We believe in borderless shopping, without shipping.
Back in 2018 a friend of mine in New York bought a remote control car for my eldest son's birthday. He ordered it online and set the delivery address as mine, in the UK. Just after my son's birthday I started receiving cryptic messages from my New York friend asking how the party was. He was obviously digging for feedback as to his gift. After a while he straight out asked how the remote control car was working out. To which I replied, 'What car?'.
Well, two weeks after my son's birthday there was a knock at the door and a delivery guy handed me a customs bill for £70 and said there was a package for me in the van. I sent him away and called my friend to ask him to contact the delivery firm. He did, and paid the customs bill. Then, and only then, was the package delivered. It was a great car, we had a lot of fun with it. It was a shame the whole process was so shambolic and bereft of the spirit of 'gifting'.
I called my friend to thank him and asked him why he didn't just ask me to buy the car locally and fix a gift message to it from him. He admitted that would have been easier but asked 'How would I have paid you back?'. Of course there are ways and means to do just that but we both agreed it was clunky and sub-optimal. He also quite rightly said that he wanted the car to be a surprise for me too. To show my wife and I that he cared as much to bother buying a gift. 'Asking you to buy it,' he stated 'would have killed that'. He hasn't bothered again. Which is a shame for both of us, not to mention my sons.
It was shortly after that that I had an epiphany of sorts. I knew from personal experience that sending a gift to an overseas friend was a messy event. With overseas websites rarely able to take an overseas order or indeed the shipping costs and cross border charges from here to there being so punitive, I thought about just how many other people may want to get gifts to people abroad. Moreover, I thought how interesting it would be if there were a simple universal way with which I could get stuff online, all over the world, without borders getting in the way.
It didn't take long for me to realise that if I wanted to send a present to Australia then there would be people in Australia who would be willing to buy it online locally and send it to where I needed it, with a gift message from me. That way, I would be able to shop online in the UK, and have a locally sourced item in Australia, delivered to an address in Australia, the day after. That would save me lots of time and piles of money. Moreover, If I could do that in Australia then why couldn't I and anyone else on the planet do that from any country to any country. That would be true borderless online shopping.
I also started thinking about the many times I have travelled abroad on family holidays or business trips and needed something quickly & conveniently that would have enhanced the trip. Normally I would just forget about it or go queue up at a local store to get it, eating up time and money in the process. How cool would it be if I could fire up and app and get stuff online delivered to my villa rental or villa rental the next day, as if I were a local?
So here we are some 10 months later and we are weeks away from launching the world's first cross border e-commerce marketplace. Where people from all over the world will be able to shop online in any country, as if they were a local.