Merchants of The Sun - Case Study



Founded on the beaches of both Indonesia and Byron Bay in 2020, Merchants of the Sun was brought to life by two brothers with a passion for jewellery. Motivated by the vision for a zero waste world, Merchants of the Sun produces handcrafted jewellery while inspiring their culture and customers to mindfully consume and consciously create.
In a balance of ethics and aesthetics, Merchants works under the notion "Make few, design well".

The Goal

As Founder and Owner of the business, Matt wanted to promote efficiency and optimise processes for scalability. Most importantly, he needed a third party to ensure accountability whilst in the early stages. Further, Matt wanted to better understand his target audience, refining the exact demographic he hoped to appeal to and meet their every expectation through various touchpoints.



Phase 1 - ELEVATE Business Plan 3 months:
Initially, pland was engaged to develop a business plan for Merchants of the Sun. Everything from defining the target market, establishing brand identity, developing a pricing strategy, inventory planning, and overall back of house strategy (incl. accounting, HR, copywriting, inventory planning, outsourcing legal assistance). We built out a full, streamlined business plan and fleshed out a 5-year roadmap to reinforce Matt's business goals. This work acted as a springboard to launch further collaborations and strategy.
  1. Lean Canvas
  2. Competitor Analysis
  3. Market and Trend Analysis
  4. International Analysis
  5. SWOT Analysis
  6. Customer Profiling
  7. Value Chain Analysis
  8. Software/Tech Review
  9. Organisation Chart
  10. Roles & Responsibility Agreements
  11. Organic Social Media Strategy
  12. Budgets (personal & business)
  13. Sustainability Impact Reviews
  14. 5-Year Roadmap
  15. Completed Business Plan



Phase 2 - Execution Phase: (Back of House)
Once the business ball was rolling, we began to implement the goals of our 5-Year Roadmap which we had broken down into annual goals and subsequently quarterly milestones.
From here, we modified the approach to campaign/collections by creating buying plans to clarify cashflow requirements for inventory, marketing ROAS/CPA targets, packaging proposals, and influencer gifting budgets. We established structure to allow for seamless collection introductions, involving planning around releases and timelines, restocking, and reduced overall stock-outs.
To further prompt growth, we also implemented inventory planning software. We evaluated our current value chain, created efficiencies, and identified and rectified issues or bottlenecks. We established an organisational chart to better understand the necessities of the business, also mapping out a hiring plan and employee goals. One of the most effective moves was introducing Cashflow Forecasting tools to assist with growth and expansion, working in tandem with the inventory planner tool and accounting system.
Phase 3- Execution (Front of House):
Through the business plan, we were able to establish the core values of Merchants and Matt as the Director, as well as their overarching purpose and vision.
Once we had laid the groundwork, we cleaned up the website copy and product descriptions, wrote brand statements and started introducing thoughtful storytelling into the brand. We then assisted to create and script a brand video to communicate the brand's core values and purpose to the wider public.
We also reinforced the business values through a clear CSR plan and purpose-driven goals. This began the annual tradition of boycotting Black Friday and Cyber Monday to prevent overconsumption; instead, the brand supports charitable causes on these days.
Phase 4 - Accountability (Scale & Grow):
pland is currently onboard as an accountability mentor to assist in the following areas:
  • Finalising implementation of an employee rewards system, ensuring appropriate resourcing for next growth phase.
  • Focusing on employee retention and up-skilling opportunities.
  • Prioritising documentation of standard operating procedures.
  • Implementing a KPI Dashboard for monthly reporting/measurement to track against targeted goals.
  • Consolidate marketing efforts to improve overall returns.
  • Working on an ongoing Sustainability Roadmap.
  • Continuing to work on 5-Year Roadmap objectives.



Other Projects:


In November 2021, pland was engaged to create the annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) marketing campaign.
The purpose of the campaign was to combat sales messaging that encourages overconsumption, teaching of the environmental impact of fashion while encouraging meaningful retail purchases ahead of the holiday season.
The plan canvassed four days, beginning with a full shutdown of the online store for one day, billboards and signage across major Australian cities, and strong social media presence to advertise the campaign slogan, "Break Tradition, Not The Planet". pland provided guidance on copy, messaging,
On Cyber Monday, 50% of all profits was donated to Action Aid Australia, a NFP organisation dedicated to protecting the human rights of women. From one day of sales alone, Merchants of the Sun raised $5000 in donations. By partnering with their community in this way, the business was able to further establish their brand values and foster a deeper connection with customers.
In conjunction with the driven team at Merchants, pland executed a successful campaign which saw record store traffic on Monday - despite not hosting discounts of any kind.
Read more about the Break Tradition, Not The Planet campaign here, words by pland.



Timeframe: 12 months
From $17,000/mth sales to a $250K/mth record in November 2021, Merchants has grown considerably. The business began with just 2 staff, outsourcing work in multiple areas. Since then the team has grown to 7 employees to reflect the significant increase in sales, now working predominantly in-house.
On the social front, the brand's Instagram following has grown from 11.9K to 20K during the same period, with a maintained engagement level. Meaningful engagement and overall customer experience have both been priorities for Matt and his team over the past 12 months, which has contributed substantially to their success as a jewellery business.
N.B. Other strategies that were implemented during this time with other agencies included EDM & flow automation review and implementation, A/B testing on paid advertising and paid marketing analysis across multiple platforms to enable growth, and collaborations with influencers.



"pland enabled us to hit $1,000,000 in our first year of business.
They helped me grow my team from two to five people in the last three months and assisted in increasing our monthly turnover by 250% from October 2020 to March 2021. From March 2021 to Sept 2021, we have retained them on a consultancy agreement, enabling our business to meet our 5-year roadmap and multiply revenue by 2.5 times in a month, whilst not compromising on our profit margins.
Courtney and Peyton gave me the tools to prepare Merchants for scaling to avoid growing pains when advancing our business.
pland realised and believed in my vision to build my sustainable label; together, we created an action plan to make this vision possible - now we are on track to becoming one of the leading environmentally conscious jewellery brands in the industry.
I would without a doubt recommend pland to anyone who is looking to take their business to the next level"
Matt Banks, Director