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September 14, 2023

Overhead view of Dressed in LaLa warehouse mid-transition

Few businesses start out knowing all the tricks of their trade. They learn on the go and figure things out. New challenges mean new solutions. But sometimes, you need a little outside help to help you figure out how to handle a challenge you never really anticipated.

At Hoj Innovations, we take pride in transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Our journey with Dressed in LaLa was a remarkable collaboration that redefined efficiency, organization, and operational excellence. 

From the initial consultation to the final execution, here's a glimpse into how we partnered with Dressed in LaLa to revolutionize their warehouse and enhance their business.

Crafting a Vision: A Collaborative Beginning

Our partnership with Dressed in LaLa began with a shared vision: to optimize their warehouse operations while seamlessly integrating changes without disrupting their ongoing processes. We understood their critical need to strategize a step-by-step approach, considering their constant influx of orders that required uninterrupted fulfillment.

“So this is an interesting story. I had been here for about six months and it was very clear to me right away that we needed some kind of help. We needed a path forward to get from chaos to organization,” Dressed In LaLa’s Paula Nelson-Hart said. “And so I brought my brother-in-law in and had him walk through the warehouse with me. The first thing he said was, ‘you have to find a way to get all of these bins more organized,’ he was preaching to the choir.”

Taking advantage of experience and networking, that brother-in-law had a brother who happened to work for Hoj Innovations and it was an easy connection to make. Hoj’s Robert Lyon scheduled a visit to the Dressed In LaLa warehouse and the wheels of innovation started turning.

Designing with Purpose: Custom Solutions

Image of Dressed in LaLa studio with fashionable hats, shoes and accessories for photo shoots.

Dressed in LaLa was operating well, selling and shipping a lot of product and growing as a business. The problem is that they had run out of floor space in their small warehouse and were essentially using a ground-level fulfillment system with a handful of shelves from Costco and pallets of product spreading in every direction.

Without a spare warehouse to take advantage of and with hundreds of orders coming in everyday, Dressed In LaLa didn’t have the space or the time to pack up everything into storage units and close up the shop for a week while waiting for a proper warehouse installation.

Dressed In LaLa needed a solution as creative as their fashion designs and Hoj Innovations was ready for the challenge.

“When we met with Paula last year they were completely out of space” Hoj Innovations’ Robert Lyon said.” And so they asked us to come and do some logistical work, see if we can help them analyze their facility. The first thing we looked at is how we could reorganize the pick path, as well as how we could take them vertical.”

Creating a warehouse that aligns with the brand's unique requirements was our top priority. We conducted thorough consultations to deeply understand Dressed in LaLa's challenges, needs, and growth aspirations. Armed with this insight, we crafted a customized design that maximized storage potential, order fulfillment speed, and overall efficiency. 

Methodical Implementation: Executing the Plan

Overhead image of Dressed in LaLa fulfillment center with new pallet racking and shelves.

Our commitment to excellence manifested during the implementation phase. Without the luxury of working on a blank canvas, Hoj Innovations meticulously carried out the installation of pallet racks in stages, ensuring that Dressed in LaLa's operations remained minimally affected. 

“They came in and we did this in a few different steps because we had orders coming in. We couldn't hold operations completely,” Nelson-Hart said. 

“So when we started out and they came in, we moved some of our stuff over to one half of the warehouse. They brought in their people after hours and put up half of the shelves.”

Space was even more cramped, but operations and fulfillment remained active. No orders were delayed in shipping. The next day, Dressed In LaLa got back to work, but on the other side of their warehouse.

“We moved over to the other shelves, and then they came in and finished up overnight after we all went home.”

The careful orchestration of each step allowed us to seamlessly transition their inventory while maintaining a high level of operational continuity. “It has literally been life changing for us,” Nelson-Hart said.

A Catalyst for Change: The Transformation Unveiled

Key to the transformation of the Dressed In LaLa warehouse and fulfillment center was simply to look up. The existing warehouse had plenty of space left, but none of that was on the floor. Instead, Hoj Innovations got vertical in its solution.

By installing multi-level pallet racks and utilizing bin storage on lower shelves, while reserving the upper shelving space for case packs, all inventory was sorted and pickable in their own, individually labeled bins - identified by SKUs and within easy reach.

“Oh, it's, been really dramatic because we started being far more thoughtful about how things were on the shelves,” Nelson-Hart said. 

“We've been able to have bins full of single SKUs instead of having multiple SKUs in a single bin. That way as our pickers are going through the shelves, they can grab and go pretty quickly. Our efficiency rate has, I would say, doubled from what we were before.”

Being able to pick and pack twice as many orders in the same amount of time has proven to be a huge time-saver, but also a revenue enhancer. 

At a time when new employees are hard to find, being able to ship the same number of order in half the time has meant not having to add new employees or a swing shift crew. 

Witnessing the transformation unfold was a moment of pride for us. The strategic placement of shelves, the alignment of products, and the seamless accessibility of items on higher racks all came together to redefine how Dressed In LaLa operated within its warehouse space. 

The enhanced organization led to a surge in efficiency, empowering their team to fulfill orders faster than ever before.

From Partners to Innovators: Our Approach

Image of Dressed in LaLa employee packing orders for shipping.

The Hoj Innovations philosophy is rooted in collaboration and innovation. We believe in not only delivering solutions but also fostering relationships. 

Our partnership with Dressed In LaLa wasn't just about selling a service; it was about listening, understanding, and then devising solutions that aligned with their unique challenges and aspirations.

Hoj’s Vice President of Innovation, Robert Lyon, stayed involved from Day One through completion. Lyon’s decades of experience made a quick impression and impact on the entire process. 

“As I walked through the warehouse with Robert the first time, it was really clear that he knew exactly what we needed,” Nelson-Hart said. 

“When they brought the plans back to us, it was everything we had asked for and more. They were partners with us all the way. I didn't ever feel like they were trying to upsell us something. They were just trying to help us get to the next level where we needed to be.” 

Embracing Challenges: Overcoming Obstacles

Every project comes with its challenges, and our collaboration with Dressed In LaLa was no exception. From maximizing storage within limited space to ensuring seamless integration of new systems, we approached each challenge as an opportunity to innovate. 

Our expertise, combined with a relentless pursuit of solutions, allowed us to overcome hurdles and deliver results that exceeded expectations.

Case in point, figuring out how to access cases and boxes in the higher shelves. Because of the relatively small warehouse, Hoj’s installation included several rows of pallet racking with minimal space between rows. Traditional forklifts wouldn’t fit and, frankly, wouldn’t be able to reach the upper shelves.

To remedy this challenge, Hoj Innovations sold a Joey from Big Joe. The Joey is a small-footprint inventory picking solution with a high reach, minimal turn radius and a pick-friendly user design.

“Oh, the Joey has been a godsend,” Nelson-Hart said. 

“The Joey is - One: it's easy to use. Two: it's safe. So the employees that I have going up in it, I feel good about the fact that they're going up and it helps us maximize the use of the space. We used to have the big rolling tall ladders that took up so much space in the warehouse, and now they just take the joey up and we can work off of all the shelves.”

A Measurable Impact: Defining Success

Screen capture image of Dressed in LaLa webpage with models wearing available outfits.

Success is quantifiable, and our partnership with Dressed In LaLa yielded impressive results. Increased storage capacity, reduced order fulfillment time, and heightened employee efficiency were metrics that underscored the positive impact of our collaboration. These tangible improvements showcased how a thoughtfully designed warehouse can catalyze growth.

“Oh, it's, it's dramatic. We don't have the manpower to manipulate pallets and things like that here on the floor,” Nelson-Hart said. “A forklift with our space is limited, so we needed to be able to maximize every last inch. And so by changing and designing the pick bins to fit the shelves, we've been able to maximize literally every last bit.”

The re-imagined shelving and storage patterns turned quick fulfillment processes into fast fulfillment processes with dramatic reductions in errors and returns.

Legacy of Transformation: Looking Forward

The Dressed In LaLa warehouse transformation is more than just a project for Hoj Innovations; it's a commitment to positive change. 

As a young and growing company, Dressed In LaLa placed a priority on not overextending its infrastructure and growing upward. Implementing more efficient procedures ensured just that.

As we continue to witness their streamlined operations and empowered workforce, we take pride in knowing that our expertise played a role in their journey. The ripple effects of this transformation extend beyond the warehouse walls, leaving an indelible mark on their entire business ecosystem.

A Testament to Partnership: Our Gratitude

Dressed in LaLa's Paula Nelson-Hart standing in the company's new warehouse and fulfillment center.

As we reflect on our partnership with Dressed in LaLa, we extend our gratitude for the trust they placed in us. Our journey was characterized by open communication, shared goals, and a commitment to pushing boundaries. Their success is a testament to their dedication, our expertise, and the potential of collaborative innovation.

Lyon said the design and installation leave ample room for additional growth in the near future. 

“We began to rearrange all the racking and shelving, which was only eight feet tall,” Lyon said. “Now they can store completely all the way to the ceiling. That eliminated a lot of containers that they had to have in their parking lot facility.”

In a nutshell, Dressed In LaLa was able to increase their inventory capacity by more than double in the same space while improving pick and ship times dramatically with extra space ready to go as the business grows.

Conclusion

Our collaboration with Dressed in LaLa stands as a testament to the power of design, innovation, and partnership. We're not just in the business of transforming spaces; we're in the business of transforming businesses. 

The journey from conceptualization to execution was marked by determination, expertise, and a shared commitment to excellence. Through this transformative experience, Dressed in LaLa has embraced a new era of efficiency, organization, and growth, and we are honored to have been part of their success story.

HOJ Marketing
HOJ Marketing



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