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After Early Hiccups, Exporting Proves Lucrative for Qore Performance

Qore Performance, Inc., (QPI) in Loudoun County manufactures performance apparel for military, law enforcement, and commercial clients based on its IcePlate® technology, which uses the water people carry to cool or heat their bodies. Co-founder Justin Li, a former law enforcement officer, initially developed the technology for the benefit of other first responders, but quickly took note of commercial implications as well. Major domestic companies like the Boeing Company, Chick-fil-A, Costco Wholesale Corporation, and Valvoline Instant Oil Change use Qore Performance technology to keep their employees cool and hydrated in the summer heat.

Since engaging with VEDP, international sales have become an important part of Qore Performance’s strategy, with commercial sales at their highest in the hot Northern Hemisphere summer, while military products are in higher demand during the off months, when troops stationed south of the equator are experiencing summer heat.

The problem: The company’s brand and reputation were at risk after previous export efforts — country partners weren’t presenting the company’s desired image, while knockoff products presented further challenges.

Hiccups in earlier attempts to grow exports had made QPI leadership risk-averse, but the company’s absence from international markets led to a rash of lower-quality imitations. Previous partnerships with international affiliates hadn’t yielded the desired results for the company, which was focused on finding quality foreign distributors and shipping arrangements while protecting its intellectual property (IP) and brand.

VEDP support and resources were instrumental in securing our intellectual property internationally and funding our freight shipments to new distributors. Cost was an obstacle to us undertaking these efforts in the past, but VEDP funding has resulted in us having a sustained and expanding international presence, bolstered with the security of protected IP. It would not have happened without their strong support.

J.D. Willcox Co-Founder, Qore Performance, Inc.

The solution: VEDP’s Global E-Commerce Program and Global Defense Program helped Qore Performance defray the costs of protecting its intellectual property and reputation.

The costs associated with resolving those issues led Qore Performance to engage with VEDP. QPI used VEDP’s Global E-Commerce Program (GECP) and Global Defense Program (GDP) to fortify its international patent and trademark portfolios. On the e-commerce side, with VEDP’s support, the company was able to upgrade its ordering platforms through Shopify to better address issues related to language, currency transactions, shipping rates, and duties, while negotiating rates and service befitting its increased international sales from FedEx.

The result: Expanded international sales now make up 10% of QPI’s gross revenues.

With VEDP’s assistance, QPI has lined up active distributors in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Scandinavia, and Australia, while shipping to other countries worldwide with confidence that its brand will be represented properly. The company is now looking to expand into the Middle East.

International sales, which the company described as “negligible” before working with VEDP, now represent 10% of gross revenues. Exports play an even larger role in the winter, when domestic sales tail off during cool weather in the Northern Hemisphere — international sales make up 30% of revenues during those months.

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