As a young adult living in a small city like Manhattan, Alex Zhou found it difficult to find dishes that tasted like home. He knew that he wasn’t alone in his struggle to find familiar Asian food products. This served as the motivation for him to launch his now multi-million dollar company.
After graduating, he committed to doing something about it. So he moved to LA, where there is a big population of Asians to be considered as his market, and started Yamibuy in 2013, an e-commerce site that caters to Asian Americans’ unique needs and tastes.
During that time, Alex had no idea how to run a business. He started from scratch and researched everything. He took strolls along Asian markets, studied and investigated their brands, and their customers and some of them eventually became his suppliers.
Alex also started out as a one-man show, selling Asian food products out of a 3,000-square-foot warehouse in Los Angeles. He took care of everything, including ordering orders from abroad, packaging goods, and providing customer support.
Now, Yamibuy has over 500 workers and 700,000 registered customers, as well as over 500,000 square feet of warehouse space in Los Angeles and New Jersey. It sells everything from snacks to health and cosmetic products to household appliances, essentially acting as an Amazon for Asian consumers.
What is Zhou’s advice for people who are hoping to start their own e-commerce business? “Take that first step.”