Small Oregon businesses go global

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oregon Exports, 2001-2011

The value of Oregon exports have doubled over the past decade. The state's largest category of exports is electronic and computer products, mostly from Intel, and the largest trade partner is China.
0611_GoingGlobal_Graph
Partnering with a larger, more experienced firm makes sense because breaking into foreign markets is no simple task for a small Oregon company. But it can be done — even in China. Benchmade already sells its upscale knives into Russia, and the company is doing very well in China, says Rob Morrison, director of marketing. China baffles many local exporters due to various trade barriers and deep cultural differences. But Morrison says he’s found that the “Made in the USA” label carries surprising cachet in China as incomes there rise: “Our best selling products in China are our most expensive products.”

Morrison says Benchmade spends a lot of time researching and building relationships with local partners in China and Russia, interviewing candidates in person and talking to retailers and dealers to make sure “the credibility checks out.”

Benchmade has learned firsthand that selling internationally brings risk, especially if your brand name is well known. “We’ve seen counterfeit product in Hong Kong and China and also coming from foreign countries into the U.S.,” says Morrison.

“Fortunately we do a good business with U.S. Customs and they know us. If they see a container full of knives made in a foreign country labeled Benchmade, they know it’s a counterfeit.”

For now, the opportunities overseas are outweighing the risks. Benchmade’s long relationship with U.S. Special Forces has brought military contracts with France, Australia and Greece, and Morrison says international sales are growing by double digits each year. The 180-employee company makes all of its knives in Oregon City, where it recently knocked down a wall to expand its manufacturing space by 20,000 square feet.

 



 

More Articles

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

House of Clarity

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Holding a Power Lunch at Veritable Quandary in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

Wildcards

Guest Blog
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
China A SharesBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty in Greece and China, along with potential interest rate hikes mean investors are looking at the market and nervously questioning where they should be invested.


Read more...

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS