New Year, New Provider: How QIWI scaled 16x after switching to OTW Shipping
Learn how QIWI launched the world's first and strongest CBG cigarettes and why they couldn't scale until they started fulfilling orders with OTW Shipping.
QIWI is more than a business to founder, Joshua Gomez.
While most companies develop products for others, Josh's motivation for starting QIWI was born out of the absence of a product that fit his personal needs. After battling with severe anxiety and stress disorders, Josh had tried medicinal marijuana, but with a sensitivity to THC, he couldn't spend his days getting high. So, Josh set out to build the perfect product for him. This has reaped benefits tenfold.
Rather than taking the easy route, finding cheap flower and quickly going to market, Josh took the burden of finding the best flower and flavor profile to fit his needs.
"Our advantage thankfully is because it is such a personal project in a sense, I am happy to devote 100% more effort to really make sure we are lining ourselves up to stand above in terms of overall polish [...] so much thought was put into this product and [QIWI] are pricing it accordingly."
Joshua Gomez, Founder of QIWI
Based out of Miami, QIWI sells CBG cigarettes. With 130mg of CBG per cigarette, they are the highest strength CBG cigarettes on the market. You can trust you are getting only the best because Josh originally designed QIWI to meet his own personal health needs.
Starting the first CBG cigarette brand
As told to OTW Shipping by Joshua Gomez, Founder of QIWI.
I started QIWI in February of 2020. It was born out of a need for my own personal anxiety medication. Being prescribed 400mg of Adderall a day and doing that for 6 months... I quit that cold turkey. After that, I developed really severe mental health disorders (stress and anxiety disorders). Medical cannabis was helpful, however, I am very sensitive to THC and I can't spend my days getting high when I need to treat my anxiety. It's like one evil or the other evil. So essentially, I had to create my own medicine.
I found medicinal weed without THC and then I addressed every possible factor I could in terms of what is my dream product. I don't want to have to roll this up myself, I want it to be like cigarettes. I want 20 of these in a pack. It's the highest quality flower I can get and it's the best flavor profile. Basically, I am just creating my perfect product. It's filling a massive demand that has just existed and no one else has really taken on the burden of the bottom-up structure. They [other CBD companies] grow into the market, they buy cheap flower, and they go to market. Our advantage thankfully is because it is such a personal project in a sense [...] so much thought was put into this product.
It's also the burden of I'm going to take the harder road. None of our customers are going to know what CBG is unless we educate them. The education of your potential customers before that conversion is the death sentence to many other companies.
In terms of fulfillment, we initially started with Shipmonk. Prior to going with them, the decision was quite clear. It was balancing the utility of outsourcing it with the cost. I was okay with paying a nice premium, especially in the beginning. Why? In a company's early days, the calculation is simple. It's basically, how much would it cost for me to run fulfillment myself? I'll have all these employees, and you break it down to your forecasted volume, and then you go crap... it makes a lot more sense for me to scale up with a 3PL. Maybe at a certain point, we'll cross that threshold where our volume of orders is so high that what we pay the warehouse is enough to cover double the team we would have plus the rent and overhead expenses. So it becomes the question, how long will I be able to have this partnership before the cost offset is just too high.
We started with Shipmonk so we could scale up with them... unfortunately there was basically no service. You can't get a response in under 2 days. Costs were quite high itself, but when you do the math [...] I'm paying this premium for what? Just to get ignored for 2 days when we're having an inventory crisis and retailers trying to double-check something? They took on no accountability, no liability, and when that is such an instrumental outsourced part of your supply chain... that's like a whole 25% of the entire supply chain and that's the one that brings the revenues. That's the one final point where you release the product into their final authority and you trust that the transaction is completed by them. Unfortunately I didn't have that reliability with these guys.
Partnering with a scalable fulfillment partner
Then we were searching around with Shipbob. Shipmonk was supposed to be the better alternative to Shipbob, so immediately that implied that Shipbob was even worse.
And I'm not even sure how we ended up interacting originally, but I do remember when you proposed yourself as a startup - that actually won me over [...] I'm sure that they'll have a lot more dedication to customer service and supporting a very trusted part of the supply chain.
Now, with Shipmonk, we were at a pretty low volume, under 1,000 orders per month. In 2020, we made around $67k. Our scale-up really happened as soon as we connected with you. After mid-February we made $100k in two weeks.
What has made the biggest difference to QIWI after switching?
It basically addressed all the primary issues I had at Shipmonk, where it really does feel more like I have a team working in my best benefit. It doesn't feel like you have as many clients as you do because whenever I need attention it doesn't feel like I'm pulling teeth to get someone to help me out. It's like, no, this is our relationship. This is how we operate. You need us? We'll pop in same day. So far it's been pretty smooth. And apart from that, the reliability [and] even the advice [like] shooting out the occasional data behind reliability in carriers. That's something that Shipmonk could never do for me - having a team that has your company's best interest at heart.
"I have the customer support - more than I need. Reliability has been off the charts. Fulfillment has made the biggest difference to our customers. And on top of that I'm actively being kept in the loop."
Joshua Gomez, Founder of QIWI
Also, faster shipping for sure. They had 2 day fulfillment times. Whereas here, if I submit an order, within the hour it will be processed and it's not impacted by shipping times. You guys are really good at breaking down those cartons and getting them out same day.
What's next for QIWI?
We will continue to bring our best-in-class product alongside continuous innovation to help solve our customers’ needs. We are proud of our growth thus far and excited to continue to expand in such a revolutionary market.
At QIWI, we are listening to our users and constantly working towards providing a product of the highest quality that meets our users’ needs. Our product is carefully designed to help our users discover powerful relief from anxiety, stress, pain, and trouble sleeping. Looking forward, we plan to increase our exposure in the market by spreading awareness of the benefits of QIWI and improve the well-being of more everyday people who need relief.
We are proud to say that our next product will be the first hemp product made from triploid CBG flower! Triploid CBG flower brings with it many added benefits over traditional CBD and CBG, including higher potency, double the mint/lime terpenes (where the flavor and taste come from), smoother smoke, and a more environmentally friendly crop yield. This makes for a more powerful, enjoyable, and eco-friendly experience.
As leaders in the CBG cigarette market, we're happy to have crafted what cigarettes should have always been!
Want to lower shipping costs and improve ship speed without sacrificing customer service? Our fulfillment services are designed to emulate in-house fulfillment with your own personal discussion channel so you can speak directly with our warehouse team, support, and leadership.
Find out if OTW Shipping is the right fit for your brand and request a quote for fulfillment pricing below.