QMT Windchimes is a family owned and operated manufacturer of made-in-America wind chimes, located in Manassas Park, Virginia. QMT originated with one man (Mike Throne) in one van, traveling the Florida craft show circuit, selling a number of products, including wind chimes. When his wind chime producer stopped selling, Mike decided to start a business making wind chimes in America.
20 years later, the business had grown extensively, and through a local church, Mike met Jamie Baisden, a man who cared about the local community and about making products in the United States, as much as Mike did. In 2006, Jamie purchased QMT and was eager to grow the business and expand on Mike’s vision.
Unfortunately in 2008, the great recession hit QMT hard. Over the next 18 months, sales dropped 25 percent.
Jamie and the QMT management team looked for ways to make the business more efficient and to increase the customer base for their high-quality wind chimes. Exporting helped to tackle both of those challenges.
Through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the U.S. Commercial Service, Jamie received the tools and know-how to expand QMT’s sales to the UK and Canada, but there were still risks to shipping overseas to customers they had never met – that’s where the Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) came in!
Through his local insurance broker, at Global Insurance Services, Jamie was able to purchase Export Credit Insurance, to ensure that even if he was selling across the ocean to Ireland, he would have the same peace of mind as selling to a friend next door. Since then, EXIM has helped ensure hundreds of export sales.
QMT and the 95 workers they employ in their 30,000 square foot facility in Manassas Park, Virginia are like a family. They worked hard through the recession, have regained all those lost sales, and have begun to grow once again.
Exports account for only about 5 percent of those sales, but Jamie is quick to point out that “learning how to export forced us to get better at what we do here. It made us a better, more resilient business.”
“Having the EXIM Bank policy in place, it’s my sleep at night policy,” said Jamie. “It allowed us to enter foreign markets with the same level of customer service and care that we can provide our customers right here in the United States.”