By NICO SCAVELLA
A YOUNG Bahamian woman frustrated with the high cost of shipping goods for her basketball camp one day promised herself she would find a way to combat high rates for herself and fellow Bahamians.
She decided to found her own company and thus, Mr Ship It was born. On September 1, the new Bahamian shipping company opened with the specific goal of “revolutionising the local shipping industry.”
Now, the company with the bald-headed “Superman” mascot is in its fourth week of operations on Rosetta Street, Nassau, and has already attracted over 1,500 customers.
Founder and Managing Director Jurelle Nairn called the new company the “super-hero of the freight forwarding industry in the Bahamas.”
“Our aim is to bring consumers the best shipping rates we possibly can and to save Bahamian consumers from high prices and provide better shipping options for them,” Ms Nairn said. “Our goal is to be the premier shipping company in the Bahamas for imports, similar to that of a UPS in the US or a Fedex.
“We have the lowest rate in the industry: $1.30 per pound,” she claimed. “We have innovative buying solutions such as our super-gift registry, Family Island forwarding and we also have loyalty points. The more you ship with us, the more you save, the more rewards we earn. My vision is to have this service throughout the Bahamas and eventually throughout the Caribbean.”
Ms Nairn recently returned home after 14 years in the United States. During that time, she gained technical expertise and her “business acumen” in the shipping industry as a Management Trainee at ABF Freight Systems, a lead source for supply chain management in the US.
Despite her experience in the shipping industry, however, Ms Nairn said it was her original passion for basketball that led to the conception of Mr Ship It.
After having played collegiate basketball at Salisbury University, Miami Dade College and North Carolina A&T State University and serving as the Director of Basketball Operations for the National Women’s Basketball Team, Ms Nairn said she felt compelled to “give back” to the community.
She started her non-profit “Ballin’ by Da Beach Girls Basketball Camp” in 2010, which runs annually at the Kendal Isaacs gymnasium.
The idea to start a shipping company consequently grew out of her frustration of trying to secure affordable shipments for items needed in the running of the camp. Facing the dilemma of not being able to find quality products at an affordable price in the Bahamas, Ms Nairn said she opted to purchase her items online. But then she faced another problem: the “daunting challenge” of importing those goods.
“With the camp, I’d always try to find a way to bring my items from the US to the Bahamas and try and create different methods to try and save as much as possible on the shipping rates,” she said. “It’s just a major cost when trying to get things from the US or anywhere back here. I used a few freight forwarding companies before, but it just wasn’t to my satisfaction the service I received.”
“We will provide Bahamians with better shopping alternatives, better measures and they will see savings with us,” she claimed. “At Mr Ship It, you’ll have real time tracking for your items and you’ll definitely have excellent customer service.”
The company has made an encouraging start. According to Ms Nairn, within six days of launching, the company had received over 1,000 “likes” on its Facebook page and at the end of last week had reached 1,779. On the company’s website, MrShipIt.com, the number of “sign-ups” for an account was 1,585.
Additionally, to mark their opening, the company partnered with “Real Talk” show host Ortland Bodie Jr to donate 50 back-to-school packages to students of Carmichael Primary and Ridgeland Park Primary.
“It definitely has been a challenge but with most challenges comes a great reward,” Ms Nairn said. “It was all worth it. I believe the company will do well.”