I completed an interview with USA Today recently about the CritBuns story. They spoke with other small business owners about doing business on a global level. It's a great read overall, and certainly useful as case studies for anyone looking to go international with their small business. My best advice? Get your web presence up on day one.
Here's the complete article.
Here's the part about CritBuns:
A young online designer. Joe Gebbia, a 26-year-old entrepreneur and designer in San Francisco, credits sore backsides for helping him to create CritBuns (www.CritBuns.com), an online maker of colorful foam seat cushions.
As a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Gebbia noticed that classmates were uncomfortable sitting on hard chairs and floors during day-long critiques of their work by professors. He designed the fashionable cushions and plunged full time into his new business after graduation.
Scores of skeptical retailers rejected his cushions, until Gebbia finally sold 200 units to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Last year, Gebbia launched his website, and the cushions were featured at a Tokyo design show and in I.D., a design magazine.
Demand for the cushions took off. Now, 25% of his sales are to customers in Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and other countries and regions. He also plans to market the cushions as "Sports Buns" to professional and school athletic events in the USA and abroad.
"I hadn't anticipated international sales at all," Gebbia says, "but people found the website, and I started getting orders from all over the world."