April 19, 2012

Made For Us

As both economic and unemployment uncertainties remain apparent and our predictions are confirmed, a shift away from globalization has begun to arise as a result. In the postwar years of the 1950’s, we supported our country and bought products made here in the U.S. like cars from GM and household appliances from GE, for instance. We were given a fresh start to rebuild our economy honoring our morals, values and general patriotism. As 1950’s influences begin to resurface today, maybe this is exactly where we are headed.

photo via ABC News

A “Made In America” mindset not only brings manufacturing back to the U.S., but also creates jobs in the process. A growing appreciation, support and general patriotism takes precedence over buying elsewhere. It’s not only a phenomenon we see here in the U.S., but in northern Europe as well. Everything goes back to the ideas of tradition, quality, authenticity and handcrafted skills.

People are happy and proud to work for this country and for companies that support work in the US as well as the evolution of skill sets, which we have lost after shifting to offshore manufacturing. In our blog, This Week’s Forecast: Seasonless, we keep emphasizing how we need to change things, specifically the supply chain and start nearshoring. However, before that can happen, we need to have the skills and the knowledge here in the U.S. to enforce and ensure this shift and change.

photo via ecouterre.com

According to PBS, in the 60's, 95 percent of clothing sold in America was made here, which today dwindles to just about 5 percent. Which companies do you know that make products here? We bet you weren't aware that the likes of fashion labels such as Nanette Lepore, The Row, Rag & Bone, Oscar de la Renta, Nicole Miller, Lela Rose, J Brand and Jason Wu all do. Not to mention, the Obama administration has specifically used the fashion industry to promote a Made in America campaign to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and double exports by 2014. U.S. apparel and textile exports have grown 13.7 percent in 2011 and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Demetrios Marantis predicts that "export opportunities are just boundless."

photo via New York Times

Over the past two years, factories nationwide have created over 400,000 manufacturing jobs with companies like Otis, GE and Master Lock paving the path to job recovery. In addition, due to increasing prices of raw materials and logistics, over 50 percent of U.S. based importers have moved portions of their manufacturing out of China into Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh or even back here to the U.S. This growth in U.S. manufactured products is affecting every industry from apparel and textiles to cars, appliances, electronics, and the list goes on.

video via vimeo

With this in mind, a potential reality TV series called Made Right Here is in the works highlighting brands that are still made right here in the U.S. From baseball gloves to belts and buckles, the show seeks to tell the stories of true American culture by introducing craftspeople and masters of the trade to the world. American manufacturing is still very much alive and the series is dedicated to promoting buying locally made merchandise, supporting U.S. skilled artisans and most importantly giving a voice to the future of traditional American industries.

Locally here in New York City is the Williamsburg Garment Company which sells garments to the trade at a fraction of industry standard mark-up, with hopes that the retailer will pass on the savings to the consumer. Using a cash and carry business model, the company avoids costly expenses like unpaid invoices and returns that usually drive up prices at the wholesale level. This small one-man operation is like nothing we've seen before with its unique, transparent and high quality affordable merchandise.

photo via Plastics Today

Looking towards the South, the Houston-based professional hairdressing company, Farouk Systems does 80 percent of its production in the U.S. with costs only slightly higher than China because of improved efficiency. Mr. Shami, the chairman and main owner of the company believes, "If you can say your products come from a U.S. factory, that conveys a good image and I believe this has helped us expand." Looking beyond cost effectiveness there is a much deeper worth, pride in the products one makes. As more companies begin to value their image and this country, a trend towards re-shoring addresses the direct creation of U.S. jobs and nationwide dignity.

With rising costs in China, increasing productivity of U.S. workers, supply chain risks and weather unpredictability, the U.S. is becoming progressively valuable in the world of manufacturing. From small start ups to large corporations, more and more companies are cutting ties with China and re-shoring manufacturing back to the U.S., as a promise for better job security, changing consumer attitudes and nationwide pride ensues. Looking at an array of companies already based in the U.S., the skills and knowledge are here and making a major comeback. As we continually realize the value of these skill sets, we will become more equipped to take on the shifting supply chain and protect American culture and industry.

From all of us here at MBF, have a happy and healthy Earth Day!

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