Headed by CEO John Vanhara, Shipito is a Torrance, California-based mail forwarding company that lets shoppers around the world buy from US companies that do not ship internationally. Originally started as a way to fill some excess space in a warehouse that was used to import bicycles, Shipito grew faster than expected, eventually surmounting the original bicycle business. At present, the company processes more than 50,000 packages per month in its warehouses. Its growth for the past three years was a staggering 5,254 percent.
In 2011, Shipito ranked number 37 on the Inc. 500 list and was named America’s fastest-growing logistics and transportation company by the magazine. Earlier this month, the company added another warehouse in Hawthorne, “as other California warehouses are completely full,” according to its blog. Shipito also has locations in Oregon, China, and Hong Kong.
Vanhara, whose mission is to make shipping simple and affordable for overseas customers, says, “In the US, we feel we don’t need the rest of the world because this market is so big. If a company can’t ship to Austria or Australia, they don’t really care.”
Vanhara and his team do, however. The process goes something like this: an international buyer shops at a US-based online store and provides Shipito’s address to the merchant. Shipito receives the package then sends it to the customer’s address via a variety of shipping methods, which includes USPS, FedEx, and DHL. The company charges $8.50 and the actual postage for each package (up to 30 pounds), as well as repacks items into the smaller and fewer parcels to minimize costs.
Aside from mail forwarding, Shipito also offers assisted purchase services. Customers who don’t own or aren’t comfortable with using a credit card can have the company shop for them in both online and brick and mortar stores.