If you're having trouble finding a retailer who will ship your items from the U.S. to you in Japan, a company called Wesendtoyou.com might be the answer. You simply shop online at sites such as Amazon.com, eBay, Best Buy, Sears and Macy's, and if they can't ship an item to you in Japan or South Korea, then have them send it to Wesendtoyou.com, which is based in San Pedro, Calif.
The service works like a mail box. After receiving shipments, the company consolidates them in fewer boxes to save money on shipping. Delivery is usually within 5-7 business days or less. Larger items usually go by ocean which usually takes 4-5 weeks.
Owner-founder Jaime Roman recommends his service to anyone looking for personal items such as electronics, furniture, clothing, etc. They also help schools, churches and community groups with purchasing larger items.
Japan Today hears more from Roman.
What is your background?
I was born in Torrance, Calif, in 1978. My mother and father are both from Mexico and settled in San Pedro, which is part of the Los Angeles port. After 32 years, my parents are now American citizens, we still live in San Pedro and I am now married with two young sons.
The logistics of the port and airport has always fascinated me. It always amazed me how a ship can move so much cargo and be on the other side of the world in a week. After getting my high school diploma, I enrolled in the Cal State University of Long Beach Global Logistics extension course. I completed the course in 2002.
What did you do before you started Wesendtoyou.com?
I worked with an international e-commerce/freight forwarding company that shipped to Japan. I was very fortunate to have worked there for 14 years and learn all the perspectives of the air/sea global logistics system. I started as a typical warehouse worker and worked my way up to be Los Angeles branch manager of the office. During that time, I had the great opportunity to visit Japan a couple of times.
When did you start Wesendtoyou.com and what gave you the idea to start the company?
I started Wesendtoyou.com in March 2011. The whole idea came about when I was hearing many customers express how they want to shop with U.S. online web vendors and somehow just have it all arrive in one box to them in Japan. Customers wanted to have the freedom of being able to purchase personal items with various online web vendors and have it shipped for a reasonable price. They wanted to be able to shop for discounts and specific items that cannot be found in Japan. That’s where I thought, why not provide a service with good shipping rates and a fast way to get there. We worked out a contract with an air courier provider and were able to get great shipping rates for our customers. Our service takes 5-7 business days for packages to arrive or sooner from the shipping date.
How is business?
Since we started in March, business has been steadily increasing. We send about 5-7 packages a day to Japan as of now.
In how many counties do you have customers?
As of now, our service is for customers only in Japan and South Korea.
How much business do you do for people living in Japan?
I would say as of now, 85% of our business is based out of Japan and 15% out of South Korea. It picked up in Japan after the earthquake.
What kind of items are your customers living in Japan mainly asking you to ship to them?
Right now, many customers have been purchasing earthquake kits. That has been the main item being shipped. Other popular items customers purchase are electronics and clothing items. Not only do we ship small packages but we ship appliances and furniture as well.
How are you marketing your service to overseas residents?
Our marketing has been mainly direct contact with churches, international schools, expat organizations, and social communities in Japan and South Korea. We also do our own marketing and give customers notifications on U.S. web vendors' specials or free shipping through Facebook and Twitter.
Please describe how your service works for someone living in Japan.
The way our service works is you register online through our website. We need you to register so we have delivery address and contact information. Once you have registered, you can send us an email letting us know what type of items you would like to ship. Once all items have been approved shippable, you can go ahead and place your orders and have them delivered to our office. We will need you to email us or fax us your order confirmations. This is needed so we can check in all items. Once all items have arrived, we pack them in one box. We weigh the box and send you invoice for shipping and service fee. Shipment will be sent and customer will receive the items in 5-7 business days or sooner. You can find more detailed information on our web site.
If I order something through Amazon and have it shipped to me directly, how do their rates compare with if I have an item sent to you for shipment to me in Japan?
From what our customers have told us, most Amazon.com items are not exportable to Japan. We had a customer who lives in Osaka try and place an order for an earthquake kit and was not able to have it shipped to him in Osaka. Most of the popular web vendors do not have programs to ship overseas. Also Amazon.com is not able to combine customers' other online orders with theirs.
How do you make sure you are not shipping something illegal? Do you personally open and inspect packages before shipping them?
On our website, we have a list of illegal or non exportable items. We also have a web link with more detailed information. Customers have to let us know what it is they want to us to ship to them. Once the shipments arrive, we open and check every item.
How many staff do you have?
Wesendtoyou.com is a family-owned business. As of now, it is just my wife and I. We have dedicated ourselves to offer this service.
What is a typical day for you?
A typical day for me starts with dropping off the kids at school, working on emails and shipments throughout the day, and having dinner ready by 7 p.m.© Japan Today