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Case study: Zojora, Fashion E-commerce Retailer Conquers Multi-currency with Sleek

7 minute read

When travelling frequently to run your business from Singapore to Vietnam to India, choosing the right partner for your incorporation and accounting services is very important. Read to find out Zojora’s journey.

From side hustle to global customer base

Zojora is an online store that brings together travel inspired accessories from across the globe. Originally a passion project collecting unique accessories and fabrics, the brand now works with local artisans and social enterprises in Vietnam. The end result is wanderlust-worthy objects that are sold to boutiques and individuals all over the world.

Although her wares are starting to get international attention from the likes of Vogue, Tara Thivolet from Zojora remains humble about her success. “It started with table napkins”, she says. “Now it’s my excuse to travel.”

With three children at home to keep her busy, she heads out three to four times a year to replenish her stocks. “You think it’s glamorous”, she laughs. “The reality is you’re walking around in 35-degree heat in a fabric market in India.”

The incorporation and onboarding process

“It’s great, because I know when I send an email, I’ll always get an answer within 24 hours.”

Originally set up as a passion project and sole proprietorship, it was time to take the jump and incorporate a company in Singapore.

“Just a few weeks before, I had seen another friend who had gone through Sleek who was in a similar situation”, Tara says.

Sleek had everything she was looking for in a service provider – efficient, online, and with a proven success record from other happy business owners.

Soon, Tara turned to Sleek for accounting services in Singapore as well. Accounting was a big pain-point for the company. Inventory was notoriously difficult to track, and often paid for in cash across several different currencies. Production is a global operation – from fabrics in India to zippers and buttons in Singapore, sewing and finishing touches in Vietnam, and finally being shipped back to Singapore for distribution.

Additionally, payments to suppliers were made in different currencies: Indonesian Rupiah, Indian rupees, Singapore dollars – and then sold online in USD.

The end result was a complicated, multi-currency tangle. “I had Xero on my end [originally] – someone else had recommended it to me. I was doing that on my own, but I didn’t know what I was doing. A girlfriend had set it up for me in the beginning, but she wasn’t doing my bookkeeping.”

After two visits to the Sleek offices to straighten up her books and set up her direct feeds from DBS into Xero, the business was sorted. Sleek also provided advice tailored to small businesses – like how to account for cash receipts from running a booth at a fair, and how to integrate PayPal transactions into Xero.

On Sleek untangling the complicated stuff

“Once every couple of months I come to Sleek – they help me tidy everything up and straighten everything out. I definitely needed some extra help and that’s where John [an accountant at Sleek] comes in. Xero is his thing.”

Sleek’s service is a huge source of support for the business. “The plan feels tailor-made to me. Whenever I see red lines or issues with my accounting, I don’t cringe – I just call John!

“If I come in, he can fix [my accounts] on my actual computer for me. And he doesn’t hurry me for time – the meeting is over when everything is reconciled. I appreciate that. I’m learning as I go along but it’s nice knowing they’re always there if I don’t know how to do something.”

Doing business and doing good

What’s next for Zojora? Tara pauses to consider it. “It’s a balance. A lot of stores want to carry us… but if we scale up, we wouldn’t be able to continue using the social enterprise we’re using in Vietnam, and I really like their calling — they’re careful in they do. So we could expand, but we would have to change things.”

For now, it feels like a win – win: curating beautiful pieces that evoke travel and adventure, and supporting the individuals and communities that helped create them along the way.

Explore Zojora’s travel-inspired accessories here.

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