Most micro-multinationals that we profile live in the digital realm. Their product or service is delivered as bits on the wire. Jadience is different. Jadience sells a line of health and skincare products and treatments that is rooted in Traditional Oriental Medicine. They send physical products to their customers, mostly spas in USA, Canada and Mexico.
Not Just Bits On The Wire
So Jadience have to deal with real world issues such as import/export regulations and tariffs, warehousing and inventory, picking & packing and delivery logistics. Being physical makes global expansion a bit tougher. Jadience source globally, mainly from Asia, but sell within the NAFTA free trade zone. Expanding beyond that is not as simple as taking a credit card order online. They have to think about distributors, retailers, tariffs, delivery and so on. Helping micro-multinationals with physical products to expand globally is an area where we expect to see a lot of innovation.
Biggest Challenge Running A Micro-Multinational
We asked Jadience’s founder, Jenelle Kim, what is the biggest challenge running a micro-multinational?
“Wow, depends which week you ask! There are many challenges. Because our products include supplements, herbs, and personal care products that are applied to the body, we have found that each country has unique industry regulations. Plus, the cost of the regulatory process can be high. We are in the process of investigating different global markets, and the language barrier comes into play; this requires the hiring of consultants before we even have a chance to really get a glimpse of the viability of different markets. The list goes on, but if I had to choose one challenge for us right now, it is the inability to have someone on the ground to meet with clients in certain geographic areas face-to-face. For example, a spa in Los Angeles will get more exposure to a rep than a spa in White Fish, Montana. As we continue to grow, this will change to an extent, and I am sure that as our computer networking infrastructure capabilities increase, we will have more of an ability to connect face-to-face via webcams, etc. However, I am a firm believer that face-to-face interactions provide the best connections.”
We asked Jenelle Kim how they would scale if capital were not a constraint. Would they stay with this networked model or move to a more traditional model? Jadience, possibly because they sell physical products, was the only micro-multinational we interviewed that suggested a traditional model might be better:
“At some point, because of the nature of our business (we manufacture tangible goods), it would make sense for us to do so in some capacity.”
The Distribution Challenge
Distribution is the key challenge:
“It could work if we had the right distributors in place. If we were to be doing this all on our own, I do not foresee that we would be able to do this completely under the current business model. However, we would definitely continue to use a combination of both, leveraging our ability to be closer to the client without being physically closer.”
Next is Micro-Multinational Worketc
This is the third in a series of five articles on micro-multinationals. Next is Worketc. If you run a micro-multinational and want to tell your tale to the world, send an email to bernard dot lunn at gmail dot com.
Dealing with all the hoopla of import/export regulations, currency conversion, etc. is not something I envy. Good luck to Jadience!
You could get through this kind of hoopla if you have good guides and support. The search engine Wolfram Alpha is a good start! 🙂