Shortly after moving to the US from Australia, Ms Chan found herself inundated with the requests of friends and acquaintances back home seeking the latest gadgets and designer clothing from the US.
It didn’t take Ms Chan long to spot an opportunity in these savvy shoppers for whom existing online retailers were simply too limiting. Big Apple Buddy was born.
“We quickly found ourselves sending back home gadgets and designer clothes that were only available in America on a regular basis. We figured there must be other people around the world who would similarly want to access the US market but did not have a contact in America to assist with their purchases,” said Ms Chan.
Big Apply Buddy, an online shopping concierge service, was launched to address the needs of shoppers not just in Australia but for others around the world. The service offers a bespoke shopping experience by sourcing requested items for the best price and ensuring a speedy delivery.
Ms Chan believes it is “Big Apple Buddy’s high quality customer service that sets it apart from other players in the online shopping space.
“At Big Apple Buddy, we understand that customer service can make or break shopping experiences. Delivering high quality service is therefore the cornerstone of our business.”
Since the launch of Big Apple Buddy in 2014, the online service has grown to serve clients in over 50 countries around the world with a team of employees based in Manhattan.
Cross-border shopping is the fastest growing branch of international e-commerce according to a Nielsen Company study commissioned by PayPal. Global online purchases are expected to triple by 2018.
Ms Chan concedes that the path to success has been no easy ride. She says having the flexibility to adapt and learn on the job has been key to getting through the difficult times and jumping the hurdles thrown in her path.
“When starting your own business, there is a plethora of tasks that you will need to attend to and despite the best made plans, you will encounter obstacles that you won’t even think of.”
When asked what advice she would give to someone else considering giving up a secure career to start an online business, Ms Chan says it is important to understand that starting on your own will be a lot tougher than following a set career path. Having the right personal qualities will get you through.
“Having self-motivation and drive is crucial to getting through the ugly times so make sure you’re prepared for a bumpy ride,” said Ms Chan.
Despite having a long and successful career ahead, Ms Chan said she saw Big Apple Buddy as “an opportunity to build something from scratch, to do something far more rewarding. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
“To all those looking to leave a secure career to start their own business, my advice is to ignore the skeptics.”
Big Apple Buddy is constantly innovating its service and has already set expansion plans in motion.
“We see significant potential in partnering up with more traditional concierge type services in our target markets.
“We’ve helped many of these services deliver products to their clients on a one-off basis already so we’d be interested in developing deeper relationships with these businesses in the future,” said Ms Chan.