Before JMX Brands created DutchCrafters, the leading online retailer of Amish furniture, the company was just an idea…that got its start in a home living room in Sarasota, Florida. Today, it has grown to a company with over 70 employees, multiple locations, and a cohesive set of guiding values. In this video, Co-founder and CEO Jim Miller, Director of Marketing Debra Gingerich, and Director of Stores and Fulfillment Kari-Jo Koshes reflect on the 20-year history.
The improbable story that we have over a 20-year period is really fascinating to me, and we’ve grown by leaps and bounds since then to today becoming really the leading brand of Amish furniture.
-Jim Miller, Co-founder and CEO:
The Story of JMX Brands
The First Decade: Building DutchCrafters
Debra Gingrich, Director of Marketing and first employee:
We were forging our own path in the first years.
We were developing a new business while also navigating Internet retail in its early years.
In that era, the…really, the thing I can say I’m most proud of is the fact that we survived.
In those first ten years, we were focused on our digital presence, improving and expanding our shopping experience on our website and learning all the new possibilities in e-commerce.
Sales continued to grow in those early years, and we were up to over a dozen employees.
We had survived the Great Recession. We had disrupted an industry. We had figured out the really fundamental parts of operating a business.
The period of 2011 and 2012, when Google’s algorithms really brought us to our knees. We were able to get back out of that in 2013 and began an incredible journey of growth that really marked our next decade in business.
The Second Decade: Growth and Expansion
We wrote a mission statement, a vision statement, identified values.
We were all focused on growth, and it was fun seeing a lot of employees coming in and being a part of that whole growth period.
Kari-Jo Koshes, Director of Stores and Fulfillment, hired in 2012:
When I first joined JMX, the office was much smaller, so the end of 2015 we bought our new building and we were all really excited. We had more room than we thought we’d ever be able to use.
And in that same administrative building, we had our showroom.
It led to the launch of our warehouse and the accompanying DutchCrafters deliveries, where now we got into the space of that really important moment in the customer’s life.
It also meant that we expanded our showrooms and so we improved the Sarasota showroom, we launched a new showroom in Alpharetta, Georgia, and we really thought a lot about what that customer experience looks like within the showrooms.
Those of us who attended the grand opening in Alpharetta can attest to the fact that Amish furniture never looked better than it does in that new showroom.
The Values of JMX Brands
The leaders of this company have always had three things that they are focused on.
That is: providing the best customer experience to our customers, providing great opportunities for our employees, and continuing to grow this company.
Those are the focuses that they had in the early years, and these are the focuses that we have moving forward.
Now, we have more people, but I think that culture and that feeling of still working for a small business and a family owned business, I think, that’s still a part of DutchCrafters.
A Place to Grow and Develop
One of the things that’s been most fulfilling to me has been the growth and the stories and the relationships and the development of so many of our employees.
I am really proud of the staff that have have come together to make this a Best Place to Work.
Our employees are engaged, they care about our customers, they try to live out our values that we share together.
When you come together with people who are committed to a common vision like that, there’s something magical about it.
And, the employees that we have here at JMX Brands should be really proud of each of their parts in this history of two decades that we’re sharing together.
It’s not just my celebration. It’s all of our celebration together. I’m really proud of that, and I hope our employees are too.
Reflecting on 20 Years of History
I remember when I joined, we had just celebrated the 10th year anniversary and we imagined what 20 years was going to be like.
And if you told me, you know, what DutchCrafters would look like back then, I wouldn’t believe it.
So I’m just shocked to see the growth and how much that company has done.
It’s really, really exciting to see.
As I look back over two decades, in some ways, the company hasn’t changed its DNA. We’ve always cared about people. We’ve always cared about customers. We’ve always been entrepreneurial.
But in other ways, the company has changed fundamentally from where we started 20 years ago. Where we came from 2003 to 2013, the company looked very different as we had survived that first decade and some really big challenges. And then, from 2013 to 2023, we’ve changed again with revenues, our culture, our people, locations.
As I look ahead to the next decade, I’m filled with excitement.
2033: What would the company look like at that point in time?
I can only imagine what some of the changes might look like. To me, that’s really exciting.