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How Square Helped These Moms Whip a High School Bookstore into Shape

Square
Editorial Team

Mothers Lisa Carey and Stacy McNamara volunteer at the bookstore for Delbarton School, an independent college prep school in New Jersey. All the shop’s profits go straight to scholarships. And they’re selling a ton of merchandise. We reached out to them to find out how exactly they’re using Square to be so successful.

What is your role at the Delbarton shop?
Carey & McNamara: We run it as volunteers. It’s been around for about 10 years and doesn’t have a physical location. So we’re pretty much a traveling show. We do around 15 events a year — from Homecoming to orientation and special events, on and off campus. All the money we make goes directly into scholarships for the school.

What kind of things do you sell?
The school has a very active alumni base — a lot of them come back for Homecoming and special events. So basically anything that you can put the Delbarton name on we sell — sweatshirts, T-shirts, accessories, backpacks, mugs, belts, ties. A lot of jewelry too, if you can believe it.

How did you get started using Square?
We’re volunteers, so we only have so much time to spend keeping track of things. Before we implemented Square, we had no ability to track sales, and all our invoices were handwritten. And at the end of each event, we would pack all the leftover clothes into a bin and put it back in the storage room. We never knew exactly what we sold, or what types of things we needed to stock up on. Nothing was tracked — we just didn’t have the time.

Why did you pick Square?
We have so much inventory, so we were looking for a robust system. We started investigating other options, but they all required capital investment and monthly processing fees. Since we only do a select number of events a year, we wanted something that didn’t have a monthly fee. We didn’t want to pay for the months when we weren’t selling. We found Square and thought, wow, this can do way more than we initially thought, and with no monthly fees. It gave us both an accounting and inventory system.

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How has Square helped you run things?
We don’t have to count everything manually anymore, and we always know where our inventory stands. We can make smart purchases about what we need to buy more of. It’s also really easy to add items on the fly. We do a lot of limited runs, and when that item sells out, we just remove it from Square Point of Sale and add a new one. We just take a picture and throw it right in there.

Does it also help you spot trends in what people are buying?
We had thought sweatshirts were our most popular item, but this year, it turned out more people were buying quarter-zips, a newer item. You can see it all laid out in black and white when the styles change. It helps us make better buying decisions.

Do you think Square has helped you sell more?
At events like Homecoming, Square allows us to set up in the middle of a field for eight hours with no Wi-Fi. People buy a ton there. We can also fan out and have 15 to 20 people selling at the same time. We used to have two people sit there and ring everyone up. Now we don’t have lines, which I’m sure encourages more people to stop by to buy something. Anyone with an iPad can help you. We can process the transactions quickly and then just email you a receipt. We also have a lot more repeat customers. If you’ve bought something with us, you’re in the system with Square, and the email receipt just goes straight to you. I have to believe that all of this has led to more sales.

Our sales team helped get Lisa and Stacey up and running with Square tools to help them run the Delbarton bookstore. Contact us anytime to learn how you can put Square to work for your business or nonprofit. We’re here for you every step of the way.

The Square Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of business, for business owners. Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds and share a passion for providing information that helps businesses to start, run, and grow. The team is based in San Francisco, but has collaborators all over the country.