Made in USA Pavilion at MAGIC Highlights American Innovation

Made In The USA pavilion-700

Today, Denise Schwartz, one of the inventive American entrepreneurs we work with, reached out to tell us about the exciting Made in USA pavilion at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas. MAGIC is the largest global marketplace for apparel, accessories, and sourcing resources.

Many entrepreneurs want to make their products in the United States, but they often find daunting challenges sourcing Made in USA components.

The presence of so many new firms at the Made in USA pavilion offers established businesses and entrepreneurs access to new American businesses popping up at every stage of the supply chain. These new companies create a multiplier effect – generating many new American-made products for consumers.

One business that is good for the Made in USA movement and the planet is Eco-Fi, an innovative company that transforms post-consumer recycled plastic bottles into high-quality polyester fiber. They have recycled over 350 million bottles this year – and counting!Eco-Fi-600On the labor side of the equation, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) was also at the show to highlight their manufacturing services. NIB supports blind Americans, including veterans who have returned from war without their sight.

When we purchase American made products – we are creating demand for the manufacturers who provide opportunity for our community.

NIB600

Back to School in America

BacktoSchool-post

The crisp weather of fall heralds the start of a new school year, with an opportunity for new learning, friends and experiences.

Whether you are looking for a new backpack, like those in the Back to School Guide from the Made in USA Challenge or essential school supplies, it is a great opportunity to help children understand the value of purchasing Made in USA items.

The manufacturing jobs created when we buy Made in USA items are an important part of their future. If we all do our part, they will graduate from school into a stronger economy.

It can be an incredible challenge to find school and office supplies that are Made in the USA. We love these pens from Pilot are Made in the USA with 86% post-consumer recycled content.

Another great find for a kid’s desk or Mom’s is the Ergo Ergonomic Stool. Affordably priced, they keep your core engaged and are made of a UV-stable recyclable polymer – we use the same stool at our office in the pretty royal blue color.

As you make your way through the busy year, please reach out to us if you are looking for supplies and can’t find any Made in USA options at info@footvote.com – we are happy to research your request free of charge with no obligation.

Happy Fourth of July!

libertybell

On the Fourth of July I am filled with gratitude. When we are born in this country, we have won the lottery of birth. To live a life of freedom and opportunity is a blessing unimaginable in many parts of the world.

Especially recently, as countless children take journeys at great peril to make their way across our border they remind us of the gift we have been given – and how much others would sacrifice to have the same opportunity.

This is the first country to be built around an idea – not religion, not ethnicity, not geography. The first sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states it beautifully:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As we strive to work to be worthy of the many gifts we have been given, July Fourth gives us an opportunity to stop and count our blessings.

We hope you will join us in celebrating our freedom and those who protect us – our troops, firefighters and police by ringing your bell at 2pm on July 4th. You can find out more about this tradition at No Greater Love (ngl.org).

Happy Fourth of July!

Pet Head Knows the Benefit Of ‘Made in USA’ on the Label

DogforPetHead1000r2

When Kyara Mascolo was preparing to launch yet another popular brand of hair-care products, she turned to manufacturers who had created her earlier successes. The reasons were simple: They knew their business, and they also happened to be in the United States.

“We chose to work with local companies because we’ve established relationships with them that go back years and years in developing professional beauty products,” Kyara explains. “We know that items produced in the U.S. are a favorable choice in our markets, and we’re pleased to put ‘Made in USA’ on each and every bottle.”
Read More…

Rebuilding an American Supply Chain

horizontal-amb

Clothworks is a Seattle textile company with five brands of fabrics, including a new one grown and manufactured completely in the United States. Since the launch of American Made Brand (AMB) fabrics a few weeks ago, the Clothworks shipping dock has been jammed with pallets for shipment of AMB products to independent quilt shops and fine fabric retailers across the country.

“What we’re doing with American Made Brand fabrics is making everyone at Clothworks happy,” the company’s owner, Ted Hoffman, said last week. “When we were developing the supply chain, we even kept it quiet from the employees, but once we explained what we were doing, we could see a certain pride in them, a kind of patriotism. And now, as word gets around about our new American-made fabrics, we’re seeing the same tremendous response from our customers.”

Clothworks and its AMB line is an example of the type of manufacturing innovation and consumer support needed to create a product that is truly American, from the cotton fields to finished product. Unfortunately, the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations could cause the whole effort to unravel.

According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, the TPP has the potential reduce U.S. textile exports at the early part of the supply chain, further eroding American textile infrastructure and capabilities. To expand American job growth in higher value sectors, the cotton grown here should not be exported as a raw material – but instead transformed into beautiful finished products like the textiles created by American innovators like Clothworks.

In Stealth Mode

After a successful career at Microsoft, Hoffman decided to buy Clothworks, which seemed like a perfect fit. “We looked at several businesses and this one struck a nerve with us, it really fit our skills,” said Hoffman, who heads up management and operations with the help of vice president Miryam Peterson, while his wife, Candice Hoffman, heads up the creative side.

The business they purchased was truly international, with partners based across the globe in Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, India and Thailand. Five years into the business, after he had his bearings, he asked the question: “Why can’t we do this here? We started asking the question and the answer is that it has all disappeared and the remaining segments have an export focus.”

“As the cotton moves up the supply chain, the focus is getting it overseas,” he continued. “It took a while to figure out who the people were who could do something here.” Once Hoffman found the right people and asked them if they had thought about producing textiles in the US, they said that they hadn’t considered it in a while, because they hadn’t been asked.

Once he realized that reconstructing the supply chain would require substantial resources, he brought the idea back to his team. “How do we put some of this back together? How do we figure something out to create a product that is truly American Made,” he asked. “Everyone loved the idea.”

“We’ve been in stealth mode for two years,” Hoffman said of the time he spent assembling a U.S.-only supply chain for AMB fabrics. “We had to talk to a yarn spinner and get them to spin our particular size of yarn, and then talk to a weaver to have a particular combination of threads woven, then move on to a print plant for more discussions.”

“As far as I know, we’re the first company to assemble this type of supply chain in a long time,” he said.

Gaining Momentum

According to the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), 565 textile plants were shuttered between 2000 and 2012. Despite this, several textile manufacturers have recently built new US manufacturing facilities. According to the NCTO, five new plants have opened here in the past 18 months.

Hoffman said he has witnessed a momentum building in the industry. Some of the previous advantages held by offshore manufacturers – especially low labor costs – are declining, which is helping US companies regain some competitiveness.

“We’re also seeing kind of a cultural movement occurring that’s really supporting American manufacturing,” he said. “There have been a number of positive signposts along the way.”

Learn more about American Made Brand here: http://www.clothworks.com/index.php/brands/index/profile/id/24/

A Made in the USA Earth Month

earthday

What does Earth Month have to do with locally manufactured products? Plenty.

People honor Earth Month in many ways: enjoying nature on a walk or hike, participating in an environmental event, increasing awareness about environmental issues large and small or gathering with neighbors and friends to make a change locally.

We would like to suggest adding one more item to the list – think about where and how the products you purchase are made.

Transportation and electricity contribute to our carbon footprint, and so do the products we consume. Where and how something is made can make a big difference on its environmental impact – tons of difference. The shift of manufacturing from the United States to China has resulted in an additional 500 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. That is the same amount as the entire carbon footprint of Italy.

China is now the largest emitter of carbon in the world, and as much as one-third of that carbon load can be traced to exports of goods consumed by Americans and Europeans.

This is bad for the earth, it is bad for the United States (that pollution cloud travels over the ocean and eventually impacts our air quality), and it is bad for the Chinese people – China’s air pollution kills over 1 million people a year according to the World Bank.

There are more risks ahead. Current trade negotiations have the potential to extend environmental risks beyond the agreements in the 1990s that led to the unbalanced trade situation with China. So, on this Earth Day, we encourage you to take action and let your member of congress know how you feel about trade and its impact on the environment: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find.

And, on a lighter note – enjoy some of the fun, innovative products created by American Entrepreneurs out of recycled materials like this fun Rocket, Beecology Handmade Soaps, or this colorful Food Storage Set from Preserve from recycled, bpa-free plastics so that nothing goes to waste.

Happy Earth Month!