"BoxHero really resonated with me." - Owner of Ding Tea franchises and 36 Streets

"BoxHero really resonated with me." - Owner of Ding Tea franchises and 36 Streets

TCM Trading, LLC has rapidly grown into a multi-faceted business, managing two Ding Tea locations in Washington and their own specialty coffee brand, 36 Streets. Under the leadership of co-founders Lily and Ikaika, TCM has not only brought the beloved flavors of boba tea to Lynwood and Kirkland but also introduced authentic Vietnamese coffee to the Pacific Northwest through 36 Streets.

Ding Team Lynwood Team in Washington
Ding Team Lynwood Team in Washington

A Journey Rooted in Passion

Lily and Ikaika’s journey began with a shared passion for innovation. Starting with the Ding Tea franchise, they soon expanded their entrepreneurial ventures to include 36 Streets, inspired by a trip to Vietnam in 2022. There, they established relationships with specialty single-origin coffee farms, aiming to bring premium Vietnamese coffee to their community at an affordable price. This move not only provided the Pacific Northwest with unique coffee experiences but also supported Vietnamese farmers and their families.

Inventory Management Challenges

Managing a diverse inventory for both the Ding Tea locations and 36 Streets presented significant challenges. Initially, Lily attempted to keep track of their inventory using Excel. However, as the business grew, this method quickly became untenable.

Q: How were you managing inventory before using BoxHero?
A: Oh, my goodness. We tried to manage our inventory in Excel, and that drove me crazy. We manage a lot of syrups, cups, and toppings - those are the three main categories that we have. Last time I checked, we had about 300 items in our inventory. It was not going to work if we were going to scale and develop the business. We needed something that was high-tech and foolproof. 

Realizing the need for a more sophisticated solution, Lily and her team began searching for a reliable inventory management system.

Vietnamese Coffee Specialty at 36 Streets
Vietnamese Coffee Specialty at 36 Streets

Discovering BoxHero: Affordable and User-Friendly

In her quest for an efficient system, Lily came across BoxHero during her online research. Intrigued by its features, she decided to trial it for a month. The trial period proved to be a game-changer, leading to the adoption of BoxHero across their operations. Lily appreciated how seamlessly she could transfer their existing inventory data into BoxHero, mirroring the columns and categories they had been using in Excel.

 BoxHero popped up. I did the trial for one month and loved it, so I’ve been using it ever since.

BoxHero stood out for several reasons. Unlike other costly and complex inventory management systems, BoxHero offered affordability and ease of use—critical factors for a growing start-up.

I think affordability is one of the main, key things that I chose BoxHero. This is what a start-up like us are looking for. Some softwares charge a $1,000 a month to do inventory management and that’s too expensive; I’d rather do that in Excel and save money.

BoxHero’s affordability and user-friendly interface made it the ideal choice for TCM Trading, LLC.

The Team Managing Inventory for Ding Tea Lynwood, WA
The Team Managing Inventory for Ding Tea Lynwood, WA

Favorite Features for Streamlining Operations

One of the most beneficial features of BoxHero for TCM Warehouse has been the ability to print barcodes for all the items in their inventory. This, combined with the app’s functionality, allows team members to manage stock using their phones.

We print barcodes for all 300+ items in inventory using BoxHero, and my team uses the app version to stock in and stock out on our phones, and I found it to be very, very helpful.

Lily also complimented the daily reminders on low stock inventory to help prevent shortages. BoxHero's Low Stock Alerts allows teams to proactively manage their inventory by setting up the minimum stock quantity. This allows teams to place orders and prepare ahead of inventory depletion. They can quickly identify inventory levels below the low stock threshold and receive app notifications in case of any shortages.

I like that BoxHero sends daily reminders on low stock inventory. It’s good to remind you that something is going to run out.

BoxHero has also significantly improved TCM Trading's inventory management across their locations in Lynwood, Kirkland, and their main warehouse. The Location Mode feature helps them keep track of supplies from various sources, including local suppliers from California and Washington.

There are about 10 members working in the shop and we have a few team leads who are able to access BoxHero, and we have an in-store phone that they can use to stock in and stock out. 

Looking Ahead

Lily and Ikaika’s commitment to sustainability and quality is evident in every aspect of their business. By choosing BoxHero, they have ensured that their operations remain efficient and scalable, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional products and experiences to their customers.

As TCM Trading continues to grow, Lily and Ikaika remain excited about the future. They are eager to participate in more opportunities to bring premium Vietnamese coffee to their community, all while maintaining the highest standards of sustainability and quality. With BoxHero as their trusted partner in inventory management, they are well-equipped to achieve their goals and support their mission.

For more information about TCM and their ventures, visit their page on Instagram at Ding Tea Lynwood and 36 Streets.

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