by Todd Spear
Published on 5 September 2014
The devil, they say, is in the details.
Nowhere is this found truer than at Men In Cities , a mens accessories retailer founded by rising fashion star, Yuvi Alpert. Alpert's designs are showcased in up-scale stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Mr. Porter, while industry magazines including GQ and Esquire have praised the designer.
Alpert has seen prior successes as co-founder of Ruby Kobo, and founder of his own brand, YUVI. His latest venture is tackling the perennial problem of choosing mens accessories. The trouble is that, for many guys, choosing accessories opens you up to public, often painful, failures.
Now, Alpert's Men In Cities is helping guys keep a finger on the pulse of emerging trends in fashion. Each month, the company lists a new selection of nine, reasonably priced but top-quality mens accessories that work together. And the offerings are pleasantly current and on-trend.
Case in point: just yesterday I spent a balmy afternoon re-watching the World War II-based biopic, Patton, when I found myself thinking, "The beige tie should make a comeback." Shortly after the movie ended, I navigated over to the Men In Cities website only to find "Men In Beige" among the company's collections. Finger. On.The. Pulse.
The reason I was checking out Men In Cities was preparing for an interview with Anoop Kansupada, Men In Cities' Director of Business Development & Partnerships. Kansupada came to Men In Cities in November 2013, following a stint at Frank & Oak, which he says taught him the ins-and-outs of managing a fashion supply chain.
Since then, he has taken on the bulk of responsibility for managing the flow of supplies and fulfillment at Men In Cities. This, of course, places Kansupada in charge of the company's unique accounting needs, which he explained to me during our chat.
"When I joined the team in late 2013, the company was using QuickBooks," Kansupada told me.
"And one of the first things I came in and started working on was building up a supply chain in a way that I would want a supply chain to be built up. And because I come from a technical background and have even built a couple of apps, I wanted to find a cloud-based solution for pretty much everything."
Operating with a cloud-based mind set, Kansupada and the Men In Cities team first put Shopify in place for handling sales, then started testing out different apps to perform essential roles, including accounting. With the site's launch planned for February of this year, the search for a cloud-based accounting app quickly led to Xero.
"The testing out of Xero started in mid-January and we became paying customers in March," added Kansupada.
When asked about the advantages of making the switch to Xero small business accounting app, he added "It's sort of a funny world, switching from QuickBooks, which is one of the industry heavyweight. QuickBooks is a very robust accounting platform. I went to business school for my undergrad, but I don't understand what to do with QuickBooks. It is almost too robust for someone like me. It has so many features that I don't care about."
" Xero, on the other hand, which has a very clean, simple user interface , didn't take long for me to learn to use. I opened it up and right away I was ready to go."
"Our accountants manage 200 other fashion brands, and they really wanted us to use QuickBooks, and it kind of exposed what I really wanted to do, down to the fact that I don't want any manual uploads or manual entries done," Kansupada continued.
" I wanted sales to happen (in Shopify) and automatically report to Xero. Xero has a really strong API (application programming interface), which lets accounting and everyone jump right in there - which also makes my life easier!"
In addition to providing on-demand access to its outside accounting firm, Xero's ability to add users to complete specific tasks also helps Men In Cities around the office.
"We had a lot of great summer interns here. And not all of them need to know our complete financial picture, but we were able to give them access to Xero while limiting what they could do. So they were able to help me clean up specific aspects of our accounting as needed."
Kansupada also told me about how Xero fits into the demanding world of a fashion supply chain.
"One of the things that the fashion world breaks down at is supply chain. Supply chain is a really complicated world. Most fashion companies don't take the time to focus on it, so one of the first things I wanted to do when I took this position was put together a solid backend."
"So we've put in place a stack that has Shopify for eCommorce , Stitch Labs for our inventory management solution, ShipStation as a fulfillment center, and all those pass information to Xero, our accounting platform."
Kansupada and the Men In Cities team are making big waves thanks to the increasing profile of its founder, Alpert, and the company's smooth-running supply chain. My biggest takeaway from my talk with Kansupada is that Xero brings together the people you need to manage your accounting, and the apps you need to exchange data between, all in one cloud-based accounting application. Having made the switch from QuickBooks to Xero , it looks as though Men In Cities is moving onward and upward, without looking back.
Find out how Xero can work for your business by checking out its full features and comparisons with other accounting software, right on the GetApp website. A no-credit-card-required free trial of Xero is also available.