Earthquaker Receives Exporter of the Year Honors

Christian Wissmuller • Upfront • May 14, 2019

Associate Administrator of the U.S. Office of International Trade David Glaccum, EarthQuaker Devices President Jamie Stillman, EarthQuaker Devices Chief Executive Officer Julie Robbins, and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator (Acting) Chris Pilkerton.

On May 6, EarthQuaker Devices founder and president Jamie Stillman and his wife, Chief Executive Officer, co-owner Julie Robbins, received honors as Exporter of the Year 2019 from the U.S. Small Business Administration during an afternoon awards ceremony at the National Institute of Peace. The presentation was part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week activities.

National Small Business Week is a national recognition event to honor the country’s top entrepreneurs. 2019 marks the 66th anniversary of the U.S. Small Business Administration. EarthQuaker Devices was selected for this national award amidst candidates from each of the 50 states, as well as District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

“I never imagined that EarthQuaker devices would someday be awarded the SBA’s Small Business Exporter of Year 2019 and that we’d be invited to a ceremony in Washington DC,” Robbins said. “It was so special to share it with our daughters. I wish we could have brought the whole EarthQuaker team. “I have immense gratitude for everyone who has worked hard and supported us in our journey,” she added.”

Hand-crafted effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices, top-six in the U.S. and one of the top-10 in the world, create products that are available in over 865 retail locations in approximately 50 countries. Its key retailers include Guitar Center, Sam Ash, Sweetwater and Thomann. The company has sold approximately 250,000 units.

The company’s current workforce reaches over 50 individuals, and has been praised for its commitment to inclusion, diversity and cooperation with other pedal manufacturers by Best Guitar Effects. The company also has an in-house global marketing team fluent in seven languages (Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Czech, and Polish), and, in 2018, rolled out a live dealer training program, which has been completed in 31 cities.

The company leveraged their Small Business Development Center Export Assistance Network, which provides free, confidential counseling to exporters and has offices throughout Ohio. The network, an SBA resource partner, assists small- and medium-sized businesses with international business planning, market research, export documentation, local product requirements and logistics.

The company was assisted through a State of Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) grant to develop an international marketing strategy, funded through SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). The company also made use of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold Key Service, which provides U.S. companies with matchmaking appointments with interested partners in a foreign market.

Through this service, administered through the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), where officials of the Department of Commerce and SBA are co-located, EarthQuaker LLC met with potential partners in Australia. This resulted in a signed contract with an Australian firm and an opening order of $41,000.

Today, EarthQuaker Devices also has recent distribution partnerships with Yamaha Australia and Yamaha Asia. The company will also sponsor a week long, mid-May tour of Japan including legendary punk/metal crossover act Boris, Crypt City, Ohio’s Lisa Bella Donna, and Stillman’s band, Relaxer,. The tour will offer attendees an opportunity to play and purchase EarthQuaker products.

Stillman also holds a U.S. patent (Patent no: US9,.899.013BI, issued February 20, 2018) pertaining to an effects pedal implementing a switching mechanism between forward and reverse delay effects.

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