Live American Made

For 100 years, we’ve proudly supported American businesses and communities. The Born Made Stayed blog is our effort to shed light on other remarkable companies that make products right here in the USA.

December 9, 2014

More U.S. Companies are Moving Manufacturing Back Home

Many U.S. companies are reshoring – a term that refers to moving manufacturing from overseas back to the U.S. Of the U.S. companies that have already reshored, many attribute this move to increasing labor, shipping and manufacturing costs overseas.

“You went to China because it was just so cheap you couldn’t help it,” said Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group in an interview with NPR.

Sirkin, who has surveyed companies about reshoring, said at least 200 companies have returned to the U.S., and many are considering doing so in the coming years. If this trend continues, Sirkin predicts 20 to 25 percent of products that were manufactured overseas will eventually return to the U.S.

Major companies such as Ford, Whirlpool and GE have already brought back some of their products. GE wanted to have more control of its hybrid water heater – primarily the technology that goes into it. The decision to bring some of the manufacturing back to the U.S. was a risk, according to Mike Chanatry, GE’s head of manufacturing. However, he assures it was a risk worth taking.

Vaughan-Bassett applauds those companies that have reshored and encourages those who are considering making the move in the next few years. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for American manufacturing.

December 2, 2014

The American-Made Gift Guide

The holiday season is here – and the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is urging shoppers to purchase American-made products with the help of its holiday gift guide.

Shoppers are already spending more money on holiday gifts this year than they did last year. According to a Gallup poll, Americans as a whole will spend $720 million on holiday gifts in 2014. The same poll predicts a quarter of Americans will spend $1,000 or more.

The AAM – which aims to strengthen American manufacturing and create jobs through smart public policies – predicts that if each person spent $64 on American-made products this holiday season, it would create 200,000 jobs in the United States.

The organization understands that American-made products can take extra effort to find. So in order to make buying American easier for shoppers this season, AAM put together an American-made holiday gift guide. Products are sorted by their state of origin and cover a variety of interests, from food and craft beer to clothing, home décor and sporting equipment.

To view the comprehensive list, visit AAM’s website.

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!

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.V-B4

“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.