worldBOX CEO, Bernie Kinsella

worldBOX CEO, Bernie Kinsella

Over the coming weeks we'll be interviewing each of the eleven finalists taking part in The AIB Start-Up Academy. This week we caught up with Bernie Kinsella, CEO of worldBOX, to find out what it's like to be part of an Irish start-up and the key pieces of advice she has been given so far in her career.

worldBOX is an innovative, international delivery service from your doorstep. It allows consumers to ship from Ireland to 222 countries worldwide.

worldBOX is digitally-focused, offers transparent pricing, full track and trace services and great value for money.  It promises excellent service with free boxes, free delivery of the box and free collection of the box.

What prompted you to start your business?
My original business was focused on business customers. One day a staff member from one of our large corporate accounts complained that the shipping service available to the general public was expensive, difficult and annoying. It got me thinking, “I could do way better than that!”

Why did you choose to go into the transport industry? What research did you undertake before starting out?
It’s the industry I knew and understood. I could give customers access to cheaper rates and a much better service by reusing our business-focused services.

What did you do to make you stand out from the competition?
We simplified the process and cut out the bull to create a faster, cheaper service focused around people’s busy lifestyles.

What is your USP? How did you decide to market your USP?
We are a lifestyle delivery product. We take away the hassle from our customers. We supply the pre-priced box, our customers choose the day and time, we arrive and take care of the rest.

We marketed our USP online initially, and now we have our boxes in the closets of over 2,500 hotel bedrooms in Ireland.

What has been your biggest barrier since starting up worldBOX?
What’s a barrier? eats barriers for breakfast! I suppose having another day or two in the week wouldn’t hurt though.

Have you had many mentors? What has been the best advice they have given you?
Loads, but my most important mentors are my customers. We listen and react. We want our customers to love and cherish us.

Then there are my kids who are the harshest critics, in particular when it comes to clunky technology; they just won’t accept anything but perfection.

What has been your greatest moment since starting up?
There have been loads. Our first box, our first piece of positive feedback on Facebook (from our first customer!), being accepted for The Start-Up Academy.

But a big win was when The Marker Hotel phoned and asked about signing up for the service.

And your worst?
Raising money to start the business and the constant worry that I won’t be able to buy handbags if it doesn’t work!

What’s the bravest decision you have had to make in business so far?
To employ our channel manager, Niamh, who is a solicitor with absolutely no sales and marketing experience. I had a gut feeling she would be amazing, and she is. Don’t doubt yourself.

Name three things you have learnt at The AIB Start-Up Academy so far…

  • There is a war of attention with buyers.
  • The lean model actually works
  • Customers don’t want to buy a drill, they want to buy a hole.

What are your three pieces of advice you would give to somebody starting off?
Believe in your product, believe in yourself and believe in hard work! Unless you see and visualise the end game, it won’t work.

What Fortune 500 company would you MOST like to be in charge of?
Which CEO gets paid the most?

What Fortune 500 company would you least like to be in charge of and why?
Which CEO gets paid the least?

What are your “cheats” or “hacks” for making life easier in the business world?
Smile and start every conversation with “we are just starting off and we have little or no money.”

Always, always say thank you and mean it.

Who would you prefer to face off with in a fight to the death: Bill Gates or Donald Trump? Keep in mind that the winner keeps the loser’s business…
Donald Trump - he looks like he has less of a fight in him, and I just love luxury holidays!

Article appeared in March 2015.