Founded in 1990, Mezi is a family-run business focusing on quality, creativity and self-expression through handcrafted jewellery. Over 30 years later, Mezi has gone from strength to strength, growing to five stores across Sydney and a thriving eCommerce operation.
We spoke to Lilianne Minehan, Head of Operations at Mezi, who walked us through Mezi’s journey of success and the importance of tech when growing a retail business.
The beginning of Mezi
Mezi is named after its founder, Mazal Balboul, who was given the nickname Mezi by her mother.
After emigrating from Israel to Australia with her three young daughters, Mazal slowly embarked on her journey to creating the Mezi brand we know and love today.
“Mezi came to this country as a single mum raising three kids, and she started off her business slowly,” comments Lilianne.
Mazal began by sourcing jewels and jewellery from local and overseas designers and selling them at markets across Sydney. The popularity of Mezi’s jewellery soon accelerated, and the brand expanded into its first retail store, selling pieces influenced by the family’s Egyptian, Moroccan and Israeli heritage.
“She had an eye for detail and design,” explains Lilianne. “And over the 30 years, has evolved, expanded, and opened up. Now she’s got five boutiques and the online store, and she’s still 100 per cent involved in the business.”
Mezi today and a vision for the future
Mezi and much of the family are still very hands-on with the business, from sourcing jewellery pieces and curating the collections to helping on the shop floor.
“She’s still in the stores as we speak now, serving customers. So she’s very hands-on–a beautiful, beautiful woman,” says Lilianne.
Over the years, the Mezi brand has evolved to encompass more than just jewellery collections. While jewellery is still the bread and butter of the business, Mezi also provides services that complement their collections, such as body piercings and permanent jewellery.
“We have a lot of products. We also do body piercing. So we’re a body piercing clinic as well. So it’s a mesh of everything in one store.”
While Mezi has already seen considerable success, Lilianne notes that Mazal is eyeing further expansion to broaden Mezi’s footprint in Australia.
“She wants to expand. She’s talking about opening a store in Melbourne, so we’re hoping to take it interstate!”
The role of tech
As with many growing retail businesses, Mezi adopted tech solutions to help streamline their operations and accelerate growth. This is where Lightspeed stepped in. From enhancing the customer experience to gaining in-depth business insights, Lightspeed provides Mezi with a powerful platform that’s constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of a large-scale retail business.
Like many multi-store operations, having the ability to track and transfer stock between stores easily is imperative – something that Lightspeed has enabled Mezi to do with ease.
“As soon as we input products, it’s easy to check if stores have a certain type of products. If we need to send more stock to a certain store or receive stock from a certain store, it’s been very, very easy,” explains Lilianne.
Not only does this save time, but it ensures accuracy–making inventory control smoother and minimising the risk of human error, which can often lead to wasted dollars.
Lilianne also acknowledges that the Mezi team aren’t yet using Lightspeed to its full potential, and there will be more opportunities to boost efficiency when the team can harness the full power of the system.
“I don’t think we use it to its full potential, to be honest with you. We’re hoping moving forward that with the new store, we’ll be able to train a lot more staff in using it a lot better, like with inventory, stock and things like that.”
Mezi recently began rolling out Lightspeed Payments, and the benefits for the business have been twofold.
Firstly, the team love how quick and easy it is to process customer payments, which means shorter queues and accurate payments every time.
“We’ve just integrated the EFTPOS machines. So one or two of our stores are using [Lightspeed Payments] at the moment,” comments Lilianne.
“It’s very easy to use. I love how you can see the transactions when you go to reporting payments and stuff like that.”
Secondly, having payments seamlessly embedded with their POS system means an enhanced experience for the customer, as exchanges, returns, and refunds can be processed quickly and smoothly.
“When it comes to customers, I think it’s quite easy when we have exchanges, returns and things. We’re able to check that side of it or go back to the history. If a customer doesn’t have a receipt and things like that, I’ll find that quite easy.”
As a large-scale retail operation with both physical and online stores, tracking business performance through data and analytics is crucial for the team at Mezi–helping them plan for the future and forecast growth.
“Every month we go through our reports, we take all our stores sales, inventory, payment reports, everything like,” says Lilianne.
Transparency is also essential for the team at Mezi, and management like to ensure that staff have a degree of visibility over how the business is performing.
“On our dashboard, we have our most popular items that we sell, so it’s quite easy for our staff members to look at.”
“When it comes to our staff, we make sure that they know what’s happening with the sales. If we’re up or down, so we use [the dashboard] quite a bit. Every day, to be honest. Every day, we’re checking to see what’s going on with the stores.”
Capitalising on holiday sales
Another key driver of Mezi’s success is preparing for and capitalising on key holidays throughout the year–from Mother’s Day to Valentine’s, Black Friday and Christmas.
In order to plan their upcoming promotions accurately, the Mezi team always relies on their data to make informed decisions to maximise the potential of each holiday.
“Our reports change every year. There’s a low. There’s a high. So we definitely check on previous years and what sales we had last year. Should we change the percentage? Should we do something different? Should we do a different purchase, so we do look at that,” explains Lilianne.
“We do monitor that when it comes to big sales like that every year, even when it comes to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, things like that. We’re always tracking back to see our performers; even with our online stores, it’s the same situation.”
For Mezi, Black Friday is one of the busiest sales periods in the year for both their online and physical stores.
“Black Friday is bigger than Christmas or Boxing Day for us. So online and in-store as well. So Black Friday in-store is huge for us.”
As a result, they spend a lot of time dedicated to planning and marketing the big retail event.
“[We’re planning] a lot of promotions, a lot of EDMs, a lot on the social side. We go all out, really. We also do Facebook ads and Instagram; it’s all happening. SEO, we’re on top of it. So it is a busy, busy, busy time for us.”
Mezi and Lightspeed
Mezi’s 30+ years of success can be attributed in equal measure to the creativity, drive and dedication of Mazal and her family and the brand’s beautiful jewellery collections.
Growing a retail business over three decades is no mean feat, especially one thriving so successfully. While Mezi’s products speak for themselves, the business has also effortlessly adapted and embraced technology like Lightspeed. This partnership has ensured enhanced workflows, streamlined processes and improved overall operations, which we hope will lead to another 30+ successful years in business.
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