Derek Nelson and Daniel Mendez co-founded Daysmith, a vitamin- and plant-based nutrient-infused coffee brand. Having both worked in the beverage industry before, they wanted to create a ready-to-drink beverage that had the goodness of the smooth, satisfying coffee taste with wellness at the core.
Here’s their story.
When we started building the company, we were fulfilling a preorder batch for family, friends, and influencers on our own. The two of us packed and sent all the packages, and got hit with high shipping rates. We knew this system wouldn’t be feasible to scale, so the long-term plan was to find a fulfillment partner to outsource to.
We went through an intense search process and ended up talking with 15 different 3PLs. We were looking for a Texas-based warehouse with transparent pricing that could scale, had customer service, had experience with food and beverage, would allow us to use custom packaging, and that would send out one-off orders as needed. After the search, we signed with a partner that wasn’t Airhouse. The sales process was great, but unfortunately, they couldn’t deliver on a lot that was promised.
The 3PL had a large network of warehouses like Airhouse, but unlike Airhouse, they wouldn’t tell us which location we were going to work with until we signed a contract, and which types of products that location worked with. Once we signed, getting set up in the warehouse management system took forever and was a logistical, circular nightmare for about a month. We paid a one-time setup fee and a monthly management fee, but realized that we were paying for a non-existent service because we got zero customer service.
On top of that, we learned that we were assigned to a warehouse that primarily ships televisions to hotels. The warehouse didn’t have any experience with D2C shipping or beverages, didn’t understand how to kit, and was only used to processing huge, heavy packages.
We had lots of issues communicating with their team, and when we did escalate an issue or concern, they never had a solution. It was very stressful. It finally got to a point where we had our freight scheduled with our first batch of inventory, but decided we didn’t feel comfortable sending it because we had no trust in their ability to ship our product. Instead, we reached back out to Airhouse to see if they could work with us.
“We went through an intense search process and ended up talking with 15 different 3PLs before going with Airhouse.”
After that experience, we are so happy we switched to Airhouse. The pricing was very competitive, and the fact that we could deliver the branded experience we wanted on day one was great. It only took us two weeks total for setup and implementation to start shipping out orders. On top of everything, we learned that all fulfillment networks are not the same—Airhouse put us in a warehouse that were pros at shipping our kind of product.
At the beginning, we had a large kitting project that cost more than the quote we initially received. When chatting with our Account Manager, we realized it was because we were following the same process as our old warehouse. The warehouse team helped to develop a more streamlined process which cut down the time and cost per kit by 70%.
With those savings, we were able to put that money towards branded boxes instead. We’ve received strong, positive feedback from customers about the branded experience, with zero issues or complaints, which is quite rare in the beverage industry. The shipping SLAs are always met, and some of our local customers are even surprised when they get their order the next day. It’s also very easy to create one-off orders to send to influencers, which we heavily rely on for our continued growth.
The level of service has been incredibly strong from day one. Our previous partner wasn’t thoughtful, and didn’t care to fix issues. It would take two or more days to get a response for a question. Now, our warehouse is super helpful–they send videos, we chat, and we’re not spending tons of time chasing people down. On top of it all, they’re very knowledgeable and have worked with canned beverages before. And with a dedicated Account Manager, when we do have a question, we’ll get an answer within 30 minutes. Most weeks, we only periodically have to check in on fulfillment, and it just works in the background.
We know that with logistics, problems are inevitable, so we’re relieved to be partnered with someone more solution-oriented. This solid execution puts us at ease and helps us confidently move forward with innovation for SKU expansion.
Airhouse has relieved our ecommerce fulfillment anxieties and now we’re able to focus on adding other sales channels like local grocery stores and hospitality venues to help the business grow. With a million other things on our plate, it’s great to have more time and less worry, thanks to Airhouse.
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