October 30, 2014
Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta Line Brought the Party to Plates
Homer Laughlin, founded by brothers Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin, has been churning out pottery since 1873. The company got its start as Laughlin Pottery in East Liverpool, Ohio. After the brothers won $5,000 in a pottery-making contest, the extra funds allowed them to make their pottery on a larger scale.
In 1930, the company created Fiesta, a line of inexpensive, colorful dinnerware. The dinner plates’ popularity soared, even during the Great Depression. Nearly 20 years later, Homer Laughlin designed and built its own multipurpose machine in house, which increased the production of its plates and bowls.
The company eventually moved to Newell, W.Va., on the other side of the Ohio River, where it currently employs 1,000 people. Homer Laughlin values its employees and believes they should be paid enough to buy homes, support their families and live comfortable lifestyles once they retire.
Today, Fiesta makes up half of Homer Laughlin’s business, and the company unveils a new color every March. Collectors and fans come from all over, and even stand in line for factory tent sales where they can critique color choices.
The American-made pottery company has survived in a world where “Made in China” is commonly found on household items. In an interview with NPR, President Elizabeth Wells McIlvain – Homer Laughlin’s first female leader and a fourth-generation employee – said, “I’m very proud to have kept this business here in the Ohio Valley. That’s very important to us.”
Vaughan-Bassett salutes Homer Laughlin for living American Made.
October 28, 2014
Vaughan-Bassett Goes to Market
From furniture showrooms to book signings and more, we had a blast at High Point Market.
Last week, the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world drew visitors to High Point, North Carolina. High Point Market has attracted a growing number of attendees in recent years, with approximately 75,000 people from more than 100 countries in 2014.
“Over the last three years, our attendance is up, the amount of showroom space is up, and the revenues that are coming into the High Point Market Authority are up,” said Doug Bassett, chairman of the Market Authority and president of Vaughan-Bassett, in an interview with News & Record.
On Saturday, Vaughan-Bassett Chairman John Bassett III and Beth Macy, author of “Factory Man,” hosted a book signing for market attendees. They anticipated 200 people would attend, but more than 300 turned out for the event. Guests mingled, met with John and Beth and enjoyed drinks from JB3’s coffee bar.
We wanted to send a special thank you to all the retailers, designers and market leaders for making this another successful year at High Point Market. And we can’t forget about the 60 reps who helped usher attendees through our 25,000 sq. ft. showroom.
We’ll see you next year!
October 22, 2014
Men’s Store Ball and Buck Urges Customers to #jointhemvmnt
Boston’s Ball and Buck – named after George Washington’s reference to shot gunning – is the modern man’s man cave.
The men’s clothing, accessories and home goods store, owned by Mark Bollman, is complete with worn-in leather couches, taxidermy and dark wood. And unlike other similar stores, everything at Ball and Buck is made in the United States.
“Everything in the store is made in the USA, and we really are passionate about enabling the buyer to really have a connection to exactly where that spend is going,” said Bollman in an interview on the Ball and Buck site.
Today, many clothing and furniture companies source their goods from overseas. In its mission statement, Ball and Buck shares its drive to bring America back to her roots, by reinforcing American quality over foreign quantity. Bollman encourages his customers to vote for domestic production.
“We want people to be passionate about the garments they produce, and really have skills and craftsmanship that’s been built over generations,” he said.
Bollman urges Americans to #jointhemvmnt by shopping American made. For more information on Ball and Buck, check out Bollman’s recent interview in GQ.
October 14, 2014
EcoVet Hires Veterans to Give Old Semis New Life
Typically, worn-down and weathered semi-truck trailers are destined for the landfill. But EcoVet uses them to create one-of-a-kind furniture pieces – built by a truly deserving workforce.
The organization, part of EcoArk Inc. Company, repurposes wood (usually oak or maple) from trailer floors into high-end, custom-made furniture. The trailers are primarily sourced from Walmart, and EcoVet ensures that all parts are used in some way. They recycle the steel and aluminum and donate the plywood walls to Habitat for Humanity. Even the tires are repurposed.
The EcoVet story goes well beyond its exemplary commitment to environmental sustainability, as its entire workforce is made up of military veterans. Check out this recent Fast Company story to learn more.
EcoVet strongly believes that military veterans are skilled laborers and are invaluable to the workforce. The company currently employs 28 vets in its Springdale, Arkansas, factory and plans to employ a total of 500 veterans in the next three years.
Thanks, EcoVet, for Living American Made.
October 3, 2014
National Manufacturing Day Exemplifies “Live American Made”
President Obama declared today – Friday, Oct. 3 – as National Manufacturing Day. In a time when many products are manufactured overseas, National Manufacturing Day sheds light on American companies that are committed to bringing jobs back home. According to the White House, “America’s manufacturers have created jobs at the fastest pace in decades, adding more than 700,000 new jobs since February 2010.”
On National Manufacturing Day, plants across the country open their doors for visitors to tour their facilities. More than 100,000 people have now toured 1,600 manufacturing plants in just three years. For more information on National Manufacturing Day, visit MFG DAY’s website.
October 2, 2014
Lincoln Logs Comes Back to its American Roots
Remember Lincoln Logs? There’s a good chance you, your parents and even your grandparents built homes with the popular toy during childhood. John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, created Lincoln Logs nearly a century ago – and the toy is a classic piece of American history.
Parent company K’NEX, which outsourced manufacturing of the small wooden parts to China, recently announced the toy is coming home to the United States. Eighty percent of Lincoln Logs production will now take place at Pride Manufacturing, a wood products company in Burnham, Maine, that employs 130 people. The Lincoln Logs contract will add up to 10 new jobs for the Burnham community.
“We couldn’t be happier to bring these jobs back to the United States and specifically to Maine,” said Larry Fanelle, Pride’s senior vice president of operations.
We salute Lincoln Logs and their new partner, Pride Manufacturing, for working together to build (pun intended!) a new future for an age-old American toy – right here in the United States. To learn more about this Live American Made story, check out Lincoln Logs’ recent feature on NBC News.