Olivela is a luxury fashion platform with a twist: a portion of every purchase helps fund a charitable cause that improves the lives of children in need throughout the world. Olivela—the name merges ‘olive,’ a tree representing growth and wisdom, and ‘vela,’ Latin for ‘sails of a ship’—focuses its giving on organizations committed to ensuring that girls at risk of child marriage stay in school. The social enterprise started when Founder and CEO Stacey Boyd, already a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, joined Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai on a visit to refugee camps in Kenya and Rwanda. Recently, Olivela experimented with expanding its ecommerce business to operate a pop-up shop in Nantucket. The experiment was so successful that the company is evaluating other brick-and-mortar options for its future.
Olivela attracts a mix of customers. Some are attracted by the luxury high-fashion brands that Olivela carries, while others are primarily interested in the social consciousness aspect of their purchases with the company.
“The marketing team is always trying to understand our customers better,” says Dominic Go, Olivela’s Director of Analytics. “We run lots of tests to figure out what website copy, images, and combinations are going to be most effective with customers. Data-driven decision-making is at the core of our business.”
The people working at Olivela run the gamut in data analytics expertise, with Go and one other analyst being the only ones with deep SQL skills. But the data experts don’t have the domain expertise that the marketing and other teams possess.
“This mismatch creates a bottleneck of time and understanding,” says Go.
Olivela has deployed Sigma on top of the Snowflake cloud data warehouse. “Sigma simplifies an immense level of complexity,” says Go. As a result, Olivela’s business experts can work intimately with the company’s data without knowing how to code and without learning new, proprietary, complex analytics interfaces.
Olivela’s business experts use Sigma to explore different options in how to visualize data, experimenting to find the ones that work best for their needs. The Sigma data exploration process also makes it easier to generate reports, such as aggregating average selling prices with average order values to figure out the cost per order across various categories.
“Sigma lets the domain experts at Olivela solve business problems without my technical data analytics help,” says Go.
For instance, the merchandising team previously needed a new dashboard. Whereas in the past that task took three weeks and required Go’s team to build the dashboard using previous tools, the merchandising team, using Sigma, rebuilt the dashboard in two hours.
“Sigma combines the ease of Excel with the power of Snowflake—giving our business experts access to the compute power of the cloud but with the quick understanding they’d get from a spreadsheet,” says Go.
At the same time, the company’s two data scientists now have more time to focus on the more complex strategic-level data analytics that assist with future planning.
“Sigma lets the domain experts at Olivela solve business problems without my technical data analytics help.”
— Dominic Go, Director of Analytics, Olivela
It’s also easier for the company’s CEO to explore Olivela’s data using Sigma, to generate aggregate reports of customers’ purchases by channel. “This used to be a challenging data visualization problem, but with Sigma our CEO can evaluate different versions of how to visualize some analytics, iterate as needed, and get quickly to the conclusions she seeks,” says Go. “She’s able to do more accurate strategic planning for both the ecommerce and the new pop-up aspects of the business.”
By empowering everyone at Olivela, Sigma is helping the business to move forward better and faster than ever.
“Sigma is closing the distinction at Olivela between a data expert and a business expert—which means more people at the company making better decisions,” he says.
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