Karst Stone Paper sees rock-solid results with Airwallex payment solutions and more
How Karst leverages Airwallex’s solutions to collect payments from customers in multiple markets, move funds around the globe, and pay vendors globally with ease using virtual cards.
10%+ savings in transfer fees
Achieved 10% savings on transfer fees by switching to Airwallex
10/10 Customer Support
Top account management customer service experienced by Karst
No unnecessary conversions
Convert currencies only when you need it
When Karst Stone Paper’s unique product first hit the market in 2017, it (deservingly) went viral. In the era of Greta Thunberg’s first statement to the public and the horrific fires in the Amazon, Karst’s notebooks, made from recycled stone that eliminates the need to cut down trees, were an absolute hit.
After attracting 10,000 customers in their first six months and continuing to grow approximately 50% year-on-year since then, Karst continues to redefine paper for the 21st century with their selection of stone paper sketchpads, notebooks, treeless pencils, pens with sustainable ink refills and other eco-friendly alternatives.
As a Certified B-Corporation, Karst are committed to using their business as a force for good. We spoke with Jon Tse, Karst Co-Founder, about how choosing Airwallex as their global financial partner for Payments Solutions, Business Accounts, Transfers & FX, and Borderless Cards has helped them pursue their goal of creating a more sustainable and productive world.
“With such a diverse customer base and supplier network needing to be paid in a wide variety of currencies, we needed a simple, smart solution to our financial processes - and that’s where Airwallex came in.”
With over 60,000 customers in 90 countries, warehouses in Sydney, Los Angeles and Amsterdam, and 19 staff, Karst is a truly global brand. They needed a cost-effective and time-efficient solution to managing how they collected payments from customers and their overall finances worldwide.
“As a product-based company, you’re going to spend most of your money on paying for raw materials, prototypes and production orders. A lot of our vendors only accept US Dollars, so in the beginning, it was difficult trying to send money to a foreign USD account,” said Jon.
“We used to use Stripe integrated with Xero. We would send out our invoices to a US-based book store, for example, and they would pay us in USD, which our bank would then automatically convert to AUD. But in many instances, we would rather keep the funds in USD so that we could then pay US-based vendors. The unnecessary currency conversions at high exchange rates meant we were getting ripped off at every stage. Then we switched to Airwallex for payments acceptance, transfers, and global accounts.”
“Not to mention, if anything ever went wrong and we’d have to contact the bank we were with, things would often be held up for weeks while they tried to sort it out. It was a nightmare.”
A small change leading to 10% savings on transfer fees
With wholesale and distribution being a significant part of Karst's business, using Airwallex Payments Solutions makes it easy for Karst to receive local denominations from their suppliers and sellers.
Airwallex Global Accounts can be opened in minutes and managed entirely online, unlocking new global revenue streams for your business. You can open foreign currency accounts in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and more and then use them to collect your sales proceeds, before spending the same funds later in the same currency (or converting them to your home currency at Airwallex’s market-leading rate).
“A US-based customer can pay us in USD, we receive it in our Airwallex US Global Account, and then I can use that same USD to pay a US-based supplier,” explains Jon.
“It’s such a great benefit, and as you scale, it’s all the small things you do for your business operations that really make a difference. I honestly feel like we’ve hacked the system - we can send money in so many different currencies and circumvent that money needing to be exchanged several times.”
“As our turnover grows, being able to save even a tiny percentage of that by using Airwallex for our international transactions, as opposed to having to change the money over and over again and expose it to different fees and rates, is absolutely meaningful.”
“Airwallex’s reputation and product speaks for itself. I see a long future in our partnership with Airwallex, as they’ve proved time and time again that they’re the right solution for Karst Stone Paper.”
Streamlined and efficient customer support
In the past, elements of Karst’s operations had been held up for weeks when their bank had experienced issues.
“With Airwallex, if we ever have a question or an issue, I know there’s going to be someone looking at it for me very quickly. I just ping my Account Manager directly. The customer service from Airwallex is simply a 10/10,” said Jon.
“We’ve been able to take advantage of Airwallex’s offerings in a really seamless way that’s so convenient for us. It’s so much less stressful than having to deal with a bank.”
One centralised hub for a global business
With Airwallex, Karst have a centralised hub where they can access and view all their Global Accounts in an intuitive, streamlined online environment.
“You might look at our website and think that we’re purely ecommerce, but actually a third of our business is wholesale and distribution. We sell our products to certain parties, and then they sell our products to bookstalls, art stores, stationery stores, museums and galleries,” says Jon.
“Reliable and convenient tools like Airwallex are invaluable to how I do my work. They give me peace of mind on the financial side of the business, so I can focus on our bigger picture future growth.”
“We have about 20 or so of these partners around the world, and using Airwallex has made receiving funds from these parties so much easier and more cost-effective in terms of interest rates. Eliminating the unnecessary conversion fees and keeping everything in one platform is a no-brainer.”
With Airwallex’s international money transfer, you’ll pay just a small FX margin above the interbank exchange rate, depending on the currency you’re transferring. There’s no hidden fees, and payments can be received in as little as one business day (with the full amount on delivery guaranteed). No matter the amount you’re transferring, big or small, you’ll always get the best rate.
“There’s so many moving parts in the world of ecommerce that you have to make software your friend wherever you can. In the early days of business, you’re in survival mode. You’re just trying to find customers and your unique place in the market.”
“Any process you’re doing that’s manual; take a moment to think about how you could potentially automate it and save yourself time and money. And that’s what embracing Airwallex within our business has done for us.”
Empowering employees to pay for what they need
Airwallex’s Borderless Cards allow Karst’s 19 global staff to make the payments and purchases they need to, no matter where they are in the world.
Borderless Cards can be issued virtually to staff in minutes, as well as frozen or cancelled without anyone (either leader or team member) needing to visit a bank branch. Leaders have full visibility over what’s being spent and where on the intuitive real-time dashboard, and they can also set spending limits and controls. Custom approval workflows can also be created to reflect your company’s specific spend policy.
“The Airwallex Global Cards are incredibly convenient for business owners,” says Jon. “I use them every day, either online or through my phone. It’s such an intuitive user experience and I have full visibility over what’s being spent on the cards and where - all in one simple system.”
See how our customers are finding Airwallex
“Airwallex is our one-stop shop for all our banking needs, in one easy-to-use interface. Without Airwallex, we would not have been able to scale our business as fast as what we’ve been able to achieve.”
Andrew Ford and Rosa-Clare Willis
“Airwallex has been a game changer for us. I cannot recommend these guys enough. The forex services are super efficient and super competitive. The customer service is not gold-plated, it's solid gold. One of the best eCommerce services for merchants we have come across since Paypal hit the scene 20 years ago."
CEO, Cosmetics Now
“The new Expense Management system has been a real time saver for us in relation to the administration of our benefits program. Team members can upload receipts as they shop and we are able to clear our reconciliations much faster this way.”
Payroll & Benefits, Linktree
“Airwallex provides us with flexibility and cost savings in dealing internationally. We used Airwallex to receive our recent global fundraising round and pay international suppliers and are saving at least 5% per dollar transferred versus the big banks.”
George van Dyck
Finance Manager, Zoomo
“Having all our global SaaS subscriptions in one place has streamlined our finance processes and enabled better tracking and control of expenses. It’s even better knowing that Airwallex isn’t hitting us with any international transaction fees.”
Chief Operating Officer, Dovetail
“Airwallex has made it really easy to pay our suppliers in any currency. We have not only saved $10,000 each month, but our suppliers now get their payments faster and in-full. We receive a notification once it’s dispatched, and it eliminates the worry factor of where our money is at. This is important for us to keep building a strong relationship with our suppliers.”
Director, Hawkeye Vintage