Hi, my name is Leslie Foxhoven.
I'm the president and founder of Aprisa Express.
Most importantly, we are honored to partner with the Smithsonian National Postal Museum
to explore the history and the development of the mail and parcel industry.
As a woman-owned business and a proud partner of the United States Postal Service
we're delighted to tell our story and contribute the small piece of history that we're creating today.
Aprisa Express is an international shipping and logistics company specializing in e-commerce,
mail, parcels, and freight.
We initiated services in Mexico and then expanded those services into South and Central America
and then subsequently the rest of the major markets in the world.
So in the late 1980s, if a US-based company wanted to sell their products overseas or
go global, it was happening but it didn't come without tremendous challenges.
So for the next few minutes let's say that your US-based book company and you're desiring
to go international and sell your books to various countries around the world.
First challenge is that there was no Internet for you use in order to identify your target markets.
So at that time, there would have been a company like Aprisa Express who would go out to the
local market let's say in Santiago Chile, identify local citizens as a target market
and then take that list back to you.
You as your book distributor would then prepare your database and do an international mailing
via US Postal Service to all of that target list, and then a company like Aprisa Express
would have received the returns and the orders from those individuals and then express that
shipment in those orders back to you.
You would then fulfill those orders and using United States Postal Service to ship the shipments
out into South and Central America.
Last challenge is that the track and trace at that time of shipments was minimal, shipments
were held in duty and customs, and duties and taxes were tremendous.
The bureaucracies there, nobody was held accountable and most of those international shipments
So let's now fast forward to 1995, and the late 1990s.
We now have the Internet. You're able to offer your books to the whole world.
Everybody's able to access your Internet website and now they're able to order.
Your next challenge is, how I'm going to get those shipments overseas, cost effectively,
without an issue in customs, and hold somebody accountable so that my client can receive
their book and have a seamless customer experience.
Well that is certainly not happening at that time frame because there was no way to control
the issues that were occurring in customs.
So many books, once again, we're being held, and abandoned, and lost in customs.
So you as a business owner are losing the product and losing the value of the book and
your client is typically unhappy because they now didn't have the order they had already paid for.
So as we fast forward to the 2000s, and up until today, we find many of those issues
have been resolved and we now have developed as US businesses customer bases around the
world, still struggling a bit with the issues and customs.
So many of the commodities arrive at the final destination and held in customs and abandoned.
So Aprisa has established a new duty and tax calculator.
So the way forward is that you're the same book salesmen today.
You now have your target list, people are going to your site to buy your books and now
you are able to say, click here.
And you can now find the total price, it includes your duty and tax, and guess what?
It's in your local currency.
So your customers are able to buy right there at that exact moment and in most cases request
a service that's one two three days.
So we are looking today at customer experience that is excellent.
Customers are receiving their books in one to three days.
There's no hold up in customs, and you as a publisher or as a book salesmen are no longer
losing any of your commodities in customs.
So what does the future hold for e-commerce?
It is so exciting to think about it.
The world is getting so much smaller every day.
Whether you're in China, in Shenzhen, or whether you're in Retalhuleu, Guatemala, you are going
to expect your deliveries to be made just as if your client of a book salesman in
New York City and you're living in Pasadena, Texas.
What your customers are now going to expect with the iPhones and all the new apps,
they're going to be going online, they're going to be on a train, they're going to look for your
website, place in order, have all the data uploaded and be getting deliveries within
one to two days regardless of where you're based around the world.
They'll have multiple solutions to choose from.
There will be no losses in customs, and all of the deliveries will be seamless.
And we have absolutely crushed the myth that shipping creates a black hole.
Everyone will be held accountable and the one great things that you'll be able to count
on the United States Postal Service department and companies like Aprisa to deliver the best,
seamless solutions for all US-based businesses so we can continue to be the proudest companies
in the world offering our products to every country.
We want to give a special thank you to all those at the Smithsonian who realize the importance
of telling this story on a large scale.
It's been a blessing to be involved
and thank you so much.