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

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...

The Good Hacker

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS

As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.


Read more...

The best crisis is the one you avoid

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
crisisthumbBY GARY CONKLING | GUEST BLOGGER

Avoiding a crisis is a great way to burnish your reputation, increase brand loyalty and become a market leader.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

Editor’s Note: It’s a Man’s World

Linda Baker
Thursday, April 30, 2015
lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Earlier this week we posted an article from our May issue:  It’s a Man's Man’s Man’s World. The story covered the gender divide in tech from the perspective of male workers. Twitter didn’t like it.


Read more...

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


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