time visibility into their operations and improving decision-making processes. The ability to monitor deployment logs via the Heroku dashboard and troubleshoot issues using the Heroku CLI further streamlined their operations.

Heroku's flexibility allowed Leather Spa to experiment with new features and integrations, significantly improving their efficiency and ability to experiment with new offerings. They integrated UPS for automated shipping labels, reducing manual entry errors and streamlining their shipping process. Their developer leveraged Heroku's ability to support multiple software stacks, enabling Leather Spa to maintain a monolithic backend while also deploying serverless functions and managing a custom Swift iOS application for their point-of-sale software. By centralizing their operations on Heroku, Leather Spa was able to address their previous challenges and create a cohesive, efficient system that supports both their digital and physical operations.

Heroku has been transformative for Leather Spa. It streamlined our deployment process, reduced order processing times, and improved operational efficiency. We doubled our online sales for two consecutive years and then continued to grow, all while maintaining a lean engineering team. Heroku's flexibility and powerful tools have been key to our success. Caleb Faruki, Head of Technology, Leather Spa

Leather Spa leverages Heroku to drive business scaling and innovation

Since implementing Heroku, Leather Spa addressed their biggest challenges: scaling their business with a small engineering team, improving customer experience, and streamlining operations.

Scaled business while staying nimble

Heroku’s platform allowed Leather Spa to scale their business while maintaining a lean engineering team. With just one in-house developer, Leather Spa was able to innovate and implement a range of solutions that created a ripple effect of growth across the entire company. The streamlined deployment process, facilitated by Heroku’s Git-based deployment and staging environments, enabled rapid development and iteration. This agility allowed Leather Spa to double their online sales year-over-year for two consecutive years after implementing Heroku, and their sales continued to grow annually thereafter. The ability to handle increased volume without a proportional increase in labor costs significantly boosted their revenue and business growth.

Improved customer experience

Leather Spa significantly enhanced their customer experience by implementing new digital features and offerings using Heroku. The seamless integration with UPS for automated shipping labels reduced manual entry errors and expedited the shipping process. Customers benefited from faster turnaround times, with order processing time reduced from four to five weeks to a maximum of two weeks. The unified system provided a consistent experience for both online and in-store customers, allowing them to track their orders and receive real-time updates. This streamlined customer journey improved satisfaction and garnered positive reviews, reinforcing Leather Spa’s reputation for both quality repairs and excellent service. Previously, staff couldn’t see customer history across locations or easily share information, but now, this friction has been eliminated, creating a smoother customer experience.

Optimized operations

The operational efficiency at Leather Spa improved markedly due to the streamlined processes enabled by Heroku. The custom-built admin dashboard allowed staff to manage orders more effectively, reducing the need for extensive administrative support. The integration of various third-party tools into a cohesive system eliminated the inefficiencies caused by fragmented processes. Leather Spa was able to optimize their workforce allocation, allowing their team to focus on higher-value tasks. For example, the streamlined shipping process significantly increased productivity, enabling a smaller team to handle a higher volume of orders. This efficiency gain allowed Leather Spa to focus more on core activities and less on manual, time-consuming tasks, ultimately enhancing their ability to scale and innovate. Their shipping department, which previously occupied a large portion of the factory, now processes shipments so efficiently that only a handful of racks are needed for outbound orders.

Implementing Heroku has greatly contributed to Leather Spa’s business growth. The platform enabled us to seamlessly integrate our digital and physical operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and scale efficiently. With Heroku, we reduced our order processing time and provided a consistent experience across all customer touchpoints. This operational efficiency allowed us to focus on expanding our services and exploring new market opportunities. Mirel Sedic, Director of Operations, Leather Spa

What's next for Leather Spa?

Leather Spa plans to continue leveraging Heroku’s platform to solve new and unique challenges that arise as they grow. They are excited to further innovate at the intersection of fashion and sustainability, using Heroku’s robust and versatile platform to experiment with new features and integrations. This includes deepening their use of Heroku’s data services to gain better insights into their operations and customer behavior, which will help them continuously improve their service offerings and operational efficiency.

As Leather Spa continues to expand its digital and physical footprint, they are poised to explore new markets and opportunities. Their focus on sustainability and technology positions them well to lead the industry in high-end leather repair. They are also looking forward to building more corporate partnerships, thanks to the agility and efficiency their Heroku-powered platform provides. This strategic approach will help Leather Spa attract more clients and enhance their reputation as a leader in the luxury leather repair industry. Discover more about Leather Spa and their services and partnership opportunities on their website.

Explore further:

  • Master app building, deployment, and management with Heroku's comprehensive documentation. Dive in →
  • Discover how to create and manage Heroku apps directly from the terminal with the Heroku Command Line Interface (CLI). Learn how →
  • Understand why Heroku is the choice for developers and businesses for app deployment and scalability. Explore the reasons →
  • Curious to explore what Heroku has to offer? Get started today →

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on future reliability improvements we can make, check out our public roadmap on GitHub and submit an issue!