From the Ant Eaters to the Zips, college sports fans can find it all at Homefield. This ecommerce clothing company leaves it all on the field when creating their unique t-shirt and sweater designs. Their team digs through yearbooks, newspapers, and archives to track down forgotten logos. After that, Homefield creates their own unique designs that pay homage to the school’s history while utilizing modern materials and fits.
Since the brand’s launch in 2018, fans have turned out in droves to get their hands on this unique merchandise. We wanted to know: how does Homefield use ShipStation to keep up with demand? We sat down with Christa Hitchcock, Creative Director and Jerelyn Cox, Fulfillment Manager to discover how Homefield Apparel stays winning with ShipStation.
Going it alone
Homefield began as a passion project for Christa and her husband, Connor Hitchcock. With a customer base just as passionate as they are, the brand took off and continues to grow, offering more products and representing a wider variety of schools by the month. As Homefield’s shipping demands increased, it became clear that their old ways of processing and shipping simply weren’t going to cut it.
“With the old system, we would have to stop a flow of operations every hour or so to go and print out 100 or more labels, and that would take about an hour. And, honestly, there were days where we would stop halfway through the day and three hours later, we would still not be done printing the labels,” Jerelyn says.
During the first few years of operating, Homefield was only using Shopify to handle every part of their shipping process. This left them with a heavy demand for manual labor and time; time that could be spent better elsewhere for this growing brand. Christa and Jerelyn needed a solution to integrate seamlessly with Shopify that would allow them to be more hands-off and facilitate a smooth workflow.
“We work with Shopify and so everything was a manual process. During Christmas of 2020, we could only print out 20 shipping labels at a time. We had to manually put them all in order. Everything was just a very manual process and it was quickly becoming unsustainable. That was the catalyst to sign up for ShipStation,” Christa says.
In 2021, the Homefield team took a chance and adopted ShipStation as their primary shipping solution. Since then, they have shipped over 60,000 packages with less manual labor using ShipStation.
“It’s night and day compared to when we were using Shopify alone,” says Christa.
“It’s significantly increased our ability to stay on top of things and keep moving, especially now with where we’re at. It’s literally just a click of a button to verify the order and everything prints out. It has completely streamlined that fulfillment process for us,” says Jerelyn.
In addition to saving time and avoiding workflow interruptions, Homefield is also able to serve their customers better by getting packages out of the warehouse and into sports fans’ hands in less time.
“One thing that’s really saved us time is we can set up an automation rule to put a specific package type for certain orders, which gets them in customers’ hands as quickly as possible. The automation completely takes the thought out of the process. Whoever fulfills those orders just has to basically do what they usually do, they don’t change anything. That’s very handy. ShipStation does it for us,” says Jerelyn.
More time to do what they love
Now that workflow interruptions are a thing of the past, Christa spends less time worrying about output and more time doing what she loves: research. The thrill of the hunt is what led Christa to begin Homefield in the first place, and now, she has more time to find forgotten designs. Digging through decades-old college yearbooks, brochures, newspapers, and other documents is how Homefield unearths old logos and mascots, catchphrases, and other team branding materials.
“We’ll find vintage logos, but then we make our own designs with them,” says Christa.
“We have a lot of fun with the nontraditional mascots like UC Irvine as the Ant Eaters. We’re fortunate in that we’ve been able to find a lot of our white whales. There are still a few licenses that we haven’t yet launched that I’m looking forward to doing one day, like the Banana Slugs.”
The hunt continues for Christa and the team, but in the meantime, Homefield stays plenty busy sending out the hundreds of designs they already have.
With demand only trending upward, Christa and Jerelyn are thankful that they no longer have to worry that packing orders will slow down their productivity. Now that Homefield saves both time and money with ShipStation, the ball is in their court. Keep an eye on this brand as they continue to score.