Company: International Checkout Inc, Santa Monica, CA, USA
Company Description: Since 2002, International Checkout has been at the forefront of global e- commerce, providing an integrated solution which allows US retailers to sell worldwide with no associated risks or difficulties. International Checkout serves over 110 online retailers, guaranteeing them against fraud and providing worldwide fulfillment and customer care services.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Entrepreneur – Service Businesses - Up to 100 Employees
Nomination Title: Saskia Chiesa, CEO and President
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):
Saskia Chiesa thanks her European friends for the inspiration to launch International Checkout. That’s because Chiesa – a Holland native who, after a modeling career and starring in the Milli Vanilli music video “Blame it on the Rain,” moved to the U.S. in 1998 – was constantly getting calls from her friends anxious to acquire designer fashions which they couldn’t buy directly from America. Chiesa’s idea was that her company, which she started with just $1,500, could be the bridge allowing consumers worldwide to buy American goods, in their own currency, and receive them at their doorsteps. In other words, Chiesa created a whole new market for American goods at a time when the U.S. needs more exports – and new jobs – than ever before.
Chiesa recognized that American retailers shied away from selling internationally due to the risk of fraud and the difficulties associated with order fulfillment. International Checkout enables retailers, from mom-and-pops to the big-boxes, to sell globally without risk or difficulty. Retailers typically see a 6 - 12% increase in revenues upon partnering with International Checkout.
Today, International Checkout enables more than 800 U.S. retailers, including Jockey.com, bebe.com, DrMartens.com, and Meijer.com, to connect with customers in more than 220 countries.
International Checkout has enjoyed spectacular growth under Chiesa’s leadership. It quadrupled its space in 2009, moving into a 16,000 square foot warehouse and is currently negotiating an additional 5,000 square feet to accommodate its ever increasing volume.
International Checkout Recognition:
Inc. 500|5000 Fastest Growing US Companies
• 2009 – No. 61
• 2010 – No. 610
• 2011 – No. 1044
Winner: 84th Annual World Trade Week, 2010 - Service to World Traders Award
Winner: 2010 US SBA Awards, Innovation through Technology Business of the Year
Los Angeles Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies in LA
• 2009 – No. 9
• 2010 – No. 9
Winner: American Business Awards, 2009 – Saskia Chiesa, Executive of the Year
Winner: American Business Awards, 2011 - Saskia Chiesa, Executive of the Year
Winner: Stevie Awards for Women, 2008 – Most Innovative Company
Winner: Stevie Awards for Women, 2009 – Fastest Growing Company
Winner: Stevie Awards for Women, 2010 – Best Overall Company
Chiesa recognizes the strong links between entrepreneurship and community and actively supports organizations like the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation, a non- profit organization supporting at risk youths, located in Venice, CA, and HIRE LA’s Youth program. She also participated in “Principal for a Day”, organized through the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, where Chiesa helped students at a high school in Sun Valley, Calif., prepare for job interviews. Chiesa dedicates her spare time to actively improving the lives of animals through her own 501(c) animal rescue organization, a no kill private shelter located in Chatsworth, Calif.
Chiesa traveled to Egypt as a corporate ambassador to take part in Vital Voices Global Partnership, sharing information with aspiring female entrepreneurs, and participated as a panelist for Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence in San Francisco, CA.
List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your nomination. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):
Saskia Chiesa emigrated from Europe to Los Angeles in 1998 and was kept busy with requests from friends overseas anxious to acquire American goods. Recognizing that US retailers were missing out on the demand of international consumers, Chiesa, a single mother with $1500 in the bank, launched International Checkout Inc. in 2003. By guaranteeing the retailers against fraud, providing international fulfillment, and offering multi-lingual customer service, International Checkout enables US retailers to sell globally without risk or difficulty. International Checkout was ranked No. 61 on the 2009 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately held companies in America.