It is not always easy to find Made in the USA merchandise when shopping for your everyday needs. The branded merchandise business is not any different. Our two largest categories, apparel and writing instruments, are absolutely dominated by products made in foreign countries. Dominated… but not exclusive!
Globalization has helped to keep inflation in check for consumer goods over the past decade. However, Chinese labor costs and shipping have increased dramatically in the past couple of years. The Chinese middle class continues to emerge. With this emergence, the cost of doing business in China is likely to continue its upward trend. This will narrow the price gap between products made in China and the United States.
Pockets of traditional American manufacturing are realizing growth. The US auto industry bottomed out in 2009 when automobile sales plunged to 10,400,000 units. Huge job losses were realized and the entire industry had to be re-worked. We now have some of the best cars in the world coming from Detroit and 2012 auto sales projections are in excess of 13,500,000.
We have also seen examples of companies returning to State side manufacturing. WeatherTech is a category leader for automobile floor mats. They truly take pride in their product and, in 2007, returned all manufacturing to the United States. Even their factories are stocked with North American made machinery (http://www.weathertech.com/assets/1/7/What_Matters_to_You_New_American_Factory.pdf)!
As it stands right now, many of our domestic factories are producing some terrific product for the Branded Merchandise Industry! Beautiful wood products and displays from Vermont, incredible custom crafted bags from Connecticut, office accessories from Nevada, drinkware from New Jersey, award winning awards from Illinois and the coolest t-shirts from California! Rest assured, there are many options if you want to promote your brand with Made in USA merchandise.
Think we might be worthy of a conversation? We'd love to hear what you have in mind.