President Akihiko Tsukahara
- Wakayama Prefecture
I was born and raised in the city of Wakayama. I was a member of my junior high and high school soccer teams. I was not a very good player, but I did my best. Through the activity, I learned the joy of achieving personal goals, and moreover, it was good to make friends there. We still keep in touch and they are very special to me.
I was not very good at English, but I was very much interested in things overseas. I used to travel overseas and browsed eBay in my spare time. I was not trying to make a profit out of it, but I enjoyed communicating with international people. It was around 2002 when the internet was really becoming popular in Japan, and it was around that time when I thought I could work on something using the internet and conduct business with only a personal computer. It was then that I created my first website. I remembered having a new type of excitement about the experience. One day, I received an order on that website. I was thrilled, and my instinct told me: “This is it. This will be a good business.” Of course, the business had yet to generate a profit, but I liked it because I could work on my own schedule. I started the business in 2007.
First, I started with an internet business covering the domestic market, but I couldn’t make a living with it. My wife was a housewife, but she had to get a part-time job, and I had to work delivering newspapers. Before doing this business, I was working as a salesperson and I had a monthly sales quota. It was tough to meet my goals month after month. But those days were nothing compared with the pressure I felt after starting the internet business, as I had two young sons to raise. I was in my late 30s back then and I knew I didn’t have a second chance if I failed. I didn’t have much money, even for a can of coffee. In summers, after finishing delivering papers, I used to go to a park every day to drink tap water. I saw no prospects for a bright future back then.
One such day, I was advised by an acquaintance that I might have to focus on internet trading on eBay. I always made small profit out of it, but never thought about it as a business, because I was doing it only as a hobby. Then, the days of trial-and-error started as I repeatedly tested and analyzed my trading. Then, I started running a website for online shoppers overseas and it was a success. That was my turning point. Soon after, business picked up and I could live on the online export business alone. Even so, I continued working delivering newspapers until 2010, so as not to forget the hard days.
Today, I sell products on eBay and Amazon, and I’m running more than 250 cross-border e-commerce (EC) websites. I want more people to know about the online export business and I want introduce people overseas to a lot of good-quality Japanese products and services. I will keep working to support cross-border EC activities, by either individuals or companies, and will work as a bridge between Japanese companies and overseas shoppers.
- 10to1, Ltd.
- Osaka Prefecture
- Consulting services for cross-border e-commerce businesses