Often the greatest triumphs emerge out of tragedy. That was certainly the case when Zhena Muzyka discovered that her son Sage was born with a severe birth defect. Medical costs alone threatened to overwhelm them both.
Drawing on her ancestral roots among the Ukrainian gypsy population, Zhena realized that tea leaves could change her fate. She launched Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, which would become a distinctive brand for organic, fair-trade, flavored and herbal teas that came with a commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing.
237 Percent Growth
Based in Commerce, CA, Zhena’s has been crafting small batches of artisanal teas for over a decade now. Starting out with a single cart on a street corner, Zhena’s matured into a multi-million dollar company depending on an extensive network of global partnerships. However, at a growth rate of 237 percent, their mounting responsibilities rapidly outpaced the capacity of their IT infrastructure. On one side, the FDA pressed for greater transparency and import/export customs became more resource-intensive. From the other end, Zhena’s active customer base grew more eager to learn about the origins of each unique tea.
It became clear that it was time for Zhena to change her fate once again.
A Strain on ERP
Paula Muesse, COO and CFO of Zhena’s, outlined how she recognized that market change had outpaced their software’s ability to handle enterprise resource planning (ERP).
“When I came to Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, we were using Quickbooks and Excel to manage our accounting and trying to manage ERP functions…. We had inventory in multiple warehouses around the world and as a result had to use multiple SKUs to identify the same stock based on location.”
What Zhena Needed
The entire record-keeping system was unnecessarily convoluted and paper-based. In addition, their stance as an organic tea producer translated into more audits and additional layers of oversight. They identified four areas they needed their new software to handle:
- Real-time analytics to make better split-second decisions.
- A more predictable cost structure.
- Flexibility to scale up as fast as demand, with more new teas and shorter lead times.
- Computing power of a datacenter to manage everything they needed to do.