On-demand manufacturing allowed us to grow, not just our product offering but to expand to different geographical regions. The Katana Team has always been extremely responsive and helpful, as well as their partner, DataAutomation. Together, we were able to figure out the different workflows to pull in the different information, produce the right amount, order our materials at an adequate amount so we are not over or underspending.
Lisa Diep, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Peace Collective
With Katana, Peace Collective increased the number of made-to-order or on-demand products by over 50%
With more on-demand workflows supported by Katana, Peace Collective was able to expand to US markets with branded merch for US sports teams, influencers, and more
Katana integrates with Shopify Plus, allowing Peace Collective to manage orders from multiple web stores in one live platform
About Peace Collective
Peace Collective is a Toronto-based apparel brand on a mission to help people look good while giving back to the causes and communities that they are passionate about. Selling their products across Canada and the United States, Peace Collective is dedicated to making fashion more sustainable — both in terms of the materials they use and the manufacturing processes they have in place.
Peace Collective is a lifestyle brand and our mission statement is to help everyone look good while giving back as well. One of our goals is to raise a million dollars for different organizations and communities we are passionate about. For every garment that is purchased we donate to various organizations. For every garment sold we donate to a local food bank within the different regions.
For every product line, Peace Collective has a dedicated cause they allocate a percentage of sales to helping with. These include:
Canadian and American food banks
UNHCR human rights foundations
Additional and mental health centers across Canada
With plans to expand further into the US, Peace Collective needed a way to scale production while minimizing waste in line with their values. In addition to their core brand, they also manufacture and sell merch for TikTok influencers. To manage all these channels and product lines, they needed software that would give them visibility over all areas from sales to production.
We sell internationally as well as in Canada. Our largest door is our e-com, we have two brick-and-mortar stores in Toronto and a growing number of customers coming from the US. Our biggest focus now is how to expand into the US.
The challenge they faced
Growth is always tricky to manage — especially when there are multiple sales channels and a wide variety of products. And in Peace Collective’s case, they also use a mix of in-house and contract manufacturing to keep up with order fulfillment.
The fashion industry is notorious for generating waste, something Peace Collective was determined to change. Lisa Diep, Peace Collective’s Chief Operating Officer, is not only responsible for ensuring smooth production, but also steering the brand towards on-demand or made-to-order workflows.
We use a combination of both in-house and contract manufacturing. Originally we started with contract manufacturing, we still use a lot of production overseas for things that are a little more complex and difficult to do here in Canada. We basically started a program called Peace Collective (PC) On-Demand, so for a select number of items as soon as a customer orders it, we start producing it in-house. We’ve been fine-tuning it for the past year or so.
The struggle of spreadsheets and warehouse management systems (WMS)
Managing made-to-order workflows involves tracking raw materials in real-time, as well as having product recipes or a bill of materials (BOM) for each product to manage resource allocation. Before Katana, Peace Collective used spreadsheets to track their inventory, which proved ineffective with their on-demand program.
When we were managing the on-demand program with spreadsheets it led to a lot of internal and external issues with our customers. A lot of miscommunication and it was an inaccurate way to track the usage of all our different materials. We were also trying really hard to fit in manufacturing with our warehouse management system (picking and packing system) and it didn’t work at all.
In addition to spreadsheets, Peace Collective uses a warehouse management system (WMS) to manage inventory across multiple warehouses. However, they needed an all-in-one solution that would give them the same live inventory control while also allowing them to track production.
With our warehouse management system (WMS), it is what it is, just collects orders for picking, packing, and fulfillment. But it doesn’t allow you to monitor the production. You can have purchase orders but you cannot track different stages of an item or order that comes in.
The solution they found
After struggling with spreadsheets, Peace Collective started searching for tools and software that would integrate with multiple Shopify stores, give them a live overview of their inventory, and support a mix of made-to-order and made-to-stock workflows while they transition to fully on-demand manufacturing — and their search led them to Katana.
The reason why we were very sold on Katana was the how-to and guide videos and walkthrough videos were pretty straightforward. It was simple and we were able to connect to all our Shopify stores and had everything we needed.
A visual, live overview of manufacturing and sales order statuses
With Katana, we are able to track products, build recipes for materials, and set reorder points for our materials as well. That was one thing that was very difficult to manage was raw material inventory — for example, how many black t-shirts do I need to order? That was the main reason why we selected Katana.
Katana gives thousands of manufacturers like Peace Collective a live overview of their key manufacturing operations from raw materials to production to order fulfillment. With Katana’s visual interface, Peace Collective was able to track orders in real-time and easily spot bottlenecks.
For us, the on-demand program was gaining a lot of momentum and the decision to move to Katana was primarily to allow us to track each order that comes through and make sure we produce it for that specific order — a lot of it was just not being able to create the different workflows within the WMS that doesn’t allow for manufacturing and production management.
Reduced costs and waste with on-demand manufacturing
Doing on-demand manufacturing actually allowed us to cut down the cost of holding inventory and produce those items as we go along while not producing any waste. Instead of holding a fully finished t-shirt we hold a blank and a transfer sheet, and together it creates that one t-shirt.
For apparel brands like Peace Collective who have a range of stores and product lines using apparel licenses, costs can skyrocket fairly quickly. In order to stay lean and sustainable, Peace Collective uses Katana to manufacture products as they are ordered, rather than stocking hundreds of items and incurring unnecessary costs.
Some licensed properties don’t necessarily make sense cost-wise when it comes to printing. For example, when we’re doing Sesame Street — a graphic can have 30 different Pantone colors in it. If we were to actually print that it would be an astronomical price and lose money per unit we sell. With licensed products, we also have a lot of sports brands and it’s been hard as a Canadian company to break into the US with all the teams without incurring all of the inventory costs of holding 300 New York Yankees hoodies.
With on-demand manufacturing and Katana, we’ve been able to stock certain decoration pieces for those US teams and produce them as we go along and send them to our customers pretty quickly. At the end of the year companies usually have these large black Friday and holiday sales, and this year we will have the first year where 50% of our products are on-demand, and it will be interesting to see how much we have left.
Integrations and workflow automation with Katana Partners
One of the biggest challenges any company faces is aligning and integrating its tools and software. With Katana, Peace Collective was able to integrate all their Shopify stores to keep their sales and manufacturing in sync. They were also able to set up custom workflows with one of Katana’s integration partners, DataAutomation, to pull in Shopify orders based on specific parameters.
Multiple webshops with Shopify Plus for Enterprise
We started back in 2014, we had a lot of success and mistakes, but we saw it as an opportunity to learn from the past and create a sister company for content creators to help them bring their ideas and designs to life using our knowledge and infrastructure.
Peace Collective manufactures products for their own brand as well as multiple influencers on TikTok using the same infrastructure, materials, and workflows. They use Shopify Plus for a total of six e-commerce sites, managing sales and more using Shopify’s intuitive platform.
We’ve always been on Shopify since the very beginning. We went from the basic plan all the way to Enterprise. And now we actually manage product merchandise for several influencers and content creators which we also link to Katana using 6 separate shops. A lot of TikTok creators have a huge fanbase who want to buy merch, some have a black t-shirt that says they’re famous saying on it and another would have the same black shirt or hoodie with another saying or design.
Custom Katana workflows with the help of DataAutomation
In addition to needing manufacturing business software that would integrate with Shopify, Peace Collective also needed orders pulled in depending on the shop and how they would be manufactured — made-to-order or made-to-stock.
Peace Collective reached out to DataAutomation for help, a Katana Partner that customizes and connects software for a range of business clients. Their team automates workflows and has helped Katana users tailor their accounts for optimal information flows, and helped Peace Collective set Katana up to pull in Shopify orders based on the parameters they needed.
With our creator stores, everything is made to order and we don’t stock any inventory so it’s straightforward. With our main store, we had to not directly integrate but rather worked with DataAutomation to create a custom workflow that would pull the orders from Shopify based on certain conditions. We have such a wide variety of products and didn’t necessarily want everything pulled into Katana but rather the items we make in-house.
For their core web store, Peace Collective uses a combination of made-to-order and made-to-stock workflows. With their custom workflows in place for creator stores, they were able to automate resource allocation while selling across a range of webshops.
Other orders we have inventory for or use contract manufacturing on-demand to cut and sow that we don’t do in-house. In-house we do heat-press and embroidery and direct-to-garment (DTG) and different decoration techniques.
How Katana helped Peace Collective increase their percentage of made-to-order products to over 50%
I would 100% recommend Katana to other apparel businesses, especially as the fashion industry moving towards sustainable, made-to-order manufacturing is picking up more. There aren’t that many other platforms out there, and with Katana now, we see it’s been going through many changes and improvements which is amazing to see. I definitely think Katana is the right platform for a lot of brands starting out in the apparel industry.
With the help of Katana, Peace Collective’s team was able to:
Track different stages of an item or order that comes in from multiple stores in one visual platform
Create custom workflows for manufacturing and production management with the help of Katana Partner, DataAutomation
Integrate with multiple Shopify stores to streamline operations and ensure on-time order fulfillment
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