Reshoring an Increasing Trend – Brooks Brothers

From Forbes.com – Why Brooks Brothers And Other Apparel Companies Are Moving Manufacturing Back Home

This article highlight the trend of apparel manufacturing re-shoring.  It seems to be most pronounced in this industry.  Although per-item production cost may still be cheaper in China and the Far East, the advantages to American-based manufacturing may outweigh:

  • quicker production turnaround
  • lower minimum production runs with higher sell-through percentages
  • less excess that has to be unloaded at lower prices, thus under-cutting profits
  • vertically-integrated production
  • appeal of American-made
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Made in USA Flatware from Liberty Tabletop

liberty-logo

I had long ago despaired of finding American made silverware (correct term is flatware if it’s not made of silver).  When I was getting married 10 years ago, we considered what to put on the bridal registry for flatware.  We looked at Oneida and Lennox and they were all imported.  We finally settled on a Lennox, made in Korea, although I wasn’t thrilled about it.

To my surprise, I was recently contacted by Greg Owens, the CEO of Sherill Manufacturing, and introduced to his company’s line of beautiful flatware – the only flatware currently produced in the USA! Reading on the Sherill Manufacturing website, the story goes that Sherill used to be an OEM manufacturer for Oneida after acquiring their domestic production infrastructure in Sherill, New York in 2005.  Then Oneida shifted all production overseas, forcing Sherill to change plans and develop its own designs and brand of flatware – Liberty Tabletop.  After the ups and downs of recession, Liberty Tabletop is out in full force, with multiple designs of place settings, service settings, steak knives and accessories.

made in usa flatware

Liberty Tabletop Pinehurst

 

I was able to sample the Pinehurst place setting (see pictured).  This set is of excellent quality – perfect finish on all edges, even weight and a pleasant texture of the handle. The price is roughly the same as a middle-range Oneida set, which is made in China as far as I know and have been able to research.

made in usa silverware

Liberty Tabletop Pinehurst

 

 

To me, it’s a no-brainer.  If you’re buying a decent set of flatware or are considering a bridal registry item, it makes no sense to buy Chinese or Pakistani or some other junk made with who knows what (made with lead, possibly?).  Buy the good stuff, keep fellow Americans employed and the money circulating here instead of flowing overseas and making the Taliban rich.  Visit libertytabletop.com.

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Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Needs an Adjustment!

shark-tank-logo

My wife loves the show, Shark Tank.  This is an America’s Got Talent version of entrepreneurs presenting their products and ideas to tycoons who may or may not invest in their products. Sometimes, there is a “feeding frenzy” and sometimes harsh criticism.  It’s a good show, and just being on it is probably the most valuable aspect for small businesses.

I have noticed a pattern however.  Many entrepreneurs present products that they have started to have made in the USA and believe strongly in it. That is often part of their branding.  Although the other sharks are neutral about this, except to some extent, Robert, Kevin O’Leary “Mr. Wonderful” is downright antagonistic.  Every time, his offer includes a requirement that production be outsourced to China or somewhere similar to drive production costs lower by another dollar.

I do not like this aspect of the show.  It sends the wrong message to entrepreneurs and about American industry in general.  There needs to be a protest to the show’s producers about this.

Here is the link to their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/SharkTank

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Moto X2 – Now Made in China

I was eagerly awaiting the debut of the 2nd generation Moto X smartphone.  I had just a few months to wait for the new one and I was excited to buy the only smartphone assembled in USA.  Unfortunately, the new phone is made in China and the Fort Worth plant that employed 700 workers is closing this month (9/14), due to “high costs and weak sales”.

This is really sad.  Now I am not sure what I will do, but I am no longer excited about buying a new phone.  I think I’ll wait a little longer and keep my money in the US for now.

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Made in USA Scale

Detecto eye level professional scale

Detecto is a major manufacturer of scales.  It seems that almost all scales are made in China these days, certainly anything you would but at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I purchased a scale similar to the one above for less the $150 online and it’s made in USA! The quality is really high also.  I don’t see how you could get a better value by buying Chinese.  Also, they make lots of other scales for all applications.  I don’t know if they are all made in USA but it seems that a large part are and that the company is proud of manufacturing in USA.

 

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Osmium for Father’s Day

osmium
Looking for a last-minute Father's Day gift idea?  Why get Dad the usual gift card or tie?   Why not some quality made in USA clothing?

I have the pleasure to again review a product from Osmium, an East Coast-based mens clothing company.  The Tradesman Vest is a steal for $135 (now on sale for $105 for Father's Day).   This casual vest is made from cotton twill with a column of 5 metal buttons for a hip/retro look.  The fit and feel of the material are perfect.  The vest in made in Connecticut, USA and the fabric is domestic. It can be worn casually, with jeans or chinos. This is the most popular item on Osmium.com.

made in usa vest
Osmium also announced a new product, the Sawyer Shirt.  This shirt is made from luxurious Japanese chambray fabric and made in Massachusetts.  Osmium has a full line of mens dress shirts in a variety of interesting fabrics.  

You can buy from Osmium directly through their website, Osmium.com.
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Mentor Implants are Made in USA!

I’m a cosmetic surgeon and recently added breast augmentation with implants to my list of services at my surgery center, Celebrity Laser Spa.  There are 2 main brands of breast implants in the US – Mentor and Allergan.  They are both high-quality and have FDA approval.  However, I was shocked to find out that Allergan implants are made in Costa Rica, yet cost more!  I would have expected the other way around!  Also, as a new account, I got an even better deal with Mentor.

Mentor proudly advertises their made in USA credentials, too.  Way to go guys!

Here is their website: Mentorwwllc.com

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New Made in USA Jeans

 

made in usa jeans

Dyer & Jenkins is a recent start-up Los Angeles-based men’s clothing manufacturer.  I first heard about them on Kickstarter in 2013.  It looks like they were successful!  I was able to sample their high-rise straight leg jeans and knit sweatshirt.  The quality of the fabric is excellent – tough and durable.  I’m not sure I should wash them, since it would make them softer (and less manly? :)  The fly uses copper rivet buttons instead of a zipper.   The stitching is tight and features special touches.  A rear belt loop attached diagonally :))   The sweatshirt is light and also shows a flair in its stitching.  Overall, impeccably made, stand-out clothes that guys from all backgrounds will like.

The team behind D&J appears to really take their mission of manufacturing in USA and supporting American jobs seriously.  I look forward to more exciting products from them.  D&J clothing can be purchased both online from the website, www.dyerandjenkins.com as well as from retailers in California, Texas, and New York.

 

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M.M. Confine

I was recently contacted by Jesse Malinowski of M.M. Confine, the creator of a Seattle-based, all-made-in-USA clothing line.  Right now, they have duffle bags, backpacks, socks, hats and shirts.  The website also features army surplus wear that goes along with the gritty tenor of the other items.

The more I explored M.M. Confine, the more enigmatic it seemed.  Is this punk rock?  Is this a creative anarchism?  Clothing made by industrious skateboarders?  There’s a vein running through the project, titled “The Common Sense Knights of Men.”  The logo is found on some of the clothing.  There is a zine with that title that is also available from the website:

The title is again, enigmatic.  I sense a streak of libertarianism in Jesse that is perhaps in its formative stages.

From the standpoint of the clothing, the construction is high-quality and style is masculine.  It goes well with army surplus goods.  Is this what our armed resistance to a foreign invasion would wear?  I hope to see a further expansion of the clothing line and would love to feature it here.

Jesse, if you’re reading this, please comment – what is the relation between the clothing, the music and the CSKOM?  Am I way off base? – Alex

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Duke’s Smoked Meats

It seems like every classic American food product is undergoing a renaissance these days.  These days there are exciting new choices in American coffee, beer, wine, whiskey, cheese and confections.  I would also like to add smoked meats to the list of craft-style/small batch American-made food products.

I recently tried Duke’s Honey Bourbon Beef Jerky, part of a sampler of beef jerky, from Thanasi Foods, a Boulder, Colorado company that makes Duke’s Meats and Bigs Sunflower Seeds.  Thanasi was founded only in 2003 and is found in 40,000 retail locations, according to their website.  The beef jerky is quite tasty and came in an attractive box along with several other flavors.  I think I should be having this with an IPA and an assortment of cheese to do it justice.

I am encouraged that specialty food makers, such as Thanasi and Duke’s Meats are finding value in emphasizing their made in USA credentials.  Their image as a high-quality, craft-style specialty product will earn them a growing customer following.

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