Your Fulfillment Journey: What Stage Are You At?

Boxes in a fulfillment provider's warehouse

Whether you’re a new or established brand, the right fulfillment partner should meet your needs at every stage.

No matter what stage your company is at in its fulfillment journey, MasonHub has solutions for you. Not only do we nurture fledgling brands, we can also help take “teenage” brands to the next level, and we offer established brands mitigated risk and the ability to execute seamlessly. So what category do you fit in? Here’s a look at some common stages of growth and their fulfillment needs.

The 3PL Newbie

  • Order volume: 500-2.5K orders/month
  • Currently self-fulfilling
  • You don’t yet have a standard operating procedure for fulfillment, are not quite sure what a 3PL does and what is industry standard; and lack realistic forecasting ability. 
  • Seeking a trust-based relationship with a provider who can help you make the right decisions for your brand and provide recommendations. 
  • Paying a fulfillment provider may mean making other trade-offs in the business. 

Growing Pains

  • Order volume: 5K-20K orders/month
  • You’ve handled initial scaling yourself, and you know what you want and where you want to go, but you don’t know how to get there. 
  • You’re a little anxious about relinquishing control of your operations. You know you can do things well on your own, but you also know you can’t get to the next stage alone. 
  • Seeking a word-of-mouth recommendation from a brand similar to yours. 
  • This is your first 3PL, so you want a provider who’s done this before, can streamline processes that take you too long, and handle the certifications and requirements for your product. 

Fresh Start Needed

  • Order volume: 20K-50K orders/month
  • You know your current 3PL can’t scale with you and what you want and don’t want in a new one. You also know what’s missing and what you need. 
  • Seeking trust, transparency, communication, connection and flexibility. A long-term relationship where you can really grow. There’s a reason they say a good 3PL is like a marriage! 
  • You may start looking for a new provider 3-4 months before your current contract expires. 

Been There, Done That

  • Order volume: 100K+ orders/month
  • You have a full and established operations team that is detail-oriented and price conscious.  
  • You’ve done lots of due diligence and competitive research.
  • Seeking mitigated risk, a financially sound partner with the ability to execute without much change to your operations. 

If you identify with some of these characteristics and have similar decision-making criteria when it comes to finding a fulfillment partner, get in touch with us to find out more about our order fulfillment services and how we can tailor them to meet your specific needs. Chances are, if you’re thinking about switching to a new 3PL or hiring your first one, we can help solve your fulfillment challenges. 

The Retailer’s Guide to Financing

Business professional analyzing finance graphs on a laptop, signifying strategic financial planning for retailers.

How to know when you’re ready and how to prep

How to Determine When it’s Time for Financing

You’ve come up with a solid business plan and you’re seeing an increased interest in what you have to offer. But ramping up your business to keep up with demand is easier said than done. Growing sustainably means that brands often need to find financing solutions that can help them scale. 

But how do you know when it is time to apply for financing? There are a few scenarios that many emerging businesses face that are indicative of when the time is right. In this retailer’s guide to financing, we’ll walk you through the signs as to when to get funding, so you can start future-proofing your business now.

Going Wholesale

Your direct-to-consumer brand relies heavily on marketing to get the word out about your products, which worked well so far. You’re ready to take it one step further, and possibly even some retailers are taking notice of your brand. Going omnichannel is a great way to get more of your products into the hands of consumers. What’s more, the wholesale business model benefits both the brand and the wholesaler by creating efficiencies. On the other hand, it also requires vigorous inventory planning, and going wholesale takes up a big chunk of a business’ budget. Juggling marketing spend while paying suppliers and hiring a third-party-logistics company (3PL) that can handle omnichannel fulfillment, can often be a burdensome headache that adds to the stress of growing a business. As you’ll need to reallocate more of your budget to inventory purchases and warehousing to supply the wholesaler, more of your money will be taken away from other areas. And that is where financing comes in.

You don’t want to run out of money by locking up your own dollars in purchase orders, but keep that cash on hand for more important business areas and unexpected situations. If you’re an emerging brand that’s ready to take on the wholesale world, but don’t have the extra cash to do so, then it is likely time for financing!

As an example, purchase order financing can help stressed business owners figure out how to pay suppliers the purchase order costs they need to, while keeping cash on hand which can be used to develop new products and increase marketing spend. You can find out more about Purchase Order Financing here.

Lastly, when looking for a financing partner, surround yourself with skilled and experienced advisors and lenders who have worked in the category or product type you are offering. You can also ask other companies that have worked with your wholesaler about their experiences, both their successes and their follies with financing.

Accelerated Growth

Orders are pouring in, and your brand is seeing accelerated growth. When a lot of growth happens quickly, it is all about being able to scale sustainably. Future-proofing your business often takes thorough planning, and also some dollars to fuel that growth. Again, the worst use of your valuable cash is to spend it on manufacturing your products, because it ties up capital that is better used on equipment, marketing, and people (among other things.) If you find yourself in a situation where demand is growing quickly, but you’re lacking the funds to keep up, then it is likely time for financing!

Businesses often need extra capital to purchase more inventory and finance their growth sustainably. A line of credit from an experienced lender can free up a lot of your own cash for more important areas, while growing your inventory positions and scaling the business month-over-month. Fast growth indicates that it is time for financing, and also to cast your net and hire finance personnel to help with your business’ finances, and to handle the process of obtaining extra capital.

Long Lead Times When Buying Overseas

After a few years of economic uncertainty, it is safe to say: uncertainty is the future. Lockdowns, supply chain issues and other factors have led to many deep disruptions, and brands had to find new ways to keep up with demand. In order to adapt quickly to sudden changes in demand, it is advised to stock up and purchase more inventory ahead of time to stay ready and prepared, to not lose out on sales. After all, 46% of consumers are switching to the competition when their favorite brands run out of stock. 

The timeline from beginning production to landing goods in the warehouse, then delivering to customers or wholesale partners can take many months. To reduce uncertainty, make sure to keep more inventory on hand, diversify product sources, increase the number of suppliers, and shorten supply chains. 

If you find yourself running out of products often and needing to stock up, but don’t have enough cash on hand to do so while staying focused on other areas, it is likely time for financing! After all, your reputation and customer satisfaction are on the line. As brands grapple with the challenges of 2023, they’ll need to stay flexible. Especially with a looming recession on the horizon, being agile is more important than ever. Partnering with an experienced lender allows businesses to keep the cash on hand needed to adapt to sudden changes, smooth out bumpy periods, and more.

How Can My Business Prepare?


The way businesses handle accounting and financial documents is important, and a first step to securing a financing deal. In order for lenders to grant loans or lines of credit, they are often looking for documents with accrual accounting, rather than cash basis accounting. Although cash basis accounting is easier to maintain and understand, accrual basis accounting gives a fuller and more long-term perspective on how the company is faring, which makes you more likely to obtain the capital that you are looking for. 

Know Your Performance Inside and Out

Another important way to prepare is to get a good understanding of the problem you are solving. Know your sales performance and margins inside and out, and be able to communicate how you are going to use the funds. Update your books at least monthly, and be able to speak on how you are managing expenses like salaries and marketing. Show in your cash flow projections how you are planning to use the money to find out how much you really need. This will go a long way with investors and lenders, and brings you a step closer to receiving the funds your business needs.

Understand Your Options

There are many different financing options out there, and it is important to gain a good understanding of what they are, including pros and cons. Not every financing option makes for a good solution, and heavily depends on the nature and setup of your business. Businesses just starting out can benefit from unsecured options like merchant cash advances (MCAs) from businesses like Shopify. Merchant cash advances are an easy and quick way to get business funding: the lender gives you a lump sum of money that you repay through sales, and you don’t need any collateral to secure the loan.

On the other hand, there are also more mature capital solutions. Secured loans, or asset-based loans, are backed by collateral such as inventory and receivables. Rather than taking a percentage of sales or even ownership in exchange for a loan, lenders secure their investment by lending against assets that you already have in your warehouse. As an example, a working capital loan and funding from Assembled Brands provides emerging businesses with the necessary capital to pay for day-to-day overhead and operating expenses. 

Get informed, understand your options, and carefully decide which funding solution makes the most sense for your business.

The Bottom Line

Determining when it is time for financing varies from business to business. Generally, in stages of heightened growth or expansion, it is likely time to look into financing to support that growth. Use your business’ cash for the most important areas of your venture. Avoid locking up your own cash in inventory or purchase orders to stay flexible – especially in times of economic uncertainty.

Also, leverage the assets you already have. If you’re a direct-to-consumer brand, your current inventory and receivables can be used to finance your growth without having to give up ownership or equity. A line of credit allows for flexibility and comes in handy when you are expecting to make a big purchase in the future, but don’t know yet how much it’ll cost.

If your brand is ready to take the next steps in their growth journey and apply for financing, our partners at Assembled Brands are ready to help. The lender has extensive experience with revolving lines of credit, and has helped countless top consumer brands finance their growth over the last decade.

3 Tips for Creating Team Culture

A group of coworkers (one man in a maroon shirt and jeans, one woman in a white jean jacket and jeans, one woman in a white t-shirt and brown over shirt and jeans, and one man in a red shirt) laugh and work together in front of a clear board

What makes MasonHub a Best Place to Work?

Talk about starting 2023 on a good note! This year, MasonHub was honored with not one, but two, Built In Best Places To Work Awards for Los Angeles: 50 Best Startups To Work For and 100 Best Places to Work. How do they go about creating team culture?

Built In determines the winners of Best Places to Work based on an algorithm, using company data about compensation and benefits. To reflect the benefits candidates are searching for more frequently on Built In, the program also weighs criteria like remote and flexible work opportunities, programs for DEI and other people-first cultural offerings.  

“These companies understand their people are their most valuable asset, and they’ve stepped up to meet the modern professional’s new expectations, including the desire to work for companies that deliver purpose, growth and inclusion. These winners set the stage for a human-centered future of work,” says Sheridan Orr, Chief Marketing Officer, Built In. 

Read on to find out how MasonHub cultivates its unique team culture.

Create a Sense of Purpose

MasonHub was built from the ground up to solve the pain points of fulfillment. Each person who works at MasonHub is creating a better fulfillment experience for brands. And it’s a great feeling to know that your product is helping people. New hires often say it’s this sense of purpose that draws them to the company. Whether they’re developing software or working in customer service, they derive satisfaction from solving client’s problems.

Make Sure Everyone Feels Heard

It takes numerous teams of people working in sync to power a fulfillment center. From front-line workers to floor supervisors and account managers, it’s important to foster an atmosphere where people can speak up and know that they’re being heard. Something as simple as a whiteboard where team members can leave input for leadership, can be a powerful tool for building better communication.

Nurture From Within

Whether it’s a manager making time to mentor a direct report or a structured leadership workshop, it’s always a best practice to identify future leaders and nurture them from within. Not only does this create a better team morale, it’s a great way to retain and incentivize talent. As hiring and retention continue to be workplace challenges, it’s smart to make sure employees feel valued and know that you’re willing to invest in developing their skills.

Built In Honors MasonHub With Two Best Places to Work Awards

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MasonHub makes 2023 Best Startups to Work For and Best Places to Work Los Angeles lists.

This release was published in PRNewswire on January 11, 2023.

Built In today announced that MasonHub was honored in its 2023 Best Places To Work Awards. Specifically, MasonHub earned a place on the 50 Best Startups To Work For and 100 Best Places to Work lists for Los Angeles. The annual awards program includes companies of all sizes, from startups to those in the enterprise, and honors both remote-first employers as well as companies in large tech markets across the U.S.

Read on PRNewswire

MasonHub Named a Top 3PL of 2023 by Multichannel Merchant

Multichannel Merchant Top 3PLs 2023 recognition badge for MasonHub, highlighting their selection as a leading fulfillment provider by the trade magazine.

The trade magazine once again selected MasonHub for its list of top fulfillment providers.

MasonHub is honored to once again be selected as a Top 3PL for ecommerce fulfillment by Multichannel Merchant magazine! The influential list and directory is published each December by the editors of the trade publication.

Read More on Multichannel Merchant

How Partnering with Route Helps to Ease Ecommerce Headaches

Business professional packing orders for shipping, symbolizing the effective ecommerce solutions provided by partnering with Route, as featured in the press release.

Learn how Route can help prevent lost and damaged packages during the busy peak season.

No one wants their call centers to get overwhelmed with customers complaining about missing, damaged or stolen packages during Holiday peak season. Partnering with package protection provider Route has offered our merchants a proactive solution to ease ecommerce headaches. Since partnering with Route, MasonHub has helped clients protect over 30,000 packages resulting in approximately $4 million of protected revenue.

Read the Route Case Study

2023 3PL Study Shows Brands Emphasizing Tech, Returns, Hiring

A logistics worker in a safety vest and helmet carefully inspects a stack of packages, highlighting the importance of tech and efficient returns processes in hiring.

NTT DATA and Penske’s study shows opportunity with tech solutions, returns, and hiring.

NTT DATA and Penske’s annual Third-Party Logistics study, now in its 27th year, revealed that among the shippers polled – consumer packaged goods, retailers and consumer brands being the largest cluster represented – more brands emphasizing tech and returns when it comes to their 3PLs. Hiring and retaining employees is also a major concern on both sides of the business.

Perhaps the most surprising stat is that 83% of shippers in 2022 versus 90% in 2021 felt that their relationships with their 3PLs were successful. There was also a 2% decrease YOY among shippers who felt that using a 3PL improved service to customers. This could point to the fact that more 3PLs aren’t meeting customer expectations or a misalignment of goals. Either way, there is opportunity for 3PLs to improve their SLAs and customer experience. MasonHub, for example, meets SLAs with 99.9% shipping accuracy.

A more positive stat was a 5% increase YOY in the number of shippers who thought that using 3PLs contributed to reducing overall logistics costs. For instance, MasonHub’s customers report 20-30% overall lower shipping costs.

Chart displaying key perspectives from 3PL users and providers.

Technology Solutions

The study states, “Technology serves as a key differentiator, especially among 3PLs that leverage technology as a medium across different service dimensions to increase revenue and elevate business growth. Today, technology is just as important as people.” *

The opinion that technology is very important to 3PL expertise has remained high for the past 20 years, rating above 91% since 2010. A greater number of shippers stated that technology solutions are playing a greater role in their 3PL partnership evaluations and selection process.

Pie charts showing technology solutions role in 3PL partner evaluation and selection. Shippers value technology solutions more strongly, but 3PLs value it more overall.

Unfortunately, it appears there’s a disconnect between tech solutions and the role they play in partnership selection versus the ability of shippers to effectively leverage those solutions. Only 25% rates themselves very effective or extremely effective at leveraging solutions being offered by their 3PL provider. Meanwhile, 37% rated themselves slightly effective or not at effective at all. Nearly one-third rated themselves moderately effective.

Pie chart showing the effectiveness at leveraging the technology solutions provided for shippers and 3PLs.

It seems there’s a greater need for customer education when it comes to using 3PLs technology, another opportunity for 3PLs to distinguish themselves.

Reverse Logistics

In regards to reverse logistics, shippers are outsourcing these services almost 50% more than they did a year prior. Three-quarters of consumer-focused shippers rated the returns experience as being very or extremely important to consumer loyalty, and 65% stated that returns expectations are growing. A majority – 61% – said they expect to see increased volumes of returns over the next three years. This is due to growth in online purchases and DTC shipping.

Among 3PLs who provided reverse logistics services, more than half – 59% – stated that reverse logistics are only slightly to moderately important to their future offerings and 15% stated that it was not important at all. This could signal that they’re missing an opportunity to serve more brands. MasonHub not only handles returns for clients, they also integrate with several returns-focused platforms to improve the customer experience. After all, consumers are four times more likely to return online purchases over those made in a physical store.

Bar chart showing logistics services outsourced by shippers between 2023 and 2022.

The Labor Crisis

In regards to the labor crisis, more than one-quarter of shippers polled believed that there has been a permanent shift in the availability of labor, and more than one-fifth of them believe the talent shortage will last two years or more.

The jobs that both shippers and 3PLs rated as most difficult to fill were hourly workers such as pickers and packers, and certified/licensed hourly personnel such as truck drivers and equipment operators. The same was true for retaining such talent. The most respondents on both sides said that it takes two to three months to fill these positions.

As for wages, nearly one-fourth of respondents on both shipping and 3PL sides said they increased comp 0-3.99% and virtually the same percentage said they increased comp 4-6.99% in response to operations pressures.

In Conclusion

Ongoing challenges, strategic misalignments or unexpected challenges could be straining 3PL-shipper relationships. But a majority of shippers – 71% – reported that using 3PLs has contributed to improving customer service. Additionally, 71% or shippers and 92% of 3PLs agree that 3PLs provide new and innovative ways to improve logistics effectiveness.

*2023 27th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study: The State of Logistics Outsourcing, C. John Langley Jr., Ph.D., and NTT DATA, 2023.

CEO Donny Salazar on the Pros and Cons of Doing Business in California

California Best Startup logo

MasonHub’s founder talks about the upside of doing business in the nation’s most populous state.

This article was published in ‘Best Startup California’ on September 26, 2000.

What is the cost of doing business in California? For technology and fulfillment startups, there are upsides and challenges to running a company in the Golden State, but MasonHub founder and CEO Donny Salazar says he wouldn’t have it any other way. This article was first published in Best Startup California on September 26, 2000.


Three Big Mistakes Beauty & Fashion Brands Make When Entering Retail

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MasonHub’s Donny Salazar offers tips on how to make the transition from DTC to wholesale smoother.

This article was published in ‘Business Insider’ on August 26, 2022.

MasonHub founder and CEO Donny Salazar shares three big mistakes DTC beauty and fashion brands make when entering retail, and offers advice on how to avoid them.

Read on Business Insider

GfK’s Consumer Life and FutureBuy Report Reveal Shoppers’ Preferences

A customer thoughtfully assessing clothing items in a retail shop, representing the enduring value of in-person shopping experiences alongside e-commerce trends.

Thirty thousand shoppers in 25+ countries were polled.

Here are a few stats that might not surprise you: According to GfK’s Consumer Life trend study, In the past month, 72% of Americans have purchased something online using a PC, and 57% using a mobile phone. And many cross these channels interchangeably during the shopping journey. E-commerce is still as prevalent as ever, even as more and more top retailers and brands invest in the omnichannel experience.

In-person experiences are more important than ever as people re-enter physical stores: only 19% of Americans agree that virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person.

Personalized experiences are requested across all channels and throughout the entire shopping journey by consumers. In fact, 36% like the idea of technology that “knows” them and can recommend products and take actions based on their wants and needs. So what are their top priorities?

36% of shoppers say price is the most important factor in their purchasing decision

34% say they only buy products or services from a trusted brand 

GfK’s FutureBuy study looks more specifically across online and in-person shopping. Every year, shoppers in 25 countries share their buying habits, the channels and touchpoints they use, their interactions with retailers, and how they include technology in their purchase journey.

Among some of the interesting insights: 42% of shoppers like it when a website keeps track of their visits and then recommends things to them, and 36% agree that they like to buy products that are tailored to them. Guided selling tools are becoming more popular – 35% have taken a quiz or used some form of a guided selling tool to get matched with personalized products as part of the digital shopping experience.

Finally, 42% of Americans agree that they would be more loyal to a brand/retailer that lets them provide input to help tailor products/services to their need. And 34% of shoppers feel that they get targeted on social media with personalized and relevant products, and 31% have shopped by clicking on posts on social media. So while those ads in your Instagram feed might give you the feeling that your phone can read your mind, it doesn’t stop people from clicking to buy. The bottom line: It’s ever more important for brands to be wherever their customers are, whether it’s on their e-commerce sites, social media or in stores.