Rob Dorf is the founder and CEO of PureFit, creators of high-protein, gluten-free, California-made nutrition bars. Since 2014, PureFit exports to 20 countries from Switzerland to Singapore with foreign sales rising 53% and accounting for a quarter of its revenue. According to Dorf, “International business saved my company”.
In today’s economy, international trade is not seen as a positive. Americans are constantly told about the unfair advantage many countries have when doing business with the US. Currently, “President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to approve a massive trade deal with 12 nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” This new deal would slash 18,000 foreign taxes on US exports, which currently makes it so expensive for American companies to export. Dorf hopes this initiative is pushed through soon.
PureFit’s story begins like most new ventures. In the beginning Dorf did his research, which today is as easy as going to Wikipedia. After settling on a few key targets, Dorf traveled to each country thanks to his local Chamber of Commerce. Once connecting and partnering with a foreign grocery chains Dorf had to learn the logistics and international shipping codes for each country. Learning these codes are key as “countries use different codes for different sorts of bars, and wrongly-coded products are blocked at customs.”
A big player in the near future is Asia which Holly Vineyard, a U.S. Commerce Department official suggests will likely be home to a majority of the world’s middle class, by 2020. Because of this, demand is expected to double over that time.
Not all things are looking positive for exporting at the current moment however. According to the ocregister article “Sluggish foreign economies, especially in developing nations such as China and Brazil, have cut into demand for U.S. goods. Last week, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization predicted international trade growth will slow to 1.7 percent this year, the lowest rate since 2009. Additionally, a rise in the value of the dollar has made U.S. exports more expensive.” This may be bad news for now, but Jim Mayfield, the U.S. Commercial Service’s Orange County director, says, exporting is all about the long term. And Dorf, who’s exports are down 9%, agrees.