It’s Not the Size of the Dog but the Carat in the Collar

Pooch CEO Marjorie Scholtz was determined to stick to her core competencies of sales and marketing from the word go. In early 2006, Scholtz’s San Francisco coterie was comprised of stylish dog owners with uber-cool tastes for home furnishings and couture. But when they sought to accessorize their pups in the same vein, they came up empty handed. A light bulb went off for Scholtz and Pooch was born. “My intuition told me the products were out there, and because of my background, I knew I could create an information channel for products. What wasn’t natural to me was the backend logistics, processing, inventory, and accounting. That was daunting,” says the 42-year-old California native.

From no system to a go system

With a background in marketing and advertising, serial entrepreneur Scholtz (and her 140-pound Great Dane, Gus) researched the pet market landscape looking for that mystical business sweet spot. After finding virtually no competitors in the luxury dog market and a one billion dollar market staring her down, Scholtz set up shop in her San Francisco, California home and starting building the Pooch brand.
After years of scrolling and trolling through Excel spreadsheets as an advertising executive, coupled with the addition of inventory to manage, Scholtz knew her new business would live or die based on backend efficiencies. She called around to her technology friends, believing there had to be one comprehensive solution she could implement that, as a startup, would support her projected growth and provide all of the backend services in one manageable package.
Scholtz’s ERP wish list included doing business with a market leader and working with a company that had a history of bringing ongoing best practices to their products. The ability for Pooch to start out with one license for SAP Business One, knowing they could grow the business from there, proved to be a significant benefit. “I am a data hound,” says Scholtz. “So getting out of the gate with one point of data entry and analysis was a must.” Because Scholtz is grooming Pooch as a vanguard in the luxury dog market, she wanted the stability of a proven brand to strengthen her company’s appearance in the market and its operations in the office. Also, Scholtz needed a solution she and her non-technical future staff could operate and support through the startup phase without much of a fuss. “With SAP Business One we don’t feel constrained by our business size, but empowered by it.”
“When I started asking about SAP, people kept saying, ‘UPS runs SAP, Nike runs SAP, they might be too big.’” But Scholtz knew that businesses like hers were defining the small to mid sized landscape, and a company as big as SAP couldn’t ignore such a growing market. “After some poking around, we hooked up with Scott McMann at SAP Gold Partner Apollo Consulting, and he told us how SAP Business One would be a great application to look at given our needs, budget and timeframe,” Scholtz says.

No IT department, no problem

With the assistance of Apollo Consulting, Pooch had their system up and running in 14 days. The actual implementation of SAP Business One took up the first week, and after reading the SAP Business One documentation plus a few calls to Apollo, four Pooch marketing employees spent the second week loading inventory and financial information into the system.
Pooch is currently aligning Business One templates with a gorgeous Flash front end and taking orders via the phone. All of the backend processes are humming along and Scholtz now has a unified picture of her business and the tools to turn an afternoon idea into a chic canine distribution channel. Scholtz anticipates a completed Multi-Tiered Architecture implementation by the end August 2007. This proven N-Tiered Architecture consists of an SAP managed data layer, an LDAP and DNS layer and an application layer programmed in .NET, delivering data to a Flash enabled web service. SAP Business One e-commerce will handle the online shopping experience. This functionality comes standard with SAP Business One and enables a company to set up an online store with integration to inventory and financials. Features include catalog, shopping cart, order processing and notification, customer configuration tools and customer service – all online and all entirely integrated. Pooch’s online shopping experience is sure to be a highly interactive, luxurious shopping experience.
“The truth is I could not have developed my business to the phase it is at right now, in just over a year, without SAP Business One. No way.” Projected sales for Pooch are over $300k for 2007 and $1.2 million for 2008. Proof positive that SAP provides comprehensive, affordable solutions for Fortune 500 companies and true garage startups alike.
Scholtz now has one point of entry for all data: inventory, accounting and even marketing campaigns. It has become the central hub for the business and foundation upon which the entire organization is built. The Pooch team is just beginning to dig into the reporting features and built-in CRM functionality of SAP Business One, and Scholtz is able to sleep easy knowing she is fully prepared for growth thanks to the power SAP Business One wields.

What it would have cost

Historically, big ERP performance has come at big operations cost. Marjorie Scholtz says she would have had to hire an accountant, at least one IT employee and double the consulting hours from Apollo if not for the overall ease of SAP Business One. “It would have cost me at least $120k to pull together the resources to cover the scope of what we have with SAP Business One, plus the cost of a solution,” Scholtz says. Innovation and sophistication is important to Scholtz and the synergy between SAP and Apollo Consulting has provided a support solution that is readily available, even for a business that is still just a pup. “Apollo did the little things, like when we were setting up the system we hit a roadblock and called Scott McMann. He said,’ you’re going to need a SQL license in order to move forward, here’s where to get it.’ We were a group of designers and salespeople but we got through it with their support,” Scholtz says.

Pooch paradise

At Pooch’s online store an elegant garden party dress adorned with thousands of crystallized Swarovski crystals will run you $3,500, whereas a cat scratcher made of recycled cardboard, barely touches the wallet at $68. Scholtz says products she carries are well engineered and designed but not necessarily expensive. “It’s our goal to find products that are innovative, creative, well-made and solve problems,” Scholtz says. “Hey, we found SAP Business One, so we must be on to something.”

Ian Alexander
Ian Alexander