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November 24, 2014

One Texas Family’s American-Made Home

The Usrys, a family in Texas, accepted ABC’s “Made in America” challenge, part of a series on “World News with Diane Sawyer.” The challenge required the family to remove imported items from three rooms – the living room, kitchen and bedroom – and replace them with American-made products.

“Whenever we have a viable option, we would love to buy American,” Jon Usry said in an interview with “World News.”

In the master bedroom, the Usrys replaced their old furniture with a bed, dresser, nightstand and chest from Vaughan-Bassett. And the family was surprised to find out the new Vaughan-Bassett furniture was cheaper than their old, imported bedroom furniture.

If you look around your home, chances are most of the items you own – from lamps to pillows and beyond – are imports. In fact, nearly 60 percent of everything we buy is made overseas, according to ABC News.

The United States is consuming imported goods at an alarming rate, compared to 50 years ago. In 1960, foreign goods made up just 8 percent of Americans’ purchases.

The United States has fewer manufacturing jobs now than it did in 1941. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t turn things around. Economists predict if each person spent an extra $3.33 on American-made products every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new U.S. jobs.

Thank you to the Usry family, for accepting ABC’s challenge and for choosing to live American Made!

November 14, 2014

USA-Made Coat from Northern Kentucky Company on the Cover of O, The Oprah Magazine

The holiday season is quickly approaching. Malls are crowded with shoppers on the hunt for this year’s most coveted gifts. And if there’s one person who influences buyers’ decisions, it’s Oprah Winfrey.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” was broadcast in 145 countries, with approximately 1.3 million audience members over 25 seasons, according to Entrepreneur. Every year around Thanksgiving, Oprah selected her must-have items to showcase on her “Favorite Things” episode. The show ended in 2011, and since then, Oprah has issued her list of favorite things in the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

This year’s issue hit newsstands November 11. On the cover of the magazine, Oprah is wearing an American-made, ivory faux mink fur coat from Northern Kentucky-based company Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Furs.

“It is really fun and exciting, and who knows … we have no idea what the ramifications will be because she’s Oprah,” Salyers said in an interview with the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Some companies whose products were featured in Oprah’s “Favorite Things” in the past experienced the phenomenon called “the Oprah effect.” For example, one Florida-based mail-order cake company went from the verge of bankruptcy to a million-dollar business after one of its cakes was featured on “Favorite Things,” according to Entrepreneur. Only time will tell if Salyers’s company will see similar results.

“We’re especially proud we made Oprah’s favorite coat right here in the USA,” said Salyers in a press release on PR Web.

Congratulations to Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Furs!

November 11, 2014

“Made in U.S.A” is Making a Comeback

More small-business owners are benefitting from domestic manufacturing rather than overseas options, according to an article on CNBC. The owners of three U.S.-based manufacturing companies, Thompson Tee, Maker’s Row and Unionwear, are encouraging the return of manufacturing jobs to the U.S.

Thompson Tee is a men’s undershirt manufacturer located in Placentia, California. Investors approached owner Billy Thompson, requesting he move production offshore. Thompson declined, and instead turned his efforts to Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site similar to Kickstarter, where he was able to raise $25,000 to launch his American-made line.

“I want to create jobs here in America,” Thompson said. According to the CNBC article, Thompson estimated one U.S. job would be created for every 2,000 T-shirts made.

Creating U.S. jobs remains a priority for many American-made companies. And small-business owners also are considering other factors, such as increasing labor costs in China and poor working conditions in Bangladesh.

“You add import taxes and it becomes such a gamble manufacturing overseas as a small business,” said Matthew Burnett, owner of Maker’s Row, a company that connects U.S. product designers with factories and suppliers.

Mitch Cahn, the owner and founder of Unionwear, agrees. His company is a U.S. apparel and accessories maker in Newark, New Jersey. He noted that East Coast fashion designers, who previously sourced their goods from overseas, now are looking for U.S.-based contract manufacturers.

“Now we have five to 10 callers a day about doing that kind of contract work. It’s a groundswell,” Cahn said in the article.

Because of the increase in labor costs overseas, many small businesses are actively pursuing domestic manufacturing instead.

We’re happy to hear that U.S. manufacturing is making a comeback. Thank you to all of the U.S. small businesses that are making the choice to live – and manufacture – American Made.

November 5, 2014

“Factory Man” Named a Best Book of 2014 by Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly recently named Beth Macy’s New York Times Best Seller, “Factory Man,” one of the Best Books of 2014.

Macy saw firsthand how globalization was destroying her town. The author’s former employer, The Roanoke Times, published many stories about local factories closing their doors. She began to see the real issue at stake – American manufacturing was on the fast track to becoming obsolete.

She quickly turned her attention to Vaughan-Bassett Chairman John Bassett III, a man making a difference in the community. He was the furniture manufacturer who – according to Macy’s neighbor – “took on China.” Even with major retailers against him, Bassett’s efforts changed legislation – and helped save his town of Galax, Va., where hundreds of employees kept their jobs.

“Bassett did really inspiring things to keep people employed,” Macy said in an interview with Publishers Weekly.

“Factory Man” jumped to the Best Sellers list one week after its publication in July 2014. Check out our Factory Man page to get more information about the book.

Congratulations, Beth Macy!