Case Study – Building a Travel Agency in Japan with Andres Zuleta

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Case Studies, Podcast0 Comments


We are diving back into Japan business a little bit. As the show is Global From Asia – we try our best to get guests and content doing business in various regions here. This week is Andres, from Boutique Japan, a tourist / travel agency that helps foreigners plan an epic adventure / trip / experience in Japan. He shares how he got into the business, some business partner ups and downs, and advice for others setting up a company dealing with a foreign country, so let’s dive in.

Welcome Andres great to have you on the show – today – I finally get to interview you for Global From Asia you’ve been on my radar since your great talk in Europe about how you have standardized and grown your Japanese boutique travel agency, welcome to the show Andres.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Getting to Japan

    I’m curious, how did you first get out to Japan?

  • Finding Your Niche in a Boutique Travel Agency

    How did you stumble into this business?

  • Why the Japan Focus?

    How did you get this focus?

  • Partnerships and Relationships

    This could be the whole show by itself, but I know from the Tropical MBA and DC events that you had to split with your previous business partner / girlfriend. Care to share some of this experience.

  • Managing the Business, and dealing with Japan

    So you’ve done a great job at standardizing the business and scaling.

  • Managing a business for Japanese Business

    I know it is very different in Mainland china – and we have had a couple podcasts on GFA about Japan – listeners love to know the culture differences and management differences in Asia – how is it in Japan?

  • Structuring the business

    You have a US company, Japanese company? How is the business and cash flow setup?

  • Biggest challenges you have faced

  • Biggest tips for someone entering the Japanese Market

  • How people can get to find out more about you and your business.

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Show Sponsors:

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Aurelia Pay. I use them for sending money to my Chinese supplier from Hong Kong – it is a cross border payment solution between China, Hong Kong and South East Asia. So when I need to make a payment to a Chinese supplier, I just hop in to place a remittance, pay to their HK bank account, and Aurelia Pay settle RMB within the same business day! Check them out

Episode Length 41:59

Thank you Andres! I think my big takeaway here is – there are 2 different markets when going into a foreign country – let’s say “import” and “export”. Import I would define as taking a foreign product or service and selling into that country, and export as taking a product or service inside that country and selling / exporting it overseas.

Andres’ Boutique Japan is on the export side – which is taking the Japan experience and tour business and selling that to foreigners who want to visit Japan. He isn’t selling to Japanese who want to travel overseas.

At Global From Asia – we are also more on the export side – buying from Chinese factories and selling on Amazon. Sure, we have some into China- but seems the listeners we are dealing with are more interested in the export side. At Cross border Summit the same thing has happened – more are interested (and making money) on the export and sell international side.

I don’t want to say “easier” – but I think it is true – exporting from China is still the more clear way of doing business. Same seems true for Japan and other markets. And it makes sense – countries want you to BUY from them – bring them income – not try to sell to them and import products, services, and cultures to them.

Yet I do hope these countries open up more to foreign products and services to come in.

Ok, enough of my rant – hope you enjoyed Andres’ story on Boutique Japan and building a global business around Japanese travel, cheers!

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