AcousticSheep Named Exporter of the Year by Export-Import Bank of the United States During 2020 Annual Conference
Click here to see EXIM’s press release for this event.
ERIE, PA — September 11, 2020: AcousticSheep LLC, the Erie-based company that invented the world’s first and most comfortable headphones for sleeping has been named an Exporter of the Year by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). The company has used EXIM’s export credit insurance to bolster international sales and expansion since 2017, and was honored during EXIM’s annual 2020 conference, held virtually on September 9-11, 2020.From left: AcousticSheep Co-Founder and CTO Jason Wolfe, EXIM Chairman Kimberly Reed, AcousticSheep Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Wei-Shin Lai
AcousticSheep was among 12 other small businesses chosen for the award, representing a cross-section of American innovation and industry sectors. AcousticSheep began using EXIM’s export credit insurance in 2017 to protect against the risk of nonpayment, and has enabled the company to both increase existing exports and expand into two new countries.
“EXIM has given us the confidence to work with new distributors in more risky countries as well as expand our sales to existing distributors, giving them more credit — and increased sales — over time,” said Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, AcousticSheep’s CEO. “We used to worry about doing enough due diligence on international partners or asking them to pay up front. Now, we are still careful, but we know that EXIM has our back if anything goes wrong.”
AcousticSheep is a minority- and woman-owned business based in Erie, Pennsylvania with exports currently accounting for 25% of the company's sales.CEO Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, EXIM Chairman Kimberly Reed in SleepPhones Warehouse, Erie, PA
AcousticSheep was founded by Dr. Wei-Shin Lai and Jason Wolfe in 2007. Wei-Shin Lai, a family physician, couldn’t get back to sleep after taking patient calls at night. Her husband, Jason Wolfe suggested she listen to binaural beats in order to fall back asleep, but regular headphones and earbuds were uncomfortable. To solve this problem, they decided to make the first headphones designed specifically for sleeping. He soldered and she sewed the first “headphones in a headband” at their kitchen table and called them SleepPhones®.
More than a million SleepPhones® have been sold to date, and Jason and Wei-Shin have earned recognitions such as Entrepreneur of the Year in PA (SBA), Entrepreneur of the Year in Western PA & WV (Ernst & Young), and Small Business of the Year with the Consumer Technology Association. Their products have won eight Consumer Electronics Association Innovation Awards, two Pennsylvania ImPAct Awards (Entrepreneur and Exports), and a Red Dot Design Award.
For more information, visit www.SleepPhones.com.