Once he visited a second-hand shop in Cambodia, where he discovered was selling empty Japanese alcohol bottles. It occurred to him that what is considered utter waste in Japan may still be in demand in other countries, and subsequently started EcoEarth, a business to resell used items overseas, lead by his close work partner Ms. Iwahana.
In the very beginning of the new business, the company tried to sell on local online action websites, but the logistics and cash flow were both unideal, and in search of alternative trade route they very soon decided to advertise on SME News. What surprised Ms. Iwahana is how fast the order came in. Within 5 weeks of their launch their orders were enough to fill a 40 feet shipping container, and it’s said they have received repeat orders from the same buyer for over 40 containers of items now.
As for the communication with customers in English, Ms. Iwahana was first handling them by preparing template responses. However, the language barrier eventually became a problem as the workload to fulfill orders increased. Resolutely, the company created a job posting with a requirement for English language skill. “The recruiters told us there would be absolutely no applicants for such high requirement, and yet we went forth and received about 10 applications.” Working in post even today are two of them.
Besides her career of business management, Ms. Iwahana is also the president of “Mottainai Volunteer Project”, which is a charity selling used goods to fund Children’s home in Myanmar. “We will be able to help with child’s education by reducing waste and giving used items a second life even in a small amount”.