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Small Georgia Company Fulfills Cosmetic Needs for Women of Color

House of Cheatham, Inc.
Export Destinations: 
Caribbean & Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific
EXIM Bank Product: 
Export Credit Insurance
Export Sales: 
Nearly 40 Percent of Total Sales
Jobs Supported: 


The global cosmetics industry today is estimated somewhere in the range of $250 to 300 billion a year and is dominated by a handful of very large companies.  Against this backdrop is House of Cheatham, a Georgia based small business with a big footprint around the world. 

Founded in 1924, House of Cheatham is one of the oldest manufacturers of personal and beauty care products in America, providing therapies for people of all ethnicities with a special emphasis on women of color.  From Polly Peachtree products sold during the early 1900’s to popular 21st century brands, like Organics by Africa’s Best, House of Cheatham brands have become house-hold names in the United States and abroad. 


Like many small businesses, the House of Cheatham’s growth strategy included expanding into new markets abroad.  International clients expect open account credit terms – the ability for the buyer to receive products today and pay for those products at a future date - 30, 60, 90 days, etc.  All “open account” sales carry the risk of nonpayment by the buyer.  If a domestic customer fails to pay, a company can seek relief through the U.S. court system, but when a buyer in another country fails to pay, the U.S. based small business exporter has little recourse to recover the money due.  Unless, of course, the receivables generated by the foreign transactions are insured.


Export credit insurance from EXIM is the solution House of Cheatham uses to grow their international sales while mitigating the risk of nonpayment by international buyers.  The insurance covers up to 95 percent of the sales invoice for nonpayment due to commercial or political reasons.   


With EXIM's Export Credit Insurance, the House of Cheatham is finding new customers and expanding into new markets, secure in the knowledge that the company’s assets are protected.  Women of color usually have a difficult time finding cosmetics products specifically targeted to their skin and haircare needs.  Because of the assurances granted by EXIM’s credit insurance, the House of Cheatham has the confidence to enter new international markets and fulfill this demand.  The company has grown its export sales to 38% of total revenues and supports 65 American jobs. 

House of Cheatham products are sold in mass market retail chain, drug and grocery stores including Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Family Dollar, Kroger, Dollar General, CVS, Kmart, and Sally Beauty Supply. Its products are also found in most neighborhood beauty supply stores, nationwide. House of Cheatham is a global marketer with international distribution throughout the Caribbean & Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific.

When asked what advice he would give other small businesses about exporting, Mike Barker, House of Cheatham President and COO, says, “Definitely do it! But do it correctly and make sure you have an export compliance program in place as well. Part of doing it correctly is insuring your foreign receivables against loss."
Mike Barker, President and COO