Outsourcing 3PL to the Experts Frees Risedesk to Focus on Scaling Smarter

The Brand

Raising the home office game through ergonomic office furniture solutions that support a healthier lifestyle.

It’s not too often that company co-founders share both a history and a name. But long before they launched their successful ergonomic furniture startup, Risedesk, Michael Fan and Mike Huang were two sixth graders bonding over their love of sports in Vancouver, B.C. 

The two remained friends while they pursued education and saw their corporate careers take off. They also both experienced some common outcomes related to sitting at a typical one-size-fits-all corporate desk all day: chronic pain, injuries, and weight gain. These lived experiences planted a seed of an idea that would eventually flourish into Risedesk. 

Micheal and Mike had always dreamed about starting a business together, but there never seemed to be a right time to jump in. The pandemic changed that dynamic, prompting the two friends to launch Risedesk with a vision of freeing working people from choosing between health and career. 

Today, Risedesk offers a range of standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and office accessories that are proudly created using local materials, capital, and inspiration from Toronto, Canada. Driven by an environmental and community-oriented approach to design, the Risedesk team offers premium-quality furniture that promotes comfort and productivity for the long term, while minimizing the environmental footprint created by less durable, disposable furniture.

The Challenge

Keep big and bulky deliveries from bogging down business growth.

In their first month of business, Risedesk sold six desks. At that rate, Fan and Huang knew they could easily take care of logistics themselves. But the partners had big plans to scale their business and they suspected that focusing time on how to best deliver orders would take critical energy away from growing the bottom line. They instinctively knew they would need the right 3PL (third-party logistics) partner to calm any logistics chaos.

“Logistics is tough, especially when you’re shipping big and bulky furniture,” says Fan. “We knew we couldn’t scale if our products weren’t shipping smoothly. We also knew that, compared to some of the other services we need to engage with as a business, a 3PL partner isn’t something we’d be able to switch easily. So, choosing the right logistics partner from the start was really important to us.”

The co-founders’ instincts were spot on. In November 2022 Risedesk shipments had ballooned to 400 desks and chairs – a number that would have consumed their entire team’s attention to ship themselves. 

”When you’re only shipping six desks, you can do it yourself,” says Fan. “But when that number increases it gets exponentially harder. If you’re preoccupied with logistics every day, you can’t get anything else strategic done in the business.”

The Solution

A big and bulky 3PL partner with the power to flex with their business.

Fan initially learned about GoBolt through his network. Coincidentally, both he and GoBolt CEO, Mark Ang, are alumni of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto’s graduate business school. Although Fan liked what he saw from the start, he still did the due diligence up front, carefully examining the capabilities of GoBolt and other 3PLs. Something that really stood out was GoBolt’s specialization in big and bulky deliveries, a service that was extremely important to Risedesk given the size and weight of their products.

After selecting GoBolt as their 3PL partner, Risedesk initially secured plenty of space in the Toronto warehouse. As their needs grew, they appreciated the investment GoBolt was making in infrastructure as it allowed them to expand to Vancouver and L.A. when the time was right. 

“In just two years, Risedesk is all around North America,” says Fan. “When we tell people about our geographic reach they are impressed. GoBolt invested intelligently in infrastructure and that enabled us to grow very quickly.” 

Risedesk also takes advantage of GoBolt’s white glove delivery service, which is a great value add for the customers who want their office furniture both delivered and set up. “We appreciate the white glove service,” says Fan. “It’s great to have the option and keeps us competitive.”

Fan also appreciates that GoBolt’s customer service has a white glove feel all its own. Any time the Risedesk team has questions or issues they need resolved quickly, they have a direct line to GoBolt. 

“We have a fantastic account manager, Dhruva, who is very helpful, along with Kira, her manager,” says Fan. “Then on the ground in the warehouse, we have Corey who is very knowledgeable. The opportunity to build rapport with the global GoBolt team has made any challenges much more efficient to navigate.”

Risedesk also recently received their B Corp certification – a designation that’s given to businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. That makes GoBolt’s sustainability mission a highly attractive value proposition for the long term. 

“We are B Corp certified and our customers care a lot about that,” says Fan. “We have partners who care a lot about it too. So, the fact that GoBolt is taking concrete steps to protect the planet – like building their electric vehicle fleet, for example – makes them the right fit for us.”

The Results

Risedesk is growing comfortably and confidently with 3PL partner GoBolt in their corner. 

Fan believes they never could have scaled the company at the rate they have without GoBolt. Having a reliable 3PL partner to take care of getting the right products to customers, accurately and on time, has been a game-changer.  

“We give them more and more inventory and they always have the room. They accept it and they flex, especially during busy seasons. It just works like magic,” says Fan. “Logistics is hard. There are always going to be complications to manage, but from a scale perspective, it’s seamless with GoBolt. They grow with us and that frees us to focus on the parts of the business that we’re best at.”

While some of Risedesk’s customers have their own warehouses and take care of logistics themselves, Fan feels confident that partnering with GoBolt for 3PL is the right strategic move for Risedesk. 

“GoBolt recently opened up three warehouses in the U.S. – Los Angeles, Texas, and Florida. That’s something we would never do if we ran our own logistics,” says Fan. “I suspect some of our competitors saw that they could save a few bucks if they did their own logistics and that’s why they decided to go that route. But from our perspective, there’s a missed revenue opportunity associated with not focusing on the activities that attract and keep more customers. That’s why we believe our partnership with GoBolt is highly competitive.” 

From Fan’s perspective, success boils down to doubling down on your strengths and outsourcing everything else to the right partners. “You need to be privileged enough to find as good a 3PL partner as we did in GoBolt,” he says. “It’s easier said than done. We are grateful it worked out and the partnership continues to function really well. You just have to be lucky and find a GoBolt.”

Solid business strategy is grounded in being really clear about what you will and won’t spend time on. Having a seasoned 3PL in your corner frees you to focus on the right things to move your business forward. Contact our team to learn more.