During their college years, three friends came together to create and sell a successful quilting software. Years later, their company Rain Retail has been acquired by Quilt, a quilting software company.
In 2008, Sean Roylance was looking at a quilt hanging on the wall of their home when he told his wife, a quilter and pattern designer, that he could build a software program which could generate that same geometric quilt pattern in just a few hours. Her skepticism was unrewarded as he quickly built an algorithm which would generate over a million quilt patterns. Instead of selling the program, Roylance determined that he and his friends could do a much better job of marketing the software.
Roylance, along with friends Brian King and Lehi resident Milo LeBaron, combined their skills to sell the software he had built. Roylance built the software, King sold the product, and LeBaron managed the business. They named the company Rain Retail, and the venture was not very successful at first.
“We all lived off of credit cards or loans as the Great Recession settled in,” said LeBaron. “There was a moment sitting in front of Workforce Services, where I wondered why I was having to rely on the government for assistance with feeding my wife and newborn child.”
LeBaron called his dad, who encouraged him to stick with it, reassuring him that starting any business is going to be extremely difficult, but it would be worth it.
Four years later, the three friends met at Panda Express to talk about where the business venture would take them. King pitched the idea to Roylance and LeBaron of building a POS (point-of-sale) system in the cloud.
“We would bypass the needs for building an integration with an old, legacy POS system and instead control the entire inventory management system for the stores in the quilt industry,” LeBaron said.
The system was designed and screenshots were made to show potential buyers what the system would look like. Early adopters would be able to sign up to use the POS system for only $200 and a subscription fee.
“We were shocked by how many people signed up and gave us their money,” said LeBaron. “But now, the real challenge—building the software.”
It took several years, but the team eventually started pulling customers away from competitors. Customers viewed Rain Retail as the more modern and superior offering. Their software continued to be updated, and they slowly migrated the majority of their customer base to their SaaS (Software as a Service) offering.
Rain expanded their venture into other industries which had similar requirements to retailers in the quilt space. They started selling to music, scuba and boutique industries.
“We began to hone our business culture by introducing the five Hs as our core values—Honest, Hungry, Happy, Humble, Heartfelt,” said LeBaron. “We often wondered if we had bitten off more than we could chew.”
During the pandemic, Rain had to scale back, resulting in heartbreaking layoffs of employees that were like family.
“We learned some good lessons,” said LeBaron. “We learned we could do about as much with the scaled back team. The Hungry “H” played a huge role during that year.”
In 2021, Rain decided to become a “lifestyle” company. That meant they would pay investors dividends rather than continuing their investments in growth. Halfway into the year, Rain was approached by two men who were starting a company that was backed by private equity (PSG). The company, Quilt, wanted to take Rain’s vision and accelerate it through investment. Rain decided to join the Quilt team, making it Quilt’s first acquisition.
Since the acquisition, Rain has acquired eight other businesses and is in the process of acquiring two more. Roylance is working for another Lehi company, Netgain, and LeBaron and King are working for Quilt, running development and product.
“I love what I do, and I’m good at it, but if there is one thing I have learned in software—things can change very quickly,” said LeBaron.