Why do most new exporters quickly abandon foreign markets after shipping very small amounts? And what are the investments that exporters need to make to succeed in exporting? A large literature uses models and customs records to address these questions. We complement these studies by conducting case study interviews with a small set of Colombian manufacturers of plastic products with limited differentiation. Inter alia, we find that establishing a lasting foreign market presence involves a costly search and learning process, with valuable knowledge coming from initial failures. Our interviews shed light on the specific types of hurdles the exporters face and investments they make to overcome such barriers.