If you could imagine a successful company culture that values employee and customer happiness above all else -“and then delivers on it,” you might think of Zappos and its enigmatic CEO, Tony Hsieh who wrote the book on corporate happiness in 2013. But that would also be the key to the success of Worldnet International, the industry’s premier concierge courier company and its ebullient brother and sister founders, Richard Bhullar and Mary Bhullar. Sixteen years before the bestselling book hit the Amazon & Kindle “shelves,” Richard and Mary opened the doors in 1997 to what has become the fastest growing and coolest luxury shipping company on the planet.
The powerhouse duo started small in Richard’s humble Forest Hills flat, packing boxes, making sales calls, invoicing customers, and taking out the trash themselves to create a company that did things better and differently than everyone else in their field - put customer needs first – a remarkably simple, yet equally rare ingredient in the shipping industry. For eighteen years, their formula for having “fun” at work by doing something they love, hiring people as Mary said, they “like to hang out with,” and going to any lengths to please their customers has helped them through the dot-com bust, September 11, the global financial crisis and many more bumps in the road along the way.
Worldnet’s humble beginnings, however, began decades before Richard and Mary joined forces in business in a small working-class community next to the runway at Heathrow Airport on the outskirts of London. The entrepreneurial siblings, a year apart in age, under the constant boom of jet landings and takeoffs, watched their mum, maternity nurse Patsy, work the overnight shift at a local hospital, come home to sleep for a few hours, and then go off again to clean people’s homes to feed her four children. Patsy, in Mary’s words, “always stayed positive, strong, energized…only seeing the good in things and people.” Said Mary, “She loved what she did – bringing life into the world.” Mary and Richard have brought mum Patsy’s devotion to service and hard work into the company culture and made it their own. “She gave us everything we had. We wanted to make mum proud,” explained Richard.
Using $10,000 as seed capital that Patsy gave them after mortgaging her modest Heathrow home, Richard and Mary have built a global shipping company with over 100 happy employees, a select and elite clientele of the leading luxury designers and innovative brands that are shaping our world.
Written By: Monika Mitchell
Whether you are related by blood, marriage, or business to founders, Richard & Mary Bhullar, at Worldnet, it's a family affair. For the buoyant and charming Bhullar brother-in-law and Chief Customer Officer Graham Shaw, carrying on the family tradition of teamwork and collaboration is a matter of pride. In his role as head of customer service, Graham oversees a division of 60-70 employees and is responsible for the smooth running of operations. He partners with employees, vendors, and customers alike. "We function as one big happy team,” he explains. “We are all in it together.” Under his direction, employees focus on finding solutions to any challenges that may arise. His background as a former customs officer at Heathrow Airport combined with his “whatever it takes to get the job done” work ethic helps Graham and the team move items quickly through the shipping process
A devoted father of two boys, Graham spends his weekends cheering for his eight-year-old at soccer games. He shares a passion for "football" and travels with his sons whenever he can to his native England to support his Merseyside team. "I want to make sure they know where their Dad is from." The influence of professional soccer in Worldnet operations is revealed in Graham’s commitment to fair play and competitive drive to win. Perhaps ironically, a Merseyside team motto seems to embody Graham’s professional goals: Nil satis nisi optimum: Nothing but the best is good enough. “We are going to succeed every time and consistently blow our customers away,” he promises. "I take great enjoyment in never telling customers, It can't be done. It's the challenge that I enjoy.” That philosophy sets Worldnet apart from competitors and inspires Graham and his team to respond to any challenge with, 'Yes, we can!”
For Chief Customer Officer Graham Shaw, success in business is about people. "We each have a purpose in life," he muses philosophically. "I think our goal is to be happy, and our purpose at Worldnet is to make our customers happy.”