Climbing to Success with Odoo

Location/Region: Longmont, CO

Industry: Indoor Rock Climbing

Apps implemented: Sales, Inventory, Accounting, Purchase, & Dashboards

Number of users: 11

Company size: 14

Hosting type (On-premise or Odoo online):

The start of the trail...

They say the most successful businesses are fueled by passion, and this couldn’t be more true for the founders and employees at Managed by Climbers. Their story begins in the unlikely setting of South Korea, where Mack Maier, his business partner, and several of their current employees were living and working as English teachers. The group met through their mutual love for rock climbing and quickly bonded over their shared interest in the sport. 

During their time in South Korea, Mack’s business partner Bryan Hylenski started a nonprofit organization to help clean up crags (steep or rugged cliffs used for rock climbing) and build new trails for safer participation. While they were living, working, and climbing in South Korea, the two met a guy who was starting a Korean-based rock climbing shoe company. As Mack recalls, he and his business partner were asked whether they would be willing to move back to the United States and sell this man’s Korean-made climbing shoes. The pair initially declined, citing a lack of interest in becoming “shoe salesmen.” However, after some time and thought, they recognized the potential to turn their rock climbing passion into an actual business, and accepted the man’s proposition. Thus began Managed by Climbers.

Managed by Climbers is now nine years old and bigger than they could’ve ever imagined. From their initial plan to just sell climbing shoes, to now also selling industrial cleaning equipment, chalk bags, ropes, and more— the company proudly services the North American indoor climbing industry. With their continued success has also come the need for an inventory management system to help manage their business— this is where Odoo comes in.

A rocky path with other software

Mack and Bryan both come from technical backgrounds and didn’t think their needs were that complicated. They figured, based on their knowledge of the industry and experience in tech, that any of the major eCommerce companies could tackle their business’s requirements. However, finding the right software to support Managed by Climbers’ daily workflows proved more difficult than anticipated.

From Mack’s experience: 

“We started with BigCommerce, and there were so many things that we wanted that it couldn’t do. Then we went to this custom company out of Bulgaria for ERP, and that was a nightmare! And then we eventually landed on Netsuite, [but] it still couldn’t do things that we needed it to do, and they were incredibly difficult to deal with.”

Reaching the top of the mountain

While searching for a new software solution, the company learned about Odoo. Although initially questioning whether Odoo would have the capability for them (given that it was a small company at the time), they took a leap of faith and were rewarded with the results they were looking for. According to co-founder, Mack, their journey with Odoo has overwhelmingly been “fantastic - a million times better than Netsuite!” 

While switching over an entire ERP system is never easy for a business, Mack says that their implementation process went well, especially thanks to the support of one Odoo team member in particular. “We got this great guy, named Adam, who has been with us the whole time, which is really nice,” Mack emphasized, starkly contrasting their experience with Netsuite where their account kept being passed off to different team members. “...Adam was absolutely amazing!”

Mack also proudly shares the fact that his company had one of the fastest implementations in Odoo history, only taking a little over two months to be up and running. He attributes this success both to Odoo as a company and the fact that his team members were extremely involved in the implementation. 

Enjoying the view

Odoo is reliable, and that is one of the things that Managed by Climbers loves most about the software. As Mack puts it, “Surprises are what kill businesses,” and as a small company, they needed both a price point and a software system that they could depend on. Compared to Netsuite, Odoo was financially affordable for their business, which was one of the major reasons why they decided to stick with it. The phrase Mack uses to sum up Odoo in his own words is, simply, “high-value”. 

Managed by Climbers relies heavily on the Sales, Inventory, Purchase, and Accounting applications. As a product-based company, these apps in particular are critically useful for their day-to-day business needs. Mack also highlights that as the owner of the company, the Dashboards app is an easy way to see where his business is from an overarching viewpoint.

Furthermore, Mack emphasizes that Odoo’s user interface (UI) is much easier for his team to use than previous systems. “Learning Odoo is far easier than learning Netsuite. The user interface…is so much more intuitive.”

The Inventory app's overview lets a company see the status of their delivery orders in one organized view.

Looking out towards the future

From teaching English in South Korea while finding pockets of free time to go climbing, to owning a climbing-based company that’s approaching $5 million in sales revenue, Mack and Bryan know firsthand the challenges and rewards of starting a business from the ground up. After testing out multiple different software systems to help run Managed by Climbers, none compared to the ease and efficiency of Odoo. While owning a business can be a climb, the right ERP system makes the journey all the more enjoyable.

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