Partnership with UGA SBDC Helps Trade Show Display Company Enhance International Relations


Displayit was looking to enhance its relationship with its international agent and hire a freight forwarder to streamline imports. After working with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center’s International Trade CenterDisplayit has increased revenue 5% by working with its international agent to develop a new product line and is importing up to 12 containers a year, each housing up to $200,000 of revenue. 

From high-end, backlit booth displays, to easily portable pop-up banners and table covers, Displayit offers a wide array of trade show products to help businesses showcase their brand.

Displayit’s hardware is imported from China, with all the graphic design, printing and assembly done at the company’s warehouse in Buford.

displayit facility

Molly Engle, product development manager at Displayit, was looking to develop a new line of high-end trade show displays featuring a backlit LED light box frame but needed assistance growing the company’s relationship with its agent in China.

“I was in charge of developing an entire product line which I had never done before and working with our agent in China to do that,” said Engle. “The UGA SBDC had lots of resources and advice on how to better work with him in China and helped us with the importing process.”

Laurent Kahl, international trade consultant at the UGA SBDC, provided some tips and best practices on working with international agents. Displayit’s relationship with its agent in China is now stronger than ever, with consistent communication, including monthly Zoom meetings and visits to the U.S.

The new product line increased Displayit’s high-end product offerings and resulted in an additional 5% revenue, with growth projected to continue.

Displayit was also looking to partner with a new freight forwarder to better organize the imports of its display hardware from China to its warehouse in Buford. Katie Hardaway, purchasing and inventory manager at Displayit, knew she could reach out to the UGA SBDC for assistance.

“They wanted to find some customized brokers for the import process,” said Kahl. “We provided them advice and a checklist of questions to use when interviewing those freight forwarders.”

“Laurent gave us recommendations on people we could talk to in that line of work,” said Hardaway. “The list of interview questions he provided was really helpful just knowing the right questions to ask.”

Hardaway and her team identified a freight forwarder that was a perfect fit for Diplayit’s needs. Now, the company is importing eight to 12 containers of hardware per year, with each container housing about $100,000 to $200,000 in revenue.

With the potential for exports in the future, Kahl encouraged Engle to participate in the UGA SBDC’s ExportGA program in 2023.

An intensive four-session, 16-hour export training program, ExportGA allows export-ready companies to develop the skills to identify new international sales opportunities. Participants also get to partner with a student from UGA’s Terry College of Business to assist with research.

“Although we aren’t there yet, exporting may be in our future plans,” said Engle. “It was interesting to go and learn about the reverse logic part of it as it pertains to our current import process and to hear people actually working heavily in exports speak on the legal and governmental aspects of it.”

Engle and Hardaway appreciate the progress they have made since they started working with the UGA SBDC.


“We have come a long way in the last year and a half. The SBDC helped us get the resources we need to be knowledgeable in our positions and now have better guidance when working with our overseas vendors. The SBDC has helped tremendously.”

For More Information: University of Georgia SBDC | (706) 542-2762