The wine industry is still very old-fashioned but is poised to leap forward and benefit from innovation. For De Maison East, a New York-based wine distributor, this meant switching to Melio to handle all of its bill pay operations.
De Maison East distributes wine, spirits, and cider grown and produced by family-owned vineyards in France and Spain to restaurateurs and retailers in New York and New Jersey. The company distributes the portfolio of its sister company De Maison Selections, an importer servicing wine and spirits wholesalers across the U.S.
Both companies pride themselves on strong connections with the grower-producer families running the vineyards in Europe. “We want to tell their stories,” said Anna Raymond of De Maison East’s New York sales team.
For De Maison East Director Ryan Looper the wine industry is all about connecting with people. “Wine can be like poetry and it speaks to a place, a time,” Ryan, who is a former opera singer, said. ”It’s even better when it’s shared with loved ones, incredible people, new friends.”
Director, De Maison East
“Melio gives you many options to have a good look at cash flow because you’re seeing what’s going out and what’s coming in and you get immediate feedback when a bill is paid."
According to Ryan, the wine business is “super old-school,” and still uses fax machines, dusty pencils, and handwritten invoices. “One of the decisions we made was to try and bring our customers into the future, with a really easy technological upgrade,” he said.
De Maison East was founded in July 2020, in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, which was “quite challenging in itself,” as Anna put it. With abrupt changes to the wine industry and the entire business world, De Maison East needed an easy and effective way to operate remotely and collect payments.
De Maison East started using Melio from the very beginning to make it easier for its customers to pay, especially amid lockdowns and health restrictions. Melio’s technology seemed to fit like a glove thanks to its user-friendly interface and seamless payment process, which allowed De Maison East and De Maison Selections to streamline both bill pay and payment collection.
“The best thing about Melio is that it’s paperless,” said André Tamers, founder of De Maison East and De Maison Selections, which made the shift to Melio over the last year. “We get a notification that a payment is coming and we know it’s coming. There’s no guesswork, there’s no mail, it just comes.”
André also mentioned how easy it is for customers to pay through Melio’s pay button, which is embedded in all of the two companies’ invoices. “Customers can just click on a link and actually pay their bills,” he said, estimating that at least 60% of De Maison Selections’ customers use Melio.
Founder, De Maison East, De Maison Selections
“In an ideal world, there would be no checks. All we would do is just get payments through Melio."
According to Ryan, Melio has made it easier for his company to function during the Covid-19 crisis and the shift toward remote work that came with it. Melio’s platform, he said, enabled De Maison East to track payments and eliminate much of the frustration that comes from the financial side of the business.
“Melio has enabled us to work and handle payments remotely. It normally would take an hour at least to pay bills. With Melio it takes about 15 minutes,” Ryan said. Using Melio has reduced the cost of processing payments by 20% and enables De Maison East to get paid 10 times faster than before.
Before Melio, De Maison Selections accepted checks, which “was a pain,” André said. “Melio’s seamless,” Anna said. “It makes everything on a day-to-day basis easy. Everyone should be using it.”
Melio also made De Maison’s customers’ lives easier. According to Anna, once a customer has set up their Melio account, they can make a payment in a matter of seconds. “Just today someone called me asking if their check had come in the mail,” she said. “We hadn’t received it so we offered to tear up the check when it arrived and let them easily pay via Melio. It was done in 20 minutes.”