Just over two years ago, while preparing for a busy holiday season for his business, Varun “Timmy” Sharma, CEO and founder of JPC Equestrian, makers of horse rider’s wear, discovered his systems had been targeted by cyber criminals.
“We were victims of a cyber attack,” he said. “We were completely shut down a week before Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which would have been our busiest selling time.”
Like many businesses, JPC Equestrian relies on this period for a big chunk of its revenue. “We lost a huge amount at the time,” Sharma told NetSuite’s Tom Hansford in a Zoom interview.
The JPC Equestrian network was taken down by an encryption virus, which prevented access to all its vital data. Restoring operations from its cloud backup required a full system reboot that took an entire week to complete. The nightmare incident became a turning point for Sharma and his business, compounding what deep down he already knew: JPC Equestrian needed a new business management solution to ensure it was more agile and more secure.
"We had to upgrade the system and go to a platform where we didn't have to worry about backups, we didn't have to worry about virus attacks and we were able to access it from wherever [and] whenever we wanted," he said.
One Giant Leap for Horseback Riders
Sharma started JPC Equestrian in 1992, after having returned to India following a successful career in management consultancy in the U.S. An expert horseman, he was always frustrated by how uncomfortable riding wear was, so he decided to design his own.
“We were the first ones who created cotton, knitted lycra fabric riding pants,” he said. “We really established a massive niche in the market, and in four years we became the largest producer globally of riding pants.”
The company has continued to grow, and is now sold to riders in more than 55 countries around the world. It has both a wholesale and B2C business, and its operations include manufacturing, warehouse management and a complex global supply chain.
“It's a very complicated business in the sense that we [have] 12,000 SKUs that we work with,” Sharma said. “80% of all our production comes from our own factory, but we're also importing products from other countries.”
JPC Equestrian had relied on an on-premises business management tool, but as the company grew, cracks started to show. “[For] close to 18 years, we were on Microsoft Great Plains,” Sharma said. The final straw was the cyber attack, and Sharma decided he needed a more robust, cloud-based solution if his business was going to thrive. “NetSuite was the answer we found. It actually addressed every single business problem that we had encountered and that we could foresee.”
Jump in Demand
JPC Equestrian went live with NetSuite in the first half of 2020, just as the world was coming to grips with COVID-19. Like many people, Sharma was bracing for a slump in sales, but the opposite happened.
“We've seen our business literally triple. We're doing three times more than what we did in June, July and August [of 2019],” he said.
Sharma believes the surge in demand is due to a number of factors, including horseback riders having more time to spend with their horses, more disposable income being spent on leisure activities (as opposed to hospitality) and the desire for more solitary pursuits. But Sharma also cites his renewed faith in his business management solution as central to the company’s recent success.
“We now have the confidence to know that we've got the platform to sell more globally online,” he said. “We're able to make all these moves that we want to, in terms of our expansion, and we know that the bedrock is there for us to support what needs to get done.”
Scaling Up for the Holidays
This year’s holiday season offers a stark contrast to that of two years ago. JPC Equestrian is preparing for a bumper year, filled with optimism and excitement, safe in the knowledge that the foundations are in place for the business to achieve its goals.
“As we get ready for the busy holiday season and the last quarter, we know we've got a platform that will help us scale up,” Sharma said.
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Watch the video below for highlights from our chat with JPC Equestrian’s Timmy Sharma.