Faces of Trade: Ruffwear

Open borders have allowed Ruffwear, a Bend, OR, based business, to connect with customers around the world. Thanks to programs offered through the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, Ruffwear’s international sales have grown to account for 25 percent of its business, enabling the company to hire more U.S. employees while expanding its customer base in Europe, Japan and Korea. 
 
Like many small companies, Ruffwear started with an idea that was first produced in the founder’s garage. Now, 20 years later, they design, develop and bring to market a full offering of innovative performance gear for dogs, including packs, harnesses, apparel, boots, and life jackets around the world. Many of these products have assisted service dogs during world events such as after the World Trade Center bombing on September 11th, and Hurricane Katrina. They have also helped guide dogs, and canine search and rescue teams, along with literally thousands of family dogs out for a run, swim, hike or game of fetch with their humans.
 
“International trade allows small U.S. businesses like ours to think big. Trade is uniquely capable of connecting cultures around the globe by bridging the gap of small businesses with global customers,” remarks founder Patrick Kruse. “These relationships bolster businesses cultivated in kitchens or garages, transforming them into name brands recognized and admired around the world.”
 
Kruse explains that access to low-cost export insurance is an important part of their success on the global market. “The expense of navigating these international trade rules and regulations creates considerable strain and overhead on small businesses’ limited resources. The Ex-Im insurance program has allowed Ruffwear to open markets, create new partnerships, and compete on a global stage by offering customers credit that we could not get elsewhere.”
 
“From our standpoint, it’s critical that Congress embrace trade. Trade empowers millions of American businesses to expand abroad—as well as domestically—by creating jobs here at home. I urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank.”
 
Support Ex-Im Bank reauthorization at www.uschamber.com/ex-im.