executive impact


By Chris Betros

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.

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This guy is great, I know him from his previous company. He does good work. Good luck Jaime!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find that all companies ship here, except for a lot of software. Will he take care of that?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is a good idea, not only because quite a few companies, I've found, do NOT deliver to Japan; and those that do, charge a bucket load of money. I'll be interested to see how this company compares for delivery charges.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Looks nice, might give them a try if I need to import something.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's a good idea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

always good to see small businesses try to make it in this difficult business environment. however, i already get my friends to send me stuff so probably don't need their service.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japangal, try ordering from Abercrombie and Fitch, or any other high end retailer and they will automatically send you to their overpriced Japanese site. Trust me a lot of companies won't ship here. Good luck to this guy, but I think he will only do well while the yen is high.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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?

I noticed that question wasn't answered properly. Let's rephrase the question. How would the rates compare if I ordered an item which Amazon (or the company in question) is willing to send to Japan?

I have ordered items before from the States, and if you order large quantities, there is a risk that Japanese customs will slap a tax on it. I once also ordered a particular brand of running shoes which is more expensive in Japan (even when postage from USA is included) - I notice that the company I ordered from no longer send to Japan. What is it with international companies - they're hellbent on making sure Japanese customers have to pay more for the same.

Any case, if this company can provide a good service at reasonable prices, then good luck. I'd be interested, depending on how much they charge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmmm, just took a look at the homepage. 'Household' is spelt 'housegold'. Not a good sign.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Several companies have this same service. I've been using expatexpress for the past 6 years,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While I applaud Mr. Roman for his entrepreneurial effort to fill a niche, I am just wondering "how come" he apparently didn't have to apply for an OTI overseas transportation intermediary license? Seems that anyone giving "expert advise to exporters" and handles any cargo moving via sea, apparently needs to get such a license or risk being shut down by zealous regulators. Simply re-mailing packages via USPS or UPS may not be regulated but if they offer anything to be shipped via sea, they run the risk of being shut down until they get a special license. (I tried posting a more expansive comment but was unable to do so.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Geez, if you all have any friends on any of these US bases here in Japan, I do not need to let you know how dirt cheap it is to send stuff from the USA to any of these APOS.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am just wondering "how come" he apparently didn't have to apply for an OTI overseas transportation intermediary license?

It's been a bit of a long day, but I don't see in the article where it says he doesn't have one. We had many things shipped by Jaime in his last job, the customs papers were always perfect, never a hold up. He knows what he's doing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are several companies doing this already in market. I have been using Shipito for two years to do exactly the same.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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