Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova who hailed from Philippines migrated with her family to Los Angeles, California back when she was 18 years old. Who would have thought that less than 10 years later, she would have a successful online shopping business using just $50 as starting capital?

In those early days of her stay in the US, she truly enjoyed the shopping experience – something that would soon be noticed by friends and family back in the Philippines who asked for padala and pasalubong.

She realized that she could start a business of buying stuff from American retailers and sending these to the Philippines for a fee.

Photo credit: Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova / Entrepreneur PH
Photo credit: Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova / Entrepreneur PH

Villacisneros-Tusjakova revealed, “My friends and relatives were the ones who asked me for the ‘personal shopper fee’ because they realize there are expenses such as time, gas and shipping. That’s when I started the ‘Personal Shopper and Shipper’ service.

Using money she earned as part-time worker at a café, she started Stuff2Shop which would later evolve to Californila.com [a play at California and Manila].

At launching, Villacisneros-Tusjakova processed around 5 to 10 orders a month and ship once a month but today, the business is going so good that they process up to 8,000 products a month and ship almost everyday!

I provided them with [a] faster, more convenient and more affordable way to shop for products from the US without needing to wait for their relatives to bring it to them as pasalubong,” Villacisneros-Tusjakova said. “We’re actually moving to [a] bigger warehouse this month which is four times bigger than our previous office space.”

nicai-ishka-and-her-crates-of-deliveries-photo-by-ishka
Photo credit: Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova / Entrepreneur PH

Aside from moving to a bigger warehouse, she also had to hire additional staff as she could hardly keep up with the orders by herself. What’s so wonderful is that she even hired her own grandmother who now acts as Californila’s social media manager! Oh, yeah!

Thanks to the business she started at 18 for just $50, she was able to buy a BMW sports car at 18, Mercedes Benz SUV at 23, and a modern house at 25!

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