From the Bollman Hat Company website/press release on American Made Matters™…”At a time when saving American jobs is more important than ever and the economic recovery needs a boost, a growing group of American manufacturers have come together to form American Made Matters™. The mission of this newly-reinvented organization (formerly SaveAnAmericanJob™) is to stimulate American manufacturing by promoting a broader understanding of why purchasing American products is vital to our future, and enabling consumers to easily identify goods that are American made.”
This consortium has an interesting group of manufacturers on-board, and growing, including K’NEX, Todd Shelton, Andrew David, Riccar and more…see the full member list. Although American Made Matters does not abide by the “Made in the USA” Federal Trade Commision guidelines, because the standards of manufacturing for American Made Matters differs (50% of cost and production for American Made Matters vs. 100% of cost and production for all or virtually all for goods carrying “Made In USA” labels), the founder of the organization Don Rongione, CEO and President of the Bollman Hat Company, states that “… at least 50 percent of costs are incurred, and final assembly occurs in the U.S. You might not be able to say ‘Made in USA’, but you can say you produce in the U.S. and comply with the Save An American Job standard.” (Save An American Job or SAAJ was the original organization name, which has changed to American Made Matters).
What I found really exciting was that some of these manufacturers are licensees. Over $5 billion in royalty revenue was generated through intellectual property licensing in 2010 according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. These numbers equate to 100s of billions of dollars in retail sales of consumer goods in 2010. Seeing licensed propeties seeking out manufacturers in the United States, to license, make and market product lines, is an additional opportunity for real economic growth for America. Bollman Hat Company just recently signed two licensing agreements with American entertainment icons – multi-platinum, 3-time Grammy Award-winning Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo for his brand Francis Ellargo, which signifies the ultimate gentleman, and Trevor Brazile, America’s #1 All Around Cowboy under Brazile’s Relentless brand with Bollman’s Bailey Western hats.
“Hats have always been a part of who I am” said Ne-Yo,“ so head-wear was the obvious first product to launch under my brand. Offering the world’s best quality and American made matters to me, so connecting with America’s oldest and the world’s best hat maker was also an obvious choice.” (see the full press release here)
We will be keeping an eye on this trend!
Correction – American Made Matters requires 50% of cost and final assembly to take place here in the United States in order for a manufacturer to be a member of American Made Matters. We originally post that figure at 60%.
We celebrated our second anniversary on July 4thand I am very happy to report that our members and sponsors now number 34. Our members span a range of US manufacturers making a variety of products from denim to pet supplies, from shirts to metal fabrications, from bags to vacuums and from shoes to toys. What we have in common is a passion and commitment to continue to produce products in the United States.
American manufacturing continues to face tough challenges related to costs, currencies, and compliance to name a few. Despite these challenges, we hear every day from consumers, retailers and press who have a re-newed interest in buying US produced products because they appreciate that American Made Matters. We have over 12,000 fans, friends and followers in our social networks. Our website views grew 20% in the last month. Online and bricks and mortar retailers contact us every week seeking US product.
Many consumers continue to have difficulty finding US products which is where our American Made Matters logo comes in. More of our members are using our logo on products, packaging and promotional materials which is very important to continue this momentum. Please use our logo on your qualified product. There is strength in numbers. And we are growing and growing stronger!
December 15, 2010, Adamstown, PA – At a time when saving American jobs is more important than ever and the economic recovery needs a boost, a growing group of American manufacturers have come together to form American Made Matters™. The mission of this newly-reinvented organization (formerly SaveAnAmericanJob™) is to stimulate American manufacturing by promoting a broader understanding of why purchasing American products is vital to our future, and enabling consumers to easily identify goods that are American made.
America’s settlers came to this country seeking a place where they could establish a better life. They came with hopes and dreams and the belief that anything was possible: a safe and secure life for their families, an education for their children, owning a home. For generations, this has been the American Dream. But amidst our struggling economy, the hope of realizing “The American Dream” is becoming more and more illusive for many Americans.
“Buying American is more important than ever,” says Don Rongione, the organization’s Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Bollman Hat Company, America’s oldest hat maker. “Simply put, stimulating manufacturing here at home will save jobs and increase the pool of job opportunities, but it is also the only way we will get to a sustainable economic recovery and secure our independence. The most valuable service our group can deliver is to make it easy for shoppers to identify products that are made in America.”
American made products matter to different people for different reasons, and so on its new website (www.americanmadematters.com), the organization provides consumers with a comprehensive education on the impact that buying American has on our economy, consumer safety, our national security, our independence, our planet, and more. In addition, the website speaks to the potential long-term ramifications if we don’t start supporting manufacturing here at home. The site also offers lists of, and links to companies rooted right here in the U.S.—companies that offer world-class products that are safer, more reliable, more innovative, more environmentally friendly and superior in quality to comparable imports.
The cold, hard truth says Rongione, is that most Americans don’t really understand that purchasing less expensive goods manufactured in foreign countries—no matter how much they spend—isn’t going to help “stimulate” the U.S. economy; it’s actually a losing proposition. Over the last 10 years, more than 5.5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the U.S. Add in the documented “ripple effect” of four to five jobs lost for each single manufacturing job, and this translates to some 30 million American jobs lost. Tens of thousands of American factories, unable to compete with lower cost producers, have closed their doors and laid off workers, or been forced to move their jobs offshore to compete with lower-priced foreign alternatives.
Less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing at the end of 2009, the lowest number since 1941. More than 40,000 U.S. manufacturing plants closed their doors in 2008 alone, putting hundreds of thousands of hard working men and women in the unemployment line. And at the moment, there aren’t any indicators that American manufacturing will recover any time soon—during November, only 39,000 jobs were added (with the number of manufacturing jobs falling), a sharp drop-off from the 172,000 jobs gained in October, and this year’s average monthly gain of 86,000. And the jobless rate jumped to a seven-month high of 9.8% in November.
Yet despite the belief of many Americans that the “heyday” of American manufacturing is long gone, it is still possible to turn things around. “We have become too dependent on foreign manufacturing for what we use and what we wear,” says Rongione. We need to start regaining our independence by bringing back the quality craftsmanship and manufacturing that have been the keystones of the American economy.”
Inspired by our current economic climate and his own experience with the painful process of cutting jobs, Rongione decided to ramp up his original concept for the organization, which was first launched in July 2009. American Made Matters™ will offer a higher level of consumer engagement through its newly designed website and friendly, informative Facebook page. The organization itself, acts as a member-based “consortium” of like-minded U.S. manufacturers and sponsors, and as a public forum for consumers to obtain information on high quality, American-made products. Benefits for members include networking and partnering opportunities, access to blog posting, a branded link to members’ websites, and participation in regular promotional campaigns designed to heighten awareness of U.S. made products. Member companies are authorized and encouraged to use the American Made Matters logo on products where at least half of the cost and the final assembly or transformation takes place in the United States. Plans are currently underway for a major public marketing campaign, as well as an educational program specifically designed for schools.
More information is available at www.americanmadematters.com; companies interested in membership should contact Don Rongione, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bollman Hat Company, at 717-484-6230, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Spreading the word — American Made Matters
The group responsible for those ads was the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) as an attempt to bring attention to a phenomenon that was a clear threat to the loss of jobs in that industry — cheap labor available in the third world. So, let’s see if this sounds familiar to anyone — companies were talking about expensive labor, protecting their bottom lines, cutting costs in orders to compete, etc. We all know what happened to the textile industry — jobs were lost to foreign countries in droves starting in the 1970s and that trend continues.
To have a look at an IGLWU commercial from 1978 to see if the themes within sound a bit familiar, just click here. That campaign wasn’t exactly a success as evidenced by how few articles of clothing are made in the U.S.
Don Rongione, president and chief executive officer of Bollman Hat Co. in Adamstown, Penn., said his company has been around since 1868 and — like other businesses in the textile industry — has felt the pinch from foreign competition. Rongione said his company isn’t unionized, but does share a common goal with those organizations — to keep jobs in the United States.
That goal, he said, prompted him to launch Save an American Job — a project that now operates as American Made Matters — on July 4, 2009. That group partners with companies that manufacture products in the United States and gives them the tools to brand their products with an “American Made Matters” logo so as to let consumers know when they’re purchasing domestic products.
Rongione said it is critical to get people interested in purchasing American products as the nation has lost millions of jobs in Manufacturing. According to the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, over 5 million manufacturing jobs — close to one-third of all jobs in that sector — vanished from the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. Rongione said those losses translate into jobs being shed in support industries — truckers, research and development workers, suppliers, etc. all rely on the manufacturing industry to thrive. Some of those support jobs, of course, are saved when manufacturing jobs leave the country. Truck drivers, for example, are still needed to haul goods to stores like Wal-Mart regardless of where products are made.
Still, Rongione argues that keeping manufacturing local also tends to keep support industries local. When a manufacturing jobs leaves the country, he said it takes four to five support industry jobs with it.
The American Made Matters labels, then, are part of an overall attempt to curb those job losses and to, perhaps, encourage other manufacturers to establish jobs in the United States. Rongione said a sluggish economy, in his view, has caused some shoppers to search for American-made products and the labels can help them locate those items.
“There’s no question in my mind there is a movement back to buying American made products,” he said. “There seems to be a growing awakening among consumers that it does matter. They’re starting to look again for U.S.A.-made products.”
Since American Made Matters was started, 34 companies and sponsors have joined the effort. What must a company do to join and use the organization’s branding to steer consumers to its products? At least 50 percent of the cost of the branded product (cost includes labor, materials and overhead) and final assembly must take place in the U.S. The “50 percent” requirement is there as it is impossible for some companies to buy components for their products that is made in the U.S.
Those businesses, Rongione said, want to produce items here buy ought not be penalized is they use some imported products in their processes.
In addition to the labeling, Rongione said members get a link on the American Made Matters Internet site that lists the companies. Rongione said the listings exist as a service to consumers and retailers — finding companies that manufacture in the U.S. can be a challenge, and the service can help those buyers locate American companies.
Membership costs $40 a month, a sponsorship costs $25 a month and consumers can sign up for free to an email list that distributes news and information about members and the organization.
Rongione said his company has, in fact, found some customers through the program and from people out looking to buy American-made products. Will the program prove effective? It’s only been operating for a little over two years, so Rongione said only time will tell. He did say the effort is not as political in nature as some that may be operating out there — American Made Matters is not a lobby group, does not show preference to unions and was built on the notion that consumers are the only ones with enough economic clout to create a demand for products made in the U.S.
Will that philosophy turn the tide? Again, only time will tell.
Click here for more articles in this series.
|About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.
How the “American Made Matters” Organization Helps U.S. Plastic Injection Molding Companies
As Americans, we’ve all experienced the effects of our country’s economic downturn, resulting in high unemployment rates, drops in the stock market, and people questioning the security of their future. It’s time to pull together as a nation and American Made Matters, a group of U.S. manufacturers, is doing their part by promoting why buying American will help save our jobs and strengthen our economy.
There is a great need to educate plastic injection molding companies about the benefits of keeping operations at home. Many are still outsourcing for materials, parts, and labor, not realizing what it is costing their business, the industry, and our country. American Made Matters shows that U.S. companies can be competitive with offshore, when they look at the big picture. Below are some talking points about the benefits for plastic injection molding companies to keeping everything “made in the USA”:
• Shipping containers can cost $3000 or more each, plus inland freight charges and duties.
• There are no duties on goods produced in the U.S.
• Sending an engineer or procurement person to an offshore company can cost twice as much than to U.S. based factories.
Streamline Production and Shipping
• Time zones are disruptive to production schedules. With anywhere up to 14 hours difference, delays of at least one day to get responses to questions are common.
• It could take up to 30 days to ship from overseas, and there can be additional delays with U.S. Customs or Ports of Entry inspections.
• In comparison, it typically takes 1-5 days for most U.S. shipments.
Ensure the Highest Quality
Communications, mainly due to language barriers, are difficult when doing business offshore, and can cause costly mistakes and compromise quality. Quality control is more easily managed here in the U.S.
Protect the Planet
Less energy is required to deliver U.S. made goods to our national market. In addition, more eco-friendly production is possible here at home where EPA and state environmental policies are in place.
Protect Your Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is much safer in the U.S. There is a history of counterfeit goods being produced in Asia and shipped to the states. Trademarks and Patents are largely ignored in Asia and other foreign countries. Many plastic injection molding companies’ products produced offshore wind up on the “street market,” diminishing the manufacturer’s good name.
American Made Matters is also spreading the word to consumers so they know where they can purchase goods that are American made. Their website, www.americanmadematters.com, has a listing of members in all industries, including plastic injection molding companies.
“Buying American made is more important than ever,” says Don Rongione, the organization’s founder. American Made Matters is reaching out to our country’s consumers so they can remember that when they buy American, they are helping to support not only the U.S. economy, but also the “American Dream” of a safe and secure life for your family.
MADE IN THE USA IS COOL AGAIN
It’s about time – the made in the USA label is finally making an impact on consumers. It could very well be hyperbole, but there are people who think that selling patriotism makes good sense (and cents).
Brooks Brothers and the Olsen twins are using this moniker to sell luxury goods. Menswear designer Joseph Abboud has a “Made in USA” banner on his website with a link to footage of the Massachusetts factory that makes his suits. Brooks Brothers has factories in the USA and The Row, the luxury fashion line from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, manufactures most of its goods in America.
“There is a customer that appreciates products made in the United States and is willing to pay for the difference,” said Brooks Brothers chief executive Claudio Del Vecchio. Ten years ago Brooks Brothers did not make much in the US, but today a large percentage is American-made.
The USA’s reputation for quality is benefiting upscale labels as more Americans question where their goods come from, and how their buying affects the economy, said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing Inc.
“Made in America feeds into the values proposition,” she said. “They are voting with their money not just for U.S. jobs, but for a way of life. In 2007, they were on a spending jag -they weren’t thinking about things like this.”
More than three-quarters of affluent consumers surveyed this year by American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group said they like brands made in America, up five percent from 2008. Sixty-five per cent say they try to buy U.S. products whenever possible.
Other apparel makers have used the patriotism angle to attract U.S. consumers as well. Levi Strauss has always hyped its Made in the US roots, while Chrysler is just now making its “Imported from Detroit,” the new hip appeal to patriots of all ages.
“There is a built-in inherent interest among those successful people to do whatever they can do to help,” said Andrew Sacks, of Agency Sacks. Recent increases in labor costs in China, a sagging dollar and stalling U.S. economic growth probably will lead to more American manufacturing, he added.
The Olsens’ women’s label, The Row uses factories in NY and LA to make items such as $250 T-shirts and $2,350 dresses. First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Julianne Moore wear their goods, and critics continue to support the Olsen’s USA roots.
Tiffany & Co. has expanded its manufacturing base to Lexington, Kentucky. The New York-based company now makes everything in the U.S., compared with 20 percent 15 years ago.
The Made-in-America label is just starting its rise to popularity. As critics point out, most of Polo Ralph Lauren’s goods are made outside the US (and Coach). The irony of that is quite profound since Lauren was the first to create a sense of Americana to his ubiquitous legend.
U.S. exports hit a record $173 billion in March, up 15% from a year-ago and 37% from 2009. The good times for “Made in America” are just getting started, according to a new study from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
In fact, BCG predicts 2015 will be a tipping point of sorts, when global manufacturers will view the U.S. as equal to if not better-than China, senior partner Harold Sirkin tells me in the accompanying video.
“We’re not saying the world’s going to suddenly change and U.S. companies are going to manufacture here for shipment to China,” Sirkin says. “But the U.S. will be a very important place if you’re going to sell into the U.S.”
In making this seemingly outrageous forecast, Sirkin cites the following:
- Rising wages in China plus the strengthening yuan are eroding China’s cost advantage vs. the U.S.
- America’s “very productive, motivated and flexible workforce” is attractive to employers and all aspects of U.S. society — including unions and state governments — are “focused on creating jobs.”
- Intangibles such as the length of the supply chain and the challenges of communicating over multiple time zones work to the advantage of the U.S. (The same is true of Mexico, which BCG says is “also poised to benefit as a low-cost alternative” to China.)
For the record, BCG’s forecast is based on the U.S. regulatory and tax environment remaining the same. This is about “pure economics,” Sirkin says. “If you improve tax rates and regulation, it’ll only make the trend happen faster.”
Clearly this forecast runs against conventional wisdom. But conventional wisdom also holds that America “doesn’t make anything anymore,” which isn’t true either. Since 1972, U.S. manufacturing output has risen nearly 2.5 times, according to BCG.
But U.S. manufacturing employment has fallen nearly 25% in the same time period and few consumer goods are made here anymore, which is why it “feels” worse than the reality; if BCG is even half right, that’s going to change for the better soon.
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