The US Department
of Commerce’s new video technology program enabled a Native American
firm in Aberdeen, SD, to land two agreements in September to sell
herbal teas to hundreds of retail outlets in Europe.
conducted via "real time" desktop video technology, involved
the Native American Herbal Tea Co. and two European companies, one
in Switzerland and the other in Germany.
of the Technology Resulted in Exclusive Agreement
17, the company reached an exclusive agreement with the Swiss firm
Claro to sell tea in 200 stores throughout Switzerland through the
use of an innovative video technology program launched by Commerce
and the South Dakota International Business Institute. It was the
tea company's first exclusive agreement in Europe. Claro, a Swiss
cooperative which features ecologically sound products, reported
sales in 1997 of approximately $8 million in US dollars.
to Switzerland, Madeline Kunin, inaugurated the event at the Commercial
Service office in Bern by noting that the technology is an excellent
example of the innovative ways the US Government can help small-minority-owned
companies which often do not have easy access to the global marketplace.
"With 96 percent
of the world's consumers living outside the United States, this
technology will enable small-and medium-sized businesses to market
to the globe in the new millennium," said Daniel J. McLaughlin,
deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Commercial Service. "This
new video capability enables Commerce to offer a range of export-related
programs and services to American companies at the speed of business."
"As a rural-based
company, this technology allows us to compete against more experienced
firms who tend to be more familiar with the nuances of conducting
trade," said Richard Vallie, president of the Native American Herbal
Tea Company. "This video technology offers the advantages of personal
interaction without the expense and time associated with travel."
Tea Company’s second European agreement later in the month using
the desktop video technology was with the German retail firm Gepa,
which has 600 retail outlets in Germany. On the same day, three
other companies, Feather Stone, Beaver Creek Tanning Co., and Colleen’s
Gardens held initial discussions with potential business partners
via Commerce’s "real time" video technology session.
Roll Out the Technology in More than 250 Offices Worldwide
of Commerce will soon begin a two year roll-out of this technology
in its 100-plus domestic offices and over 150 offices located in
US embassies and consulates overseas. The South Dakota International
Business Institute, based at the Northern State University campus,
is playing a key strategic role with the US Commercial Service in
its efforts to assist South Dakota businesses export abroad.
Herbal Tea Company is a 100 percent Native American owned and operated
business. The company's president, Richard Vallie, is a Chipewyan
associated with the Turtle Mountain Reservation located in North
Dakota. Founded in 1987, the firm employs 12 Native Americans and
is enjoying rapid growth worldwide with teas such as Warriors
Brew, Chief's Delight, Victory Tea, Teepee Dreams, and
Indian Love Tea.
export sales from South Dakota to the world have jumped by more
than 100 percent, topping $435 million last year.
For More Information
For more information
on export programs and services, area businesses may contact the
US Commerce Department's Sioux Falls Export Assistance Center at
contact Curt Cultice in the Office of Public Affairs of the International
Trade Commission in Washington, DC, at (202) 482-3809. You may also
visit the ITA Pressroom.
Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration Homepage
to the 21st Century.