In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Pearl Ausch brings forth her experience with simplifying Amazon global logistics, and discusses leading First Choice Shipping as the COO. Pearl shares her life story and her passion for helping Amazon sellers from all over the world to easily handle Amazon logistics.
Logistics in e-commerce can be a stumbling block for some business owners. Expanding your company into the international market is not a simple process. But there are companies out there that can definitely help you simplify the process! Yoni Mazor of Prime Talk discusses international tax rules and logistics and how you can start to expand your business internationally.
In today’s episode, Prime Talk has teamed up with Pearl Ausch, the COO of First Choice Shipping, a company that specializes in providing every possible service that Amazon sellers might need in order to expand into international markets. They offer a dedicated team of experts to help you take the stress out of the e-selling process.
Pearl Ausch shares her interesting story from a lowly customer service rep in a fledgling shipping company to becoming COO of the same company. So if you’re an Amazon seller looking to expand your market but you’re not sure where to start, then this episode is for you!
Learn more about First Choice Shipping!
Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:05
Hi, everybody and welcome to another episode of Prime Talk. Today I’m really excited to have a special guest. I’m having Pearl Ausch. She is the COO of First Choice Shipping, which is a leading global logistics services platform for e-commerce sellers. So if you’re trying to ship your products anywhere in the world, these guys are hot. They’re really, really good. Back in the day when I was selling on Amazon, I used them. So I’m really deeply familiar with the experience and it was really positive. Pearl, welcome to the show.
Pearl Ausch 0:32
Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for having me, happy to be on.
Yoni Mazor 0:35
Our pleasure. Really today it’s gonna be all about you. This is your episode. So without further ado, just tell us your story: where you’re from, where’d you grow up? What’s your background? Go ahead.
Pearl Ausch 0:46
Sure. nothing, no fancy stuff. Like many of the other guests who have had on um, you know, I come from a very simple Hasidic background. Grew up in Brooklyn went to a Hasidic Old World school.
Yoni Mazor 0:59
When do you say Hasidic, which stream do you mean?
Pearl Ausch 1:07
Yoni Mazor 1:08
Yeah, like which (Hebrew) they say…like which…?
Pearl Ausch 1:11
Okay, so I can’t say, you know, my family didn’t really belong to a certain sect, you know, Satmar is our background. I married into a Pupa family.
Yoni Mazor 1:24
Pearl Ausch 1:29
Pupa. P U P A. Yes. So again, we weren’t like, you know, from those families that are going according to every little tradition when it comes to the hasidas as you say. But we definitely, you know, were a very orthodox and are orthodox family.
Yoni Mazor 1:47
Which better Brooklyn? For perspective. (Borough Park.) Okay, good. Yeah, yeah, pretty much the heart.
Pearl Ausch 1:56
Oh, yes. You can’t get better than that. We live like right on 13th Avenue, which is like, you know, the epitome of what Brooklyn Borough Park is like.
Yoni Mazor 2:04
So you’re born and raised in Borough Park. And are you still there currently?
Pearl Ausch 2:07
Yes. Yes. Born and raised. Learned here, lived here. I continued living here after I married so yeah, you can’t get better than that. So yeah, so basically, like I said, I went to that, you know, Hasidic school. And just a regular basic education through high school, no fancy college kind of stuff after school. Um, so, you know, I really, really started on the, you know, the very bottom. So, my very first experience was working in a medical office, literally just like wanted to just get my feet wet. Like whatever came my way.
Yoni Mazor 2:51
I guess the first professional job opportunity that came over you took it and this is what year we’re talking about here? Approximately.
Pearl Ausch 2:56
Classifieds in you know, the newspaper. I was like, Okay, sounds good. Have you been traveling like an hour every day? It was like ridiculous.
Yoni Mazor 3:06
Oh, you were going to Manhattan, to New York City?
Pearl Ausch 3:08
Went into Williamsburg actually, which is also..
Yoni Mazor 3:10
Took a whole hour?
Pearl Ausch 3:12
Took a whole hour, you know, there’s traffic in the morning and then traffic in the afternoon when it’s coming back a rush hour. So that was just crazy.
Yoni Mazor 3:19
But what year was that, the year you started, I guess, your professional career or start working?
Pearl Ausch 3:22
That would be 2011.
Yoni Mazor 3:28
Got it, about nine years ago.
Pearl Ausch 3:30
Exactly nine years ago that sounds pretty pretty on point. So that’s, that’s where I started. I was there for like a year. Then I moved on. And I was like, Okay, I think we need something closer to home. So I found something in Brooklyn and I was actually working at a car leasing company.
Yoni Mazor 3:45
You say in Brooklyn, you were already in Brooklyn with Williamsburg. Just for perspective she, you know, Brooklyn is so big, every neighborhood is like a town for any other place in America.
Pearl Ausch 3:57
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So basically, we went, I was working in Williamsburg, which was like an hour away from Borough Park, we went back to Borough Park. I did like car leasing, which was so random. Literally were like a broker for people looking to lease a car, getting them a good deal. So I started out over there doing customer service and a little bit of like sales admin kind of stuff, sales and marketing. Um, and then I was like, just like, this is not really…I don’t see any growth opportunities over there. And we continue looking at funny enough, like before I even made that decision to move on. My husband’s like, okay, she’s miserable. This is not working without even telling me anything. He went to the classifieds, and one of the local newspapers and he saw an opportunity at First Choice Shipping, looking for just an entry-level customer service rep. And he’s like, okay, let’s send her resume. He sent it in. I had no idea. So I’m sitting at this company where I was working at, this leasing company and I get a phone call. And it was Saul, Vizel, our CEO calling at that time. And he’s like, Oh, I just saw your resume. Would you like to come in? So I totally was playing along, like, yeah, sure, no problem. Came down. And I was lucky enough because, at that time, it was a very new company. It was very, you know, not developed yet. So automatically when you’re working for a company like that, there’s a lot of growth opportunity, if the owners allow that, which I’m lucky enough that they did. So I started as a customer service rep….
Yoni Mazor 5:32
But what year was that, just again for chronology? 2011, you started with the medical billing, and then you transferred to leasing. I’m not sure if it’s the same year or not.
Pearl Ausch 5:41
But I would say 2013. 2013. Yeah. I was like two years at the leasing place. Yeah, it was 2013-2014. I’m not even…yeah, some somewhere around that. I’m at First Choice for six years, I would say probably closer to 2014.
Yoni Mazor 5:57
Yeah. So you hit it from the ground up, from the rock bottom, you’re in a fresh young company, in an explosive industry, the e-commerce industry? The mindset over there is that obviously there’s room for growth, and the owners of the company are, I guess they encourage entrepreneurship and leadership and your story continues on the bottom. So let’s hit it.
Pearl Ausch 6:18
Absolutely. So at that time, okay, so I was doing regular customer service. And, you know, we really got close to our customers. And they built really nice relationships with the customer base. And slowly we’re like, you know what, maybe we become a little bit more professional, let’s update our logo, we start updating our logos, I got involved with a sales, marketing kind of stuff. And then we realize, you know, operationally, we could do better. Let’s try to upgrade our ticketing system. And I helped change it into…we went from just regular emails to a program called Zendesk, which I’m sure a lot of your audience is familiar with, which is a great ticketing system. So we switched to that. And then instead of just like, you know, doing everything, you know, yelling across the office, we upgraded, we got Slack. And we slowly started implementing procedures and policies. And, you know, that was going on for like, two, three years. And we really grew very, very nicely. And what we, our big break was going back, like I would say, three years ago, when one of our clients was at the CES show in Vegas, which is like…
Yoni Mazor 7:24
Just for perspective, a Consumer Electronics Show, right? CES in Vegas. It’s a massive show, usually in February, if i’m right?
Pearl Ausch 7:30
Yes, exactly. Exactly. So it’s like you said, it’s the largest electronics show of the year. And a lot of Amazon representatives are attending. And their purpose of going is trying to recruit people that are Amazon sellers, to expand to international marketplaces. But when I started out, our niche was, you know, basically the owner so there was a demand of people wanting to ship to the UK, Amazon, more specifically…
Yoni Mazor 8:00
So that was kind of your early beginning bread and butter. Right? From Amazon North America, you want to, you know, pave your way into the UK. That was your you know, you got how you guys already build the highway. Make it easy.
Pearl Ausch 8:12
Exactly. It was like literally a goldmine at that time. People were selling boatloads of product over there. And so they came in and they offered carriers options at a much cheaper rate because it combined with what their customer base was shipping.
Yoni Mazor 8:31
I guess it’s a good point. It’s a good time for now let’s dive into First Choice. What’s the experience like? So feel free to share the experience? You know, I’m an Amazon seller, what, uh, what am I experiencing back then? And what am i experiencing now?
Pearl Ausch 8:43
But yeah, so at that time, basically, you know, the UK was a very interesting option just because the country, the UK, wasn’t so I guess, on top of people paying the VAT and registering for VAT and the shipping was a simpler process. So naturally, like it was the very first place that people would expand to after the US. It’s an English speaking country, the cultures are very similar. You know, the type of items that they want to have are very similar to what we want, because of the culture being similar. So it was a very close second option to what people were doing in the US. They figured, you know, there’s a lot of competition in the US. You know, people are busy fighting over, those were the bidding wars, the whole day, you know, who could be the cheapest on their listings. Moving over to the UK were way less people that they were fighting with. So it was a was a great option for people to want to expand their the hurdle people were having was with a shipping so let’s say if I want to travel to the UK tomorrow, buying a house obviously during COVID that’s not happening, but yeah, but if I want to if I want to travel now, to the UK, a ticket is going to cost six $700 right? If I want to ship, same idea, if I go directly to let’s say, UPS, DHL, or FedEx, which are some of the most popular carriers to ship with, the rates are going to be very expensive. So what our owners figured out at that time was if we combine the effort of a bunch of different sellers all together, we’re going to get a volume discount and like that we’re able to ship affordably. So this is how they started out. Amazon got wind of it going back to the CES show, and they were talking to some of their larger clients that were very successful in the UK at that time. And they said, Look, what are you doing differently than what my other sellers are doing in my portfolio that you’re doing better? So they said, Look, one of the reasons we are doing so well is because of a company called First Choice Shipping. So at that time, literally that night, I remember getting an email late that night, from two reps from Amazon saying we want to get onto a call immediately. So that was incredible. The next day. It was just, you know, Heaven Sent. It was just a lucky break. Oh, yeah, that’s our lucky break for sure. So, Amazon, you know, we spoke to them. And we started showing them our process, which is our website, we have our own custom portal.
Yoni Mazor 11:15
Yeah, you have a platform dashboard. It’s really good. It’s handling is great.
Pearl Ausch 11:19
Amazing. So UX is super dumbed down, people have a very easy time creating shipments. So that was another struggle people had creating shipments on a platform like UPS, DHL, and FedEx takes forever. Like we had just a couple weeks ago during COVID, we were helping a lot of people bring PPE from China. And at one point, there was an issue with FedEx, that we couldn’t do it on the website for like an hour. And we were trying to process labels on FedEx comm directly. And I can tell you, I’m pretty tech savvy, especially I have a lot of background with shipping at this point in the company for six years. I could not figure it out. There was no way. So like, just the fact of having people that are able to go onto our website create shipments so easily was a huge break for Amazon as well. So they saw the portal and they were completely sold. And I, you know, since then we’ve updated the portal so many times. And it’s amazing. It’s very robust. And we’re going to be doing, you know, updates with adding new services very soon as well. But going back to that, what we worked out with Amazon was a process of making it very simple for somebody to expand. So what we did is we partnered up with different companies like Avast you mentioned to me that you’re a partner of theirs as well.
Yoni Mazor 12:35
Yeah, Melanie was on the show a few episodes, episodes ago.
Pearl Ausch 12:40
She’s amazing. Yeah, she’s the best. Oh, yeah, Melanie. So we partnered up with companies like that. So we work with Avast to help sellers set up their VAT registration, we actually have a very good discount if they’re coming through First Choice Shipping as well. Um, and basically we do the VAT registration, then the shipping. And then we work with a company like Payoneer, which I believe you work with as well, to bring money back. So we spoke with Amazon to come up with this great model of having that perfect puzzle to fill in all the needs that people need. And this is exactly what we’ve been doing since. And every single time they’re launching a new platform, most recently, we launched Amazon Singapore with them because they’re doing FBA there, too. We work together with Amazon coming up with a plan, what do you need in order for this to be successful? What rates need to be there, we also act as their importer, which is a huge struggle that people have, you need to have someone else representing you in that country because Amazon is not going to represent you. They’re, you know, an entity for themselves. And they don’t want to be bothering with that. So we act as your importer too, which is a huge struggle that people have, and all that together, we were able to really get into a place of launching each marketplace separately. And thank God, we’ve never turned back since. It’s been amazing. Since the very first phone call. I just remember literally it was like the small little office that we used to be in, when we were 1200 square feet, and now you know, we moved just a couple months ago. We’re in a close to 5000 square foot office and our plan is to hopefully expand soon. So yeah, it’s just amazing how Amazon is able to build other businesses off theirs. And then in place, we are also, you know, helping Avast build theirs and then Payoneer with theirs. And it’s been amazing. So yeah, so being a customer service rep to where I’m at right now naturally it just like progressed over the years.
Yoni Mazor 14:38
Yeah you’re in the forefront of helping Amazon expansion, expand globally that’s a probably in your wildest dreams you didn’t think that you know starting with this position, you’re going to team up hand in hand with Amazon to really be an integral part of the role the domination which is for them a big thing right now. Lets touch your experience it within this process, you know the past six years, you know? We touched you pretty rapidly, but from customer service all the way up to a COO. It’s pretty dramatic, I guess. Along the way, what was the experience? Or what were your, like main challenges and how’d you overcome them, for example?
Pearl Ausch 15:14
Um, okay, so yeah, there have been so many challenges. But the reason why I ended up, you know, getting into this role is because of the challenges, right? So you’re dealing with Amazon, you want things to be absolutely perfect. So going, you know, the website is one thing, but our customer service is something that I personally don’t take very lightly at all. So I could say that I’m a little bit, maybe I have a little bit crazy expectation…
Yoni Mazor 15:43
I call it passion, you’re very, you’re passionate, driven to excel and the experi…you know, good customer service experience for us, you know?
Pearl Ausch 15:51
I always tell my team, there are 1000s of shipping companies in the world. 1000s, you know? Google it. Why did Amazon reach out to a company like us? There has to be more than just one reason. And I would say from the top reasons is because of our service, we do not let an email go more than an hour without being responded to, I always say half hour, it should be 15 minutes to a half-hour. But obviously, an hour is like, okay, like after an hour, it’s not acceptable anymore. So it’s not like, I’m going to tell somebody you know, you have 100 emails to answer and make sure it gets answered in an hour, we’re going to make sure, firstly, if we can set up certain automation, we’ll do that. Most recently, we did set up an automation with Zoho, which is something that we’re in the middle of building, it’s a CRM, but we do make sure if you need help, we’ll get you the help. But we do have a lot of very high expectations for our team. And if we don’t meet those expectations, then there’s another company waiting to do what we do. Of course, you know, if things take time to set up, and it’s not happening so quick for, you know, a company to start using somebody else like Amazon. But of course, that’s something that we always make sure we want to be on top of our game. And I would say Customer service is the number one thing. So when I…
Yoni Mazor 17:07
Where does that drive coming from you? That’s what I’m curious about? Because you came from the sidelines and you were you? Is this the drive? I’m trying to identify the source of this drive? Is this from your family, your parents were business owners or somebody in your surrounding was a big influence? Where did this attention to and compassion towards, you know, the value of what you bring as a company? From the employee all the way up? Where’s it coming from? Well, if you have to look deep inside, what would you say?
Pearl Ausch 17:36
It’s a good question. Um, I’ll tell you, I don’t I was not, I was not the best student, if you’re going to be if we’re going to be very real and honest, I wasn’t. Maybe it’s me trying to prove myself that I could be better than that. Um, but I didn’t care so much for school, except for the certain subjects that I was very passionate about. And that’s why I very strongly believe in giving kids that extracurricular outlet. So I think that, you know, the school that I’ve been in, they were very hard on us academically, it was a very, also very high achieving kind of school. And yeah, there was a lot of that I wanted to prove to myself, I can’t say I’m coming from a family of entrepreneurs, that is going to be a big lie, because it’s not the case. My mother is very, very driven. And you know, she definitely is similar in nature, how ballbuster you could say, yes, big time. But no, she’s actually a very successful makeup artist, my mother weirdly enough very different kind of industry. But she definitely Yeah, we definitely got the work ethic from her. You know, my brothers are also very, very driven. I think it’s just like that burning desire in us that we want to be, you know, the best that we could be.
Yoni Mazor 18:58
Do you feel that you’re getting every customer that comes in, it’s like a test for you. And because you’re being tested, you have to excel and succeed in every single test even on the my, you know, the minute level all the way to the major challenges that you’re facing along with your clients. Is that….?
Pearl Ausch 19:14
Absolutely. Like, we were very hard on ourselves, especially in the beginning. Like now we’re taking a little bit more of a relaxed approach. And what I mean by relaxed is that we won’t necessarily enter a WhatsApp message at 10 o’clock at night for like, how could I…I can’t create a label now? And I know
Yoni Mazor 19:31
Yeah, the office infrastructure.
Pearl Ausch 19:35
Nobody’s picking up now your package like it’s okay? So I used to be like, around the clock. Crazy, crazy hours didn’t make any sense.
Yoni Mazor 19:44
But let’s not forget that you’re, you know, you’re a married woman. You’re an orthodox, Hasidic woman. And I there’s children, I assume? There’s…I’m not sure how many.
Pearl Ausch 19:54
See my background right there? You see my pictures? This is like, my pride and joy. This is my office but like, yeah.
Yoni Mazor 20:00
Yeah, that’s what we all do it for, for sure. 100% Oh, yeah. How many children are you raising right now?
Pearl Ausch 20:05
Three, three children. I have a six month old at home. So…
Yoni Mazor 20:09
Pearl Ausch 20:10
Oh, thank you. Thank you. So yeah, this is definitely the reason why we do it. But you know what my son is here with me. Because like I said, before we started like now it’s like in between COVID, daycare, and COVID day camp, but it’s…In New York right now nothing is looking…
Yoni Mazor 20:27
Yeah, it’s a major balancing act for many communities.
Pearl Ausch 20:30
It’s impossible. But you know what he’s proud of. He sees his mother doing what she does. And he wants to go, you know, like now that kids are making carnivals the whole day on the street. Like, that’s how they’re keeping themselves occupied. So he wants to go buy some goldfish, he decided he wanted to buy goldfish on Friday, obviously, goldfish is, we’re not talking about expensive kind of stuff. But I said,
Yoni Mazor 20:52
It’s not made out of gold, you’re saying.
Pearl Ausch 20:54
Yeah, this is not what we’re working for. But this is how we teach our kids the value. I told them, you know, you want to buy goldfish, like, do you know when mommy’s in a meeting? Now I understand why, right? So you can buy these things, we want you to have all these special things. You know he’s working right now, on a chart, he wants to get a nice bike, a bike is not cheap.
Yoni Mazor 21:13
How old is your son?
Pearl Ausch 21:14
He’s eight. Actually, he’s gonna be 8 in a week, but yeah, he’s 8. You know, the older they get the higher expectations they have for what they want. And, you know, my parents did struggle a little financially. I would say, that’s probably one of the other reasons why we’re so driven, my family, you know, her children, they did struggle financially through the years.
Yoni Mazor 21:35
So beyond the passion for a good experience, there’s also financial drive, you know, to financially improve your financial state?
Pearl Ausch 21:43
Absolutely, absolutely. Well, you know, what, I think the amount of work that we put in and with the financial gain that we have, you know, obviously with each position you grow in your position plus your financials as well. But I don’t know if it was as much as you know, oh, I’ll be able to make more money. As long as we were comfortable, we were okay. And I don’t think that was really the drive behind it. But yeah, nobody wants to ever feel like they’re staying in that one place. That’s never a stable place to be in, you always want to grow. I always say it’s either you’re going up or you’re going down. There’s no, there’s no in-between.
Yoni Mazor 22:15
I mean, there’s also in the spiritual, there’s an element like that. They’re saying spiritually, there’s no middle ground, it’s either going up or going down. So you’re saying this, it was the same thing principle for you, you know, in your professiona