Saskia Chiesa, International Checkout Inc
Company: International Checkout Inc, Van Nuys, CA
Company Description: Since 2003, International Checkout has been at the forefront of global e- commerce, providing an integrated solution that includes a full range of services. By shifting fraud risk, fulfillment, customs documentation, merchandise returns, and customer service to International Checkout, merchants eliminate the risks and difficulties of conducting business internationally.
Nomination Category: Management Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Executive of the Year - Services
Nomination Title: Saskia Chiesa, President and CEO
Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since January 1 2010 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
Saskia Chiesa can thank her European friends for giving her the inspiration to launch International Checkout, a concierge shopping service that enables international consumers to acquire goods from the U.S. That’s because Chiesa – a native of the Netherlands who, after starring in the Milli Vanilli music video “Blame it on the Rain,” moved to the U.S. in 1998 – was constantly getting calls from her friends asking her to ship them shoes and clothes which they couldn’t buy directly from American retailers. Chiesa’s idea was that her company, which she started with just $1,500, could be the bridge that would allow just about anyone around the world to order American-made goods, in their own currency, and then receive shipment right to their doorsteps. In other words, Chiesa has created a whole new market segment for American-made goods at a time when the U.S. needs more exports – and new jobs – more than ever.
Chiesa recognized that most American retailers shied away from shipping internationally due the risk of fraud and the difficulties in delivering around- the-clock customer service and order fulfillment. Now, International Checkout enables any retailer, from the mom-and-pops to the big-boxes, to start selling to a global audience knowing that their customers will be protected from fraud and treated with world-class customer service. It’s typical that a retailer sees a 13% increase in sales after it partners with International Checkout.
Today, eight years after its launch, International Checkout enables more than 450 U.S. retailers, including Jockey.com, bebe.com, DrMartens.com, and Meijer.com, to connect with their loyal customers in more than 220 countries around the world, many of whom can purchase the goods they want in their own currency.
As a whole, International Checkout has enjoyed spectacular growing over the past year under Chiesa’s leadership as it has recently moved into a 16,000 square foot warehouse, which quadrupled the company’s space. International Checkout’s success has also been recognized by a variety of organizations and publications over the past year, including: • Winner: Inc. 500|5000 - 2010 (No. 610); 2009 (No. 61) • Winner: 2010, 84th Annual World Trade Week, Service to World Traders Award • Winner: 2010 US SBA Awards, Innovation through Technology Business of the Year • Los Angeles Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies in L.A. (No. 9) and Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Companies. • Winner, 2010 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, Best Overall Company
But Chiesa understands the strong links between entrepreneurship and community, which is why she has actively supported organizations like the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting at risk youths, located in Venice, CA, and HIRE LA’s Youth program over the past year. She also participated in “Principal for a Day”, a program organized through the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, where Chiesa helped students at a high school in Sun Valley, Calif., prepare for job interviews. Chiesa also dedicates much of her spare time to actively improving the lives of animals through her own 501(c) animal rescue organization, a no kill private shelter located in Chatsworth, Calif.
List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
http://www.inc.com/inc5000/2009/company-profile.html?id=200900610 http://www.inc.com/inc5000/profile/international-checkout http://www.sba.gov/content/us-small-business-administration-and-los-angeles-area-chamber-commerce-honor-small-business-accelerating-economic-recove http://www.lachamber.com/news/2010/05/03/press-release/governor-schwarzenegger-speaks-with-business-leaders-at-84th-annual-world-trade-week-kickoff-breakfast/ http://www.ladieswholaunch.com/magazine/sasia-strick-international-checkout/6064 http://www.internationalcheckout.com
Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the nominee:
Saskia Chiesa emigrated from Europe to Los Angeles in 1998 and was soon kept busy with requests from friends overseas anxious to acquire American goods. Recognizing that US retailers were missing out on the demand of international consumers, Chiesa, a single mother with less than $1500 in the bank, launched International Checkout in 2003. By guaranteeing the retailers against fraud, providing international fulfillment, and offering multi-lingual customer service, International Checkout enables US retailers to sell globally without risk or difficulty. International Checkout was ranked No. 61 on the 2009 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately held companies in America.