Toby Maurice is one of the co-founders of Wipebook – an Ottawa-based technology company that has developed an innovative erasable notebook.
You can learn more about their export success story here.
What was your first export sale?
It was an e-commerce sale on our web store wipebook.com, and through our initial Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $420,000 in one month and had backers in more than 10 countries.
How did that first export opportunity arise?
Our first export sale was a result of a customer finding us on the web, again through e-commerce and through our initial Kickstarter campaign. E-commerce has been an integral part of our business.
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
We definitely know more about customs, Harmonized Item Description and Coding System (HS codes) and NAFTA. It isn’t as scary as you think to move product south of the border.
How has the trading world changed since you started in business?
The U.S. introduced new legislation (this past February) known as the U.S. Customs Reauthorization Bill. Specifically, Section 321 allows most goods with a value of $800 (U.S.) or less to enter the United States free of duty and fees and without filing an entry. It basically implies that we can export products to the U.S. that are under $800 (U.S.) on a per-order basis duty free; but it was $200 when we started.
What is the #1 thing new SMEs need to know about export and trade?
For Canadians, concentrate on the U.S. and potentially hope to expand into Mexico and South America. Shipping overseas, from our experience, can get pretty expensive and risky. Again, that is just from our experience.