Wildernest Logistics helped AeroGrow reclassify their products as duty-free and recover a six-figure refund of previously paid duties.
Founded in 2002, AeroGrow created a market with its innovative indoor gardening appliances. Today, the award-winning company produces more than a dozen models of the AeroGarden, enabling hundreds of thousands of consumers to grow fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers year-round with no dirt and no pesticides.
AeroGrow chose Wildernest Logistics to take over some of its national and international transportation responsibilities. We were AeroGrow’s third customs broker, so their importation process was already well established. Nonetheless, as part of our approach to business, we conducted an internal process review. We started out looking for opportunities to drive costs out, but what we found was a red flag. Almost right away, it seemed to us that AeroGrow was spending too much in duties.
A more thorough review led us to wonder if AeroGrow’s products were eligible for reclassification as duty-free commodities – an idea that had the potential to translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. In spite of what we all knew would be a daunting process, AeroGrow was willing to have us take on a self-evaluation.
Over the course of several months, and across thousands of pages of paperwork, we engaged in a series of bureaucratic processes on AeroGrow’s behalf. We dug through past filings and uncovered an old customs ruling letter that would support our request for duty-free status. And we dealt with multiple ports of importation and multiple individual shipments, determining what was legally recoverable. The research, time and effort paid off. Our seven individual customs protests were all successful.
With AeroGrow, we found more than an opportunity to stave off future spending; we found an opportunity to recover money they’d already spent. Our actions resulted in a six-figure refund of previously paid duties. Further, our successful efforts to reclassify their product completely eliminated future duty expenses. And now, we have a solid process in place to guard against duty exposure for products they develop in the future.
“I don’t think the money piece is the most important part of the relationship. Freight is a commodity. We can always get good prices. With Wildernest Logistics, the differentiator is service and knowledge. They’re thorough and professional. They shower you with service.”
– J. Michael Wolfe, Chief Operating Officer, AeroGrow International Inc.