Every once in a while, you come across an entrepreneur who has a true passion for his company, employees, and community. Meet Barry Schacht, owner of Schacht Spindle Company, Inc., in Boulder, Colorado.
Schacht Spindle makes looms, spindles and spinning wheels. The company was founded in 1969 with curiosity, enthusiasm and hard work during the back-to-earth movement and accompanying craft resurgence of the late 1960s. Barry and his brother Dan started the business when a friend wanted to learn to spin. They heard about Greentree Ranch, a family ranch that raised sheep and taught spinning. The brothers came back with a lesson in the art of drop spindle and an order to make 200 of them.
Greentree Ranch was so happy with the spindles that they asked them to start making looms. The first model was a portable tapestry loom and the company still makes a version today. For more than half a century, Schacht Spindle has been supplying weavers and spinners worldwide with products, services, and education.
As the Schachts’ business grew into new markets beyond the United States and comprised about 9 percent of total sales in 2016, new international buyers started to request open account credit terms rather than paying in advance. Prepayment would have had an adverse effect on their company’s cash flow as they had wait for the goods to arrive before reselling them.
Since 2017, Schacht Spindle has partnered with EXIM to meet the competitive demands of the global market. EXIM’s Export Credit Insurance limits the risk of U.S. companies not receiving payment for their goods or services due to commercial reasons (such as bankruptcy and protracted default) and political events (such as war, revolution, seizure of goods, revocation of import license, and foreign exchange inconvertibility).
EXIM coverage is up to 95 percent for commercial or political losses. The policy can replace methods such as cash-in-advance and letters of credit. With this nonpayment protection, U.S. companies such as Schacht Spindle are more confident to provide advantageous open account credit terms to qualified foreign buyers.
Because of EXIM’s help, Mr. Schacht has observed that his international buyers started carrying more inventory when he approved open account credit terms.
Today, Schacht Spindle Co.’s 35,000-square-foot facility is spread across three buildings and employs 50 people. Its products are sold through 500 craft retail stores across the United States. Europe, Japan, and Taiwan comprise about 8 percent of total sales. Since 2017, EXIM has supported more than $550,000 of the company’s exports.
Barry Schacht’s success is not limited to himself. His company offers grants, scholarships, and internships to assist with the growth and continuation of the craft. He also works with local organizations to host or participate in events that bring spinning and weaving to the Boulder community.