Family-owned Chemtech International Inc. Successfully Navigates the Global Market

Danielle Miess, for GPA -- “The difference between a strictly local and unsuccessful company and a worldwide success story is the ability to interact and emphasize with customers everywhere,” Neel Daphtary, the Vice President, Marketing and Sales of Chemtech International said.

Although a small family-owned business, for nearly the past 30 years Chemtech International has brought its services based out of the Philadelphia suburbs to clients the world over.

Chemtech’s founder, Daphtary’s father, was born in India, grew up in Uganda, and moved to the Philadelphia area, where he has spent the past 50 years.

“For my parents being from another country, but being here for most of their lives, they have that understanding and mentality of foreign business,” Daphtary said. “It has proven true that most American companies don't have that, because most of the employees haven't been out of the town.”

Originally selling chemicals and dyes for the food industry, Chemtech’s services have expanded to water purification, waste treatment and environmental safety treatment, as well as to the pharmaceutical industry.

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The company’s outreach spans Europe and the Middle East and beyond. Chemtech has also gained presence in The Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, and Kuwait- to name a few.

Although company leaders regularly travel all over the world, Daphtary said that the Philadelphia proximity is the most ideal to set up roots.

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“Philadelphia is a very historic city to begin with,“ he said. “I also believe a lot of the customers know the area for the most part. A lot of customers are multinational and a lot of multinationals have offices in the Philadelphia area.”

Daphtary said that he prefers the location as opposed to New York or another large metropolitan area because he would have to look into the trucking industry and freight in and out of the city. In Philadelphia, he said, it is easy to be mobile.

“In Philadelphia, we're lucky we have the airports here,” he said. “We can also have our products shipped to seaports in New York and down south. It’s a lot more cost effective to be in Philadelphia in the suburbs.”

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Daphtary said that the international relations aspect can be a challenge in the business, but if navigated successfully, could lead to a very profitable company.

“To this day, certain things still blow my mind,” he said.

“I’m like, ‘I can’t believe they are asking me to do this,’” he said of some of the unconventional requests he received from international business partners. 

“You have to respect that to a certain degree if you want to do business with them, though,” he added.

Daphtary said that it was his respect for other cultures that helped the company stand out from competitors. If he made the customer feel comfortable, and went the extra mile, the customer would be more interested in his product than a competitor’s.

“If no one trusts you and they don't like you, they won't buy from you,” he said. “They’ll be willing to pay a little more from somebody else."

For proof that his business model works, Daphtary said that it shows in the longevity of Chemtech.

“We've gone through so many economic recessions the past few years, but we're still here and we’re doing really well,” he said.
Daphtary said that he has high hopes for the continued expansion of the company and hopes to further the outreach in Latin America.

“If you're willing to be understanding on how the world works and be understanding on other views, I think you can do really well in international business.”

All photos courtesy of Chemtech International, Inc.