If there's one market that cries out for luxury products, it's women's hair care. Yet, until 16 years ago, women had little choice but to dry their hair with drug store blow dryers.
That's when Kent Yu decided to throw a wrench into the blow dryer market, launching T3 Micro and its Featherweight, a sleek device that was the first hair dryer to draw upon the power of Tourmaline, a gemstone that's since become a staple in the industry. Tourmaline dryers emit infrared heat and negative ions, resulting in gentler heat that results in shinier and less frizzy hair.
Perhaps even more important, the Featherweight cut the time it takes to dry hair in half, and a brand was born. Today, T3 Micro sells 40 different products, from blow dyers and curlers to flat irons and brushes. And all of them build on the qualities that made the Featherweight an unmitigated success.
"We create a premium hair tool for the woman on the go," said Amanda Afeiche, T3 Micro's VP of finance and administration. " Women want something beautiful to hold in their hands, and our tools don’t just work great, they're aesthetically gorgeous."
Learning to Look for Help
NetSuite has been a critical part of the company's success for nearly a decade, but in recent years, as T3 Micro introduced more products and began overseas expansion, it began to realize it had been underutilizing the platform.
"We weren't using it as efficiently or effectively as we could. We really didn't pay attention to all of the partners and the other things that could work with NetSuite. Over the last three years, we've had a focus on that," said Afeiche. "We've got this great ERP, so how do we use it to our benefit?"
The company started by focusing on what it could get from the various conferences it was attending, including NetSuite’s SuiteWorld. T3 Micro's leaders instructed the people it sent to go with open minds as they learned about new solutions, and not assume that the ways they were doing things were the right ways.
"Just because it's worked for us doesn’t mean it will work next year," Afeiche said. "There's a reason why they're partners of NetSuite. Maybe they know something that we don't."
Marshaling the NetSuite Ecosystem
What's really helped T3 Micro to get the most out of the software has been plugging in to more NetSuite resources. Each time the company has approached NetSuite with a problem, it's been introduced to the specialist it needed.
For instance, the company had a problem accounting for credits issued to retailers—it had to create two SKUs, one for sales and a modified one for returns, resulting in two separate records. After bringing the situation to NetSuite’s attention, the company discovered that the code needed to solve the problem had already been created, enabling staff to streamline reporting by having the combined history under a single SKU.
In another instance, T3 Micro wanted to avoid forcing people to physically sign off on invoices in order to pay vendors on time. With help from NetSuite consultants, in just a few weeks the company set up an automated approval system to get vendors paid sooner.
Still, some of the users struggled with the new system because it required two-factor authentication. No problem: NetSuite introduced the company to partner Tipalti, whose vendor payment solution solved that issue.
Experiences such as these have converted T3 Micro into a partner junkie of sorts, as it's engaged with DemandWorks to explore using its Smoothie demand-planning software, and is looking for other partners that can help it refine other parts of its business.
Having access to all of these additional resources has become sort of secret sauce for T3 Micro's NetSuite experience.
"It's impossible for one ERP system to be an expert in everything," said Afeiche. "But the fact that NetSuite actively goes out and finds these great partners who do things they can't do is excellent."
Full Steam Ahead
Not surprisingly, T3 Micro's near-future plan is for more of the same: turning to NetSuite consultants and partner resources for help. The way Afeiche sees it, since technology is constantly evolving, staying aware of what kinds of services are out there is a logical path to continuous improvement.
And, while she's doing that, she can count on NetSuite to keep pushing the platform forward as well, ensuring that the software and T3 Micro can evolve together.
"It's a nimble and adaptable system, and they're always making updates," Afeiche said of NetSuite. "I really appreciate that it's always changing."