JMX Brands owners Jim and Linse Miller made the cover of Herald Tribune’s Business Weekly in Sarasota, Fla., for providing the technical bridge for Amish woodworkers to sell their furniture online.
The world’s largest online-only retailer of Amish furniture at www.dutchcrafters.com, JMX Brands’ flagship brand DutchCrafters is selling $6 million a year in orders made by Amish craft shops in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Jim Miller, Goshen (Ind.) College alum and former Mennonite pastor, started JMX Brands in 2003 with his wife Linse and business partner Miao Xue.
The Millers discovered Amish-made crafts by chance when first researching products to sell online but working with Amish woodworkers was a natural fit.
“We understood the culture,” said Jim Miller. “Our woodworkers didn’t need to explain to us why they didn’t use email or have a phone in their office. We knew there would be communication challenges but we were happy to take them on because we also knew we could provide a product that was made by craft shops with a commitment to the best quality.”
The Millers were also willing to travel and meet the Amish woodworkers in person to build relationships.
They continue to visit their vendors several times a year, taking along other JMX staff so that the Amish craft shop owners can get to know the people who send them orders and request product information.
JMX has built solid relationships with the Amish woodworkers. When Alan Miller, owner of Genuine Oak in Dundee, Ohio, was asked to provide an interview to the Herald Tribune, he made himself available via phone to talk about his woodworking process and business with JMX.
Combining their Mennonite heritage and Amish connections with a Web-savvy business model has paid off.
JMX now works with about 190 Amish craft shops and made three lists of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States last year, including the 2014 Gulf Coast 500, Inc. 5000, and Internet Retail 1000.
As more and more Amish look for sources of income other than farming, JMX provides a source for selling Amish-made furniture and crafts that allow the Amish to maintain their way of life and still sell their products across the United States.