Buying American-Made Tires

It used to be that if you wanted to get made in USA tires, you would simply buy Goodyear or Firestone and could be assured of getting domestic product.  These days, tires are a global commodity.  The major tire manufacturers, including Goodyear, Michelin, Firestone/Bridgestone, Cooper and Yokohama make tires in the US as well as abroad.  Assuming, for instance, that Goodyear tires you are buying for $500/4 are American and a set of Yokohama tires are imported may be erroneous.

This is what in fact happened to me recently.  This experience proves that you cannot trust tire retailers and have to double-check what they tell you.  One year ago, I visited Just Tires, and asked for Made in USA Goodyear Tires.  They were medium grade/cost and I was assured that they were domestic.  Of course, it turns out, they were made in Mexico.  That’s what you get for trusting the sales staff.

Next time, I checked possibly getting tires for my wife’s car at American Tire Depot.  I was told that basically “no tires are made in USA” and that they couldn’t find any such tires.  A cursory look around the shop showed me made in USA Firestones.  I left in disgust.  Finally, a few months ago, my wife went back to American Tire Depot (because she got a flat tire and the tires hadn’t been changed yet).  She requested made in USA tires that fit the car.  She had to leave it there so that they could special order these from a central warehouse.  In 2 days, though, it was done and she had verifiably American made Michelin tires on her car!

Lessons learned:

1) don’t believe the sales staff at tire shops – verify for yourself

2) you can get a made in USA tires from almost any manufacturer

3) you may have to wait a day or more to get the tires you want

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Chynna Dolls Women’s Swimwear

chynnadollslogo

ChynnaDolls.com makes a variety of innovative and sexy bikinis and one-piece bathing suits right in Orange County, California.  I’ve personally spoken with Heather, the owner.  She started the company herself as a family business and manufactures all the garments in-house.  The workers making the garments are all direct employees of the company.

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The work is definitely quality and they’ve been going strong for the last 10 years! Check out  made in USA bikinis and bathing suits at Chynnadolls.com!

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Trayvax Rugged American-Made Wallet

Do you struggle to find the right balance between form and function when selecting a tactical wallet?Are you looking for a rugged USA-made wallet ready for your use and abuse?  Then look no further than Trayvax!

Made in USA Trayvax Wallet

Travax Made in USA walletThis is a very unique and interesting product.  The heart of the wallet is based on a metal skeleton(stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and aluminum).  There may then be leather, parachute cord, straps, velcro and other adornments that come off of it.  The one I am reviewing is one of the flagship Element wallets, the “Mississippi Mud” that features leather, parachute cord and stainless steel.  The design is a hybrid billfold with wrap around leather to hold some credit cards.  There is a built-in bottle opener and grommet-hole for carabiner attachment.

Trayvax is all about made in USA.  Unlike most “assembled in USA of foreign and domestic components” apologists, all the materials for their wallets are US-sourced, as of this writing.    If you are looking for “mil-spec” this is it.  Trayvax is not made by a large conglomerate getting into the wallet business.  This is no offshoot of Calvin Klein, judging by the Trayvax Youtube videos, but a group of young people that came together to break the mold in product design and execution.

We wish you more success!

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Sun Hats by RoniGirl – fashionable and high quality sun protection

made in usa sunhatIt is very hard to find hats made in the USA.  Even the high end brands are made overseas these days, so I was happy to discover Sun Hats By RoniGirl.  These fashionable, high quality sun hats are made in the USA. They come in two styles and a variety of colors to match any wardrobe. They are also machine washable and come with a cute carrying case.

Roni describes her hats as follows, (as quoted from her website):

“The concept is simple. The inside lining of this hat has been created with a light weight UPF/UV resistant poly fabric (created from recycled water bottles) The fabric was chemically tested at a lab in North Carolina. The hat received a 99.98% UVB rating and a 99.94% UVA rating. We are only allowed to label 50+ however, as you can see the protection is even more qualified. The outside fabric is 100% cotton print or solid denim for a fashionable flair. The combined fabric/weave is extremely effective in providing sun protection.”

made in usa women's hats

In addition to the high quality, another great thing about this company is that with every purchase,  a donation is made to the Skin Cancer Foundation.  They also offer free Shipping within the United States!  

For more information, to read the interesting back story, or to purchase a hat, visit the Sun Hats by RoniGirl website http://www.sunhatsbyronigirl.com/

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Amy Matto Made in USA Dresses

Amy Matto Made in USA Fashion

Amy Matto is a woman’s apparel designer and maker based in the New York garment district.  In a previous post, I reviewed humorous t-shirts from Amy Matto that are made in USA with a tongue-in-cheek jab at off-shoring to China.  That was my introduction to Amy Matto, however, my eyes got big when I scanned her online collection of dresses that are made in USA.

Really, the designs are timeless and classy but also very exciting and modern.  The picture below is of the Jane V-neck dress from the Spring 2015 collection.  The quality is very high The dress is made of 100% Italian silk) and retails $304.  It is unlined, but I think that is appropriate for spring/summer.

What was striking about Amy Matto’s collection overall is not just the apparent quality, but the versatility of the design.  The majority of the product is right at home in office, casual and going out environments.

made in USA dress

 

Given price and quality, I would purchase Amy Matto over the Chinese junk offered at BCBG and the like any day, yet the pricing is not much higher for her dresses that are made in USA and not China.  Frequently, the fabrics are Italian.  Some of the dresses are on sale for under $100!  No brainer!  Why buy Gucci or Chanel when you have Amy Matto?

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Amy Matto T-Shirts Made in USA

Amy Matto Made in USA Fashion

Amy Matto is a New York-based fashion designer.  Reviewing her line of women’s clothing, it appears that everything is made in USA, in New York.  The dresses are quite eye-catching with a variety of styles from beach to office.  (Note to self – get one for wife…).  Meanwhile, she launched a set of t-shirts for men and women that say “made in usa” in Chinese characters, to poke fun at outsourcing in the clothing industry.  I guess it means that we could end up even outsourcing the words “made in USA” to the Chinese language. :))

Here is a pic of me in the Chinese “made in USA” shirt (which is made in USA, by the way).

Amy Matto T-shirt

 

The shirt retails for $38 on the AmyMatto.com website.  It’s definitely a quality tee.  Highly recommend on the dresses, from what I’ve seen, by the way!

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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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