When I found out about Shopping Concierge, Big Apple Buddy, I was intrigued to find out more so asked co-founder, Phillis Chan to explain more.
Why did you start Big Apple Buddy?
When I moved to the US, we were inundated with requests from friends and family to help them buy goods from the US. They were excited that they finally knew someone in America who could help them buy the latest products before they got released locally. We knew there was a plethora of products and brands that only Americans had access to and, given how frequently we got requests to help, believed there must be other people around the world that could similarly use a friend or a “buddy” in the US. And that’s how Big Apple Buddy began!
When did you move to New York and why?
I left Melbourne in late 2012 with my husband to move to Chicago so he could attend business school. After he graduated, he received a job offer in finance in New York so we relocated in late 2014. We’ve been in New York for a few years now and still can’t get enough of the shops and restaurants this city has to offer!
What are the most sought after products people request?
Until the beginning of this year, Big Apple Buddy primarily focused on helping international customers buy tech products from the US. We would find ourselves receiving requests for all types of tech goods, including wearables, smart home products, mobile phones, AR/VR headsets and laptops.
This year, in response to customer feedback, we added three new verticals to our business: beauty, fashion and outdoor gear. Some popular stores we help people buy from include Sephora, Zara, Canada Goose, Tom Ford, Arcteryx and David Yurman. We also receive many requests for boutique brands such as Lo & Sons, Dagne Dover, Caraa, Allbirds and Mack Weldon.
How much does it cost?
The customer pays for the product (as charged by the store), international shipping (as charged by the shipping carrier), and a service fee for us to take care of the entire purchase for them. We’ve partnered with FedEx and DHL to offer our customers over 75% discounted shipping rates so our rates are quite competitive. The service fee is all we charge to source the items, inspect the goods upon arrival, repack the items and prepare all necessary shipping and customs documentation. For each order, our service fee is $50 for the first item and $15 for every additional item.
So if I read about something on the internet and it’s not available here in Australia, you can buy it on my behalf?
Yes, of course! All you have to do is get in touch with us via the contact form on our website and we can take care of the purchase for you. You can also email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org 😊
Why use a shopping concierge when I could go direct to the online store?
Unfortunately, many US stores do not ship internationally or accept non-US credit cards for payment. In those circumstances, an Australian shopper would not be able to purchase directly from those websites. We’re based in New York so we can step in and purchase from those stores on your behalf.
We also take the hassle out of international shopping for our customers. This includes dealing with any store issues that may arise and taking care of shipping and customs documentation to make sure the process is as seamless for our customers as possible. Even though we’re on the other side of the world, we try to make sure that our customers receive a hassle-free shopping experience!