“Spend less time sitting on excel spreadsheets”: Founder of Finders Keepers markets shares her tips for future-proofing your business

finders keepers markets

Finders Keepers Founders: Sarah Thornton and Brooke Johnston. Source: Supplied

When the going gets tough, the best founders get innovative. That’s how Finders Keepers co-founder and managing director Sarah Thornton was able to future-proof her business after the pandemic shut down all live events. 

Founded in Sydney 13 years ago, Finders Keepers market has grown to be Australia’s largest design market. Pre-pandemic, Thornton would hold the markets twice a year in major states. 

But then COVID-19 came to our shores, and all live events were cancelled indefinitely. 

“It was really hard. We’d just launched our Autumn Winter season, we had all our posters ready to print, and we had to cancel straight away. Events were the first thing on the chopping board,” says Thornton. 

“It was a lot of shock — we’ve never canceled an event before. The first thing we did was try to reassure our stall holders and community that we were going to look after them and do our best,” she says.

Pivoting to digital

Finders Keepers had already made the move to digital prior to the pandemic. Thornton saw it as a way to future-proof the business by ensuring it could operate in real life and online.  

“We were able to switch things online quickly: we had two online virtual markets in June,” Thornton says.

As a way to support the community of stall holders during this uncertain time, Thornton and her team held these virtual markets while also hosting online events with the purpose of education and connection. 

“We tried to serve the community and look after them so they weren’t feeling alone. The team came together and said ‘what people need right now is connection and support.’ 

We were lucky that we could pivot quickly.”

2021 is about future proofing your business and learning from the business pivots you’ve made in 2020. There’s no better time to start accepting payments online for your business than today. Pin Payments helps Australian small businesses accept payments everyday. Get started today.

Choosing the right solution 

Selecting the right technology was vital for Finders Keepers to scale up its digital operations overnight. Every solution needed to be easy to use, flexible and agile enough to scale up or down. 

One of those solutions is Pin Payments, an online payments platform geared towards small businesses. Finders Keepers use Pin Payments to accept payments for their live events as well as their online marketplace.

“We had it set up pre-pandemic, and it’s been an easy way for us to utilise online sales. It’s all connected to Xero so it’s streamlined and easy,” Thornton says.  

“What’s been great about Pin Payments is that there’s an API for everything and they seamlessly talk to each other. You don’t have to do manual invoicing — it’s all streamlined, and it made it easy for us to move online.

Succeeding in an uncertain future

What advice does Thornton have for e-commerce businesses to be successful in an uncertain future? Do your due diligence and choose the right tech. 

“I highly recommend spending the time to streamline your business. 

“One thing that we spent a lot of time doing pre-pandemic was making sure all our operations were online and talked to each other in a way that means we don’t need to do any manual processing or reconciling. 

“Previously, we were using a range of spreadsheets and programs and it was very messy,” explains Thornton. 

Because of the nature of its online and in-person events, Finders Keepers struggled to find an off-the-shelf solution that would suit their needs. 

Thornton invested in a custom-built database, with all solutions integrated into one tech stack. 

While she says it was “a big call to invest in the business like that” they’ve already recouped the initial outlay in the time and money they’ve saved by having one streamlined database. 

“Having our database speak to Pin Payments and our accounting software has saved us so much time. You need to weigh up the cost of development with the time it will save: in the long term it paid itself off years ago.

If you can see where your business can grow, you’ll spend less time sitting on excel spreadsheets. We’ve found it’s been invaluable.”

NOW READ: Communication is key: How Fig & Bloom defied the odds to scale up in 2020

pin payments
Pin Payments

Pin Payments is Australia’s first unified approach to payments for small to medium-sized businesses. It supports over 12,000 businesses in Australia and New Zealand to accept payments from debit and credit cards bearing the Visa, MasterCard and American Express brands without requiring a merchant account.

Partner content