Bladetech Hockey, a Toronto-area company, has developed flexible skate blades using proprietary Flex-Force technology. Anthony Morra is the CEO of the company, which has more than 30 players on eight NHL teams using its technology.

Learn more about Bladetech’s export journey here.

When and why did you first start thinking about exporting as part of your business?

For us, it was really from day one and driven by our efforts knocking on the doors of the NHL teams.

What was your export journey like to get to where you are today?

So far, it’s been a little different as we’ve gone into the U.S. through our relationship-building. Our export journey is just starting and I know it’s going to be a huge learning experience going into other markets.

What is the biggest difference between selling in Canada and selling in another country? How did you adapt to that difference?

Canadians love hockey and that’s made it easier to sell our product in Canada because potential customers have a heightened awareness about equipment. In some countries, you have to start from “square one.”

What have you learned from exporting that has benefitted your sales/operations in Canada?

Sales have been easier in Canada and more difficult abroad, so that’s really helped us define our sales pitch, which has helped us domestically.

What is the #1 thing new SMEs need to know about exporting and trade?

Really do the research and understand your product and your market. In this competitive age, you likely only have one chance, so you have to ensure that your product is the best.

For us, the key export insight we have developed is the importance of partnerships and meeting face-to-face. That’s critical.

What is one characteristic that you believe every exporter should possess?

Perseverance. Don’t give up. If you believe in your product, success will come.

What was your first export sale?

It was a pair of blades to a customer in Minnesota.

How did that first export opportunity arise?

It was from our online store. Nowadays you need to have an e-commerce presence. Customers expect it.