When the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world in early 2020, the ensuing months of lockdowns and uncertainty caused many to re-evaluate their lives and careers. For Cason Crane (founder), the seismic shifts catalyzed a long-held dream—launching his own coffee company focused on the caffeine-conscious consumer.
As an avid coffee lover, Cason had grown frustrated with the hyper-caffeinated RTD options flooding the market. He yearned for a coffee ritual that provided flexibility and control over caffeine intake at different times of the day. As Cason recalls:
“I started Explorer during the early days of the pandemic because I was craving a better coffee experience that allowed me to continue to enjoy my coffee ritual, but also gave me more flexibility. I was staying up all night because so much of the RTD coffee on the market had a huge amount of caffeine. And sometimes that’s what you need, but sometimes it’s not.”
Cason envisioned a line of cold brew concentrates with caffeine levels tailored to give coffee drinkers ultimate flexibility—from gently energizing to turbocharging. By the fall of 2020, he brought this vision to life, perfecting recipes in his home kitchen and launching Explorer Cold Brew's first four products online.
The early days were exhilarating but exhausting, as Cason handled everything from production to fulfillment himself. He soon realized that to keep growing, Explorer needed to expand into retail stores.
After getting their products on shelves across the country, Cason soon realized the complexities of multi-state sales tax compliance. He found himself lost in an intractable maze of registration requirements, tax codes, and deadlines across multiple jurisdictions, admitting:
“As we grew and started hitting the threshold required, or where it was required to collect in the sales tax, I quickly realized that this was going to be challenging and we needed help.”
Cason knew he needed to automate Explorer's sales tax processes. But after failed attempts with other solutions, he worried that regulatory burdens would stall his ambitious plans for the brand.
Challenge: Rapid Expansion Leads To Sales Tax Complexity
After the thrill of those early days as a digital brand, Cason set his sights on retail expansion. By hustling and networking, he secured placements regionally in grocery chains. Explorer was gaining fans across state lines.
Suddenly, Cason faced an array of registration requirements, tax codes, and filing deadlines across multiple jurisdictions. As orders and tax obligations multiplied, he found himself lost in an intricate maze, just trying to track changing rules and stay compliant.
Cason said, “As we grew and started hitting the threshold required, or where it was required to collect in the sales tax, I quickly realized that this was going to become a much more challenging undertaking.”
With optimism, Cason set up trials of both systems. But he soon became frustrated, realizing these tools were not the right fit for Explorer's needs.
“I found Avalara very confusing. I felt like they weren't doing what I needed them to be doing. TaxJar was confusing as well. I was frustrated by those solutions. I felt like they were shockingly not doing what I needed them to be doing,” said Cason.
Trying to handle sales tax in-house was also proving impossible. As orders grew, Cason and his team were spending countless hours each month trying to stay on top of constantly changing rules and deadlines across multiple jurisdictions.
"I found that when I did try and do it in the select states where we were collecting and remitting, it was, I didn't have confidence that it was doing correctly."
The lack of a solution was leading to costly mistakes as Explorer expanded. As Cason admits:
“I had to pay late fees and penalties.”
Cason worried that the sales tax maze would hinder Explorer's growth.
Solution: Numeral Navigates the Tax Maze
After struggling with DIY attempts and other vendor solutions, Cason feared sales tax complexity would permanently stall Explorer's growth ambitions. But then a ray of hope emerged thanks to an introduction from an investor:
“One of my investors is also an investor in Numeral and connected us and said you have to check this out. I was like, oh my god, actually, yes, I’d love an intro. Basically, from the first call, I was like, wow, this is exactly the solution I was looking for,” marked Cason.
He quickly moved forward with onboarding Numeral. The process was smooth and simple.
“I found the onboarding to be straightforward. I explained some of the complexities around coffee being exempt. And since then, I've not had any issues to report back on.”
Once integrated, Numeral took over managing all of Explorer's multi-state tax calculations, registrations, filings, and remittances. Behind the scenes, Numeral applied its tax automation expertise to handle everything seamlessly.
“I can just trust that it’s being done that it’s being done correctly and appropriately in all of the relevant jurisdictions. And that’s all I wanted. That’s what I needed. That’s what I’m getting.”
With Numeral handling everything automatically behind the scenes, Cason no longer had to worry about staying on top of constantly changing tax rates, rules, and deadlines across multiple states and channels.
Impact: With Numeral Powering Tax, Explorer Reached New Heights
Implementing Numeral to handle multi-state sales tax compliance, Explorer has unlocked major time savings and peace of mind.
Cason estimates Numeral has saved him over 20 hours per month that previously went towards managing complex tax calculations, registrations, and filings across multiple jurisdictions. He explains:
“It’s the time. It’s the fact that this wouldn’t taken me or someone on my team hours and hours to figure out.”
With Numeral automatically handling all sales tax obligations, Cason trusts that the automation enables timely, accurate, and compliant tax processes.
This tax relief also allowed Cason to focus fully on Explorer's ambitious growth plans—expanding into new states and retail outlets without tax burdens slowing him down.
By The Numbers
Numeral proved the right solution at the right time to enable Explorer's next stage of growth. Cason rates the platform 10/10 due to the immense time and peace of mind they provide. By truly taking the burden of multi-channel tax compliance off founders' plates, Numeral empowered Explorer to scale with confidence.
- Dozens of hours saved each month not having to track changing regulations and manually file in each jurisdiction
- $0 late fees or penalties by transitioning to 100% timely filing
- Ability to expand to 10+ new states without sales tax concerns slowing growth
- Improved confidence in the accuracy of collected and remitted sales tax
- Reduced stress and mental bandwidth spent on taxes
- Consistent, professional support whenever questions arise
- Unwavering trust that all tax obligations are handled properly
In Crane's own words, Numeral provided "exactly the solution I was looking for" as a solo founder ready to scale. The compliance burden that initially slowed Explorer's omni-channel expansion disappeared after partnering with Numeral. Their team handles everything from registrations to filing to support—freeing Cason to pour his passion into growing his innovative brand.
Numeral is the most comprehensive sales tax compliance solution for ecommerce brands. Top brands like Obvi, Muddy Bites, Crossnet, and Graza spend less than five minutes a month on sales tax. Can we do the same for you?Schedule a demo