Founder Torie Tilley started Common Era, a jewelry company, in 2019. Inspired by her love for ancient history and mythology, she started designing medallion necklaces and earrings to bring these classic tales to life. From conception to first shipment, Torie launched her company in just five months, and quickly found herself in need of operations help.
Here's her story.
A lot of jewelry companies are very old-school, even those selling online. When I started Common Era, I knew that I wanted the company to run like the software companies I’d worked at: efficient, easy to buy from, built to scale, with a great experience end-to-end.
As a one-woman team, to achieve that, my plan from the start was to outsource as much as possible, especially fulfillment.
When I began looking for a partner, I remember reading a lot of reviews. ShipBob seemed most promising, but a lot of people said that they would send the wrong products, or that they had trouble getting support. Because it was one of the newer-looking options out there, I still decided to try them out, along with a similar service called ShipHero. ShipBob was frustrating out of the gate as far as service went—they wouldn’t help me with setup like I had hoped, and I feared how the support relationship would look down the line. And with ShipHero, the software was complex and buggy, which didn’t inspire confidence. I finally decided to fulfill orders on my own for a month because I hadn’t found a partner I was comfortable with in time for launch.
It was then that I came across Airhouse and decided to give it a go.
"Shipping and fulfillment is a big factor for my brand. Airhouse nails it, and my customers always comment on the fast shipping and beautiful packaging."
From the moment I signed, onboarding with Airhouse was amazing. After trying out other services, I launched the business on November 30, kicked off with Airhouse mid-December, and products were stocked and shipping two weeks later, by January 1. It was particularly surprising given we were getting started over the holiday peak, and a relief, given I was traveling out of the country in early January and wanted to have everything up and running.
About a month or so in, products had been shipping, but we hit a rough patch: order processing slowed, and inventory had some inaccuracies. Once the team noticed the issue, they switched us into a new warehouse in the Airhouse network that would be a better fit. The transition was super easy—I didn’t have to lift a finger as they relocated my products for me. Orders started shipping from the new warehouse, and since then, fulfillment has been smooth.
Even with the hiccup, the experience overall is amazing, and having an Account Manager is delightful. I know who I’m speaking to each time and feel like we’re on the same page. That said, it’s rare that I need help in the first place. The product is also always improving—every time I think “oh, I wish they had this feature,” it comes out. The team has even recommended plugins for things Airhouse doesn’t do, which has saved me so many hours searching and making sure it works with a warehouse.
With Airhouse I have peace of mind, and shipping is something that I don’t even think about. When you’re running a small business you’re thinking about capital, inventory, quality control, ecommerce conversion rate, things like that—you really don’t want to be worried about calculating shipping dimensions and the latest surcharges. Airhouse frees me up to do those mission-critical tasks.
At the end of the day, I feel like Airhouse gives us a strong foundation to grow. Orders have so far doubled every month since I launched, and during the holidays our volume spiked, shipping in one weekend what we used to do over a couple of months. Luckily, my approach to fulfillment hasn’t had to change because it was already set up to scale on day one.
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