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Online invoice payments nurtures this family-run e-commerce store

13 October 2023

Mother-daughter duo explain how digitising their financial and employee management made growing designer maternity brand, OiOi, easier.

Lisa Bennetts and daughter Isabella Bennetts-Roberts

Learnings from two accessory aficionados:

  • Products can evolve – rather than develop entirely new products, consider updating old favourites to suit changing tastes.

  • Find skill gaps and fill them – introducing people with complementary skills into your business helps you stay relevant in changing markets.

  • Remove as much friction as possible – business can be overwhelming, finding simpler, streamlined efficiencies in your systems is key.

Lisa Bennetts was designing handbags for a luxury brand when she gave birth to her daughter, Isabella, more than 25 years ago. At the time it made sense to use one of her branded bags as a baby bag – but the result wasn’t quite what she expected.

“I had a lovely bag, and I completely trashed it,” she laughs. 

To make things simpler, Lisa then designed a satchel bag that made taking care of six-month-old Isabella easier.

Impressed with how well her custom bag worked, Lisa, feeling inspired, ordered 500 bags. In a few months she’d sold 100 units, and things just took off from there. She launched OiOi to fill what she realised was a gaping hole in the market.

“I believed in my product – I knew what it was that I was selling,” Lisa says.

And she was right to trust her instincts. Later that year David Jones gladly took the rest of her initial stock off her hands. Word spread like wildfire and international distribution soon followed.

Managing this kind of growth isn’t always easy, though, and Lisa notes MYOB presented an ideal solution to her just in the nick of time. And she’s since relied on MYOB to simplify her business needs.

"I was managing the business on an Excel sheet. I went straight into MYOB … being able to invoice and keep a track of my inventory cut out a lot of time and hassle."

- Lisa Bennetts, Founder and Co-owner, OiOi

OiOi products

From inspiration to collaborator

Isabella, who sparked the beginning of OiOi, joined her mum in early 2020 to contribute to its future.

"I came on in 2020 as Director, with a strong strategic vision for the brand and online presence."

- Isabella Bennetts-Roberts Co-owner, OiOi

Lisa couldn’t be prouder.

“My most rewarding moment so far is having Isabella join the business and breathe new passion into the brand,” she says.

And just like her mum, Isabella found she had a knack for finding gaps in the market. Soon after coming on board, she noticed customers wanted even more from the brand.

“Mum and I have absolutely loved designing the range expansion together,” she says.

“We started doing pram liners in prints that complemented the bags, then the change mats and stroller organisers in the same prints.

“It just snowballed from there.”

OiOi products

Improving the customer experience with MYOB

When running a business online, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, finding efficiencies and streamlining processes is crucial to your success.

MYOB has been one of the tools that’s helped OiOi find more time for designing, which means their customers have a broader, better range of products and services to choose from.

“Obviously invoices and payments, at least for me, aren’t the most exciting part of running a business, so the more time effective and user friendly the process is, the better,” explains Isabella.

“I'm obsessed with the MYOB dashboard. For us, it’s really about the customer experience [of our retailers and distributors] and removing any friction,” Isabella says.

"The convenience and paperless elements reduces friction for our customers."

- Lisa Bennetts Founder and Co-owner, OiOi

By implementing MYOB’s Online Invoice Payments, Isabella and Lisa have found payments from retailers are a lot easier to manage and has made the invoicing process more modern and streamlined.   

“The added features offered by Online Invoice Payments are designed for today’s business-to-business needs. It’s immediate, it’s digital and it provides an overview of the order so both parties can track what is coming and going.

OiOi owners looking at MYOB invoice screen

“Most of our new, younger generation of business-to-business customers expect to be able to pay with a credit card or other digital payment methods, so meeting their needs from the start is important to us,” Isabella explains.

But the benefits aren’t just for newcomers.

“Many of our legacy retailers who are used to more traditional payment methods have even moved over to paying us with online payments. They’ve told us it’s made payments easier for them.”

Getting business done faster, better

Making the transition from manual, spreadsheet-based management of invoices and finances has delivered more efficient operations of OiOi, as well as a smoother and more personalised customer service experience.

Since implementing MYOB’s online invoice payments, the automated-reminder settings have allowed the business to control its messaging more directly when communicating with business-to-business customers.

"I love that through MYOB I can set up reminders for our customers that their invoices are due in a couple of days."

- Isabella Bennetts-Roberts, Co-owner, OiOi

OiOi customer

It’s helped invoices get paid on time, and it’s a helpful tool for suppliers and retailers to manage their finances, according to Isabella.

Being able to email their retailers and distributors with the invoice also makes the process more personalised and efficient. By sending a link to the invoice in the body of an email, it's a streamlined journey for customers to view the invoice, and in a few clicks have it all paid.

“It creates more visibility, helping us create informed next steps for following up with people,” says Isabella.

The benefits flow onto their communication as well.

“We don’t need to go in cold when approaching a late paying business or have an awkward conversation about why they haven’t paid,” Isabella says.

“If we can see they haven’t opened the invoice from their email, we’re able to see they aren’t receiving emails from us, and we know how to softly follow up.”

Managing business admin on the go

Lisa and Isabella are also huge fans of the portability offered through MYOB’s app functionality.

“I love that the app is on my phone,” Lisa says. “If I’m out and about and I’ve got a receipt, I take a snapshot and then bang – it’s already locked in.”

OiOi owners

Isabella credits the MYOB Team app for helping OiOi manage its evolving team in recent times.

“We’ve had a lot of wonderful casuals come on board to help us send out our orders,” she says.

"It’s really great because they can easily download the MYOB Team app, log their hours, then we just do the payroll."

- Isabella Bennetts-Roberts, Co-owner, OiOi

Maximise your strengths with MYOB Online Invoice Payments

Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say. And acknowledging your strengths is one of Lisa and Isabella’s key recommendations for business owners.

Adopting technology that supports the business in its growth and enables the team to work more effectively backs up the strategy and ambition that Lisa and Isabella pour into OiOi.

"Using Online Invoice Payments is a no brainer from our point of view. It streamlines the process for you and your customer."

- Isabella Bennetts-Roberts Co-owner, OiOi

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