IpCourier’s 5-year surge
IN the world of e-commerce, success often arises from solving everyday challenges. For Gavin Lindsay, CEO of Internet Package Courier (IpCourier), and his entrepreneurial team, the journey began with a simple frustration.
Lindsay, along with his younger cousin Jermaine Newman and wife Nastassia Lindsay, saw an opportunity to revolutionise the shipping industry. It all started when Jermaine began selling fashion accessories and camera gear, relying on a traditional courier service provider that brought with it a barrage of communication issues and logistical headaches. Frustration led to inspiration, and together they decided to eliminate the middleman, taking charge of their own shipping operations. As Gavin puts it, “We realised that once we connected with the people in Miami, we could do this, and do it efficiently.”
In May of 2018, with unwavering determination and minimal resources, Lindsay and Newman embarked on their shipping venture, handling single-item shipments from Miami to Jamaica. Their early journey, however, encountered a significant hurdle during their first interaction with Jamaica Customs Agency.
“Me and Jermaine nearly cried; they charged us $32,000, at the time, for the duty on the items that were coming for the three of us. We didn’t have any money [so] we had to scrape together three credit cards to pay for the items at that time,” Lindsay recalls the moment vividly.
It was indeed a risky endeavour for Lindsay and Newman to operate an unregistered shipping courier business. The potential breach of Customs regulations loomed as a constant risk, and their situation drew the attention of a vigilant Customs agent. However, wasting no time, they embarked on the journey to secure legitimacy. Once officially registered, IpCourier began its operations with a single Honda Fit motor vehicle.
What set the company apart was its pioneering approach to courier services – strictly online, with no physical location. Embracing their resource constraints, they cleverly marketed the concept of online shopping with doorstep delivery.
“I came up with the brilliant idea of offering free delivery to everybody,” Lindsay told the Jamaica Observer as he reflected on those early days.
The excitement of their success fuelled their commitment to swift deliveries, prompting them to establish a rigorous process, operating from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. However, their innovative approach, while brilliant, wasn’t without its sceptics, who questioned the legitimacy of their business.
“We absorbed that cost just to get a foothold in the market,” Lindsay explained to Sunday Finance.
Following this pivotal moment, IpCourier experienced a rapid surge in its customer base, with a thousand new customers signing up. This influx, however, presented a logistical challenge in December of 2019. Lindsay recalled, “The truck turned over on us; we couldn’t manage to deliver all the packages. There were so many packages that we had to improvise. We found a friend on Paraiso Avenue who kindly offered his car park. We unloaded all the packages onto the ground, scattered across the car park, and directed customers to meet us there.”
This incident marked a turning point as word quickly spread about IpCourier’s reliability, efficiency, and affordability. “Because we delivered packages so swiftly, customers were often caught off guard. Some didn’t have cash on hand when we arrived at their homes, and they would hide inside because they weren’t expecting the goods to arrive so promptly,” Lindsay humorously mentioned.
“It was in our best interest to get the goods out quickly as we simply didn’t have the space to store them,” he added.
The journey for IpCourier was marked by a constant need for expansion, mirroring the company’s growth. The delivery vehicle transitioned from a Honda Fit to a Subaru and then to a bus. However, the challenges they encountered were like water rolling off their backs, and they persevered. They also had to overcome setbacks, such as the theft of a second bus within a month. But IpCourier was undeterred by these obstacles, continually evolving.
Its physical locations also evolved.
“We kept outgrowing every space that we were in,” Lindsay explained to Sunday Finance.
IpCourier moved from Paraiso Avenue to a second location and then to another before finally settling at 64 Hagley Park Road, which required a significant amount of investment. Lindsay summed up the bold approach by saying, “Scared money doesn’t make money. We believe that if we want to expand, we have to create the space for that expansion.”
Alongside the physical expansion came team growth, with the company scaling from a team of three to a formidable team of 35.
Its business took off like a rocket, with airfreight comprising a staggering 90 per cent of their operations, while sea freight made up the remaining 10 per cent. They openly acknowledge that Shein shoppers and Amazon have emerged as their most significant revenue generators. What’s more, profits have shown a consistent trend of doubling year after year. This resounding success is attributed to their unwavering commitment to providing exceptional customer service.
Lindsay emphasised the company’s dedication to transparency and responsiveness, stating, “IpCourier is transparent, and we’re very reactive. When customers send us information, we respond promptly.”
In the realm of online transactions, doorstep delivery, and continuous communication regarding customers’ packages, the company takes pride in a policy of responding to every e-mail within 24 hours, holding its staff members accountable to this standard.
IpCourier is currently in the process of expanding its operations, with ambitious plans to develop its warehouse in Miami into a full-fledged fulfilment centre. Lindsay expressed to Sunday Finance that his vision extends beyond just shipping, he envisions empowering average Jamaicans to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of their nation.
“Jamaicans are hustlers; everybody sells merino, swimwear, and more. What if IpCourier could provide you with the opportunity to sell to North Americans? We are actively working on creating a platform where the average person can sell their products to residents of the United States and Canada, all facilitated through our Miami warehouse,” said Lindsay.