Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

The Cost of a Made in the USA Cell Phone? Same as an Import

August 29th, 2013 by Jessica Meehan

In the past year, both Apple and Google have announced plans to make some of their cell phones in the US. Motorola (now owned by Google) has begun producing their Moto X in Fort Worth, Texas, making it the first cellphone to carry the “Made in the USA” designation.

Now that production is well underway (the phone went on sale last week at AT&T), research firm IHS has announced some exciting news surrounding the assembly cost of the Moto X. The cost of American assembly of the phone? A mere $3.50-4 more than phones assembled in Asia. Labor costs are more for the American-made phone as US jobs pay better, however the cost of transportation to the US offsets the labor costs.

But what about the rest of the phone’s production? IHS found that the Moto X’s overall production cost is just 9% more than that of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 while being  5% less than the Samsung Galaxy S4.

So doubters, take that. American-made electronics can be cost-competitive with those made overseas. Hopefully we’ll see more examples to come!

4th of July Fashion Show

June 30th, 2013 by Jessica Meehan

We know – the 4th of July is mostly about food, outdoor activities (many involving water and/or explosives) and time with family and friends. And while we do mostly remember that it’s a time to celebrate the freedoms we’re fortunate to have as citizens of a democratic nation, we don’t always remember to honor our freedoms to start our on businesses and appreciate the work of our entrepreneurial neighbors.

Celebrate it all with family and friends by eating locally grown foods during your cookouts and decking out your whole family in American-made apparel.

Here are some of our picks to be fashionably festive during your 4th of July activites:

 

For HIM:

Taylor Stitch Men’s Apparel
Made in San Fran

 

Loggerhead Apparel
Made in Greenville, SC of American cotton
20% off your order thru July 3rd with code JULY4USA

 

For HER:

Ramona LaRue 
Miami, FL

Imogene + Willie
Nashville, TN

 

 ACCESSORIES

Votary NY
Made in New York City

Nina Falana Hats
Made in Chicago, IL

 

Kids

Tipsy Skipper Sandals
Watch Hill, RI

 

Prairie Cottons
Made in Barboursville, VA

Pets

Up Country Collars
East Providence, RI

Have any favorites we missed? Add them in the comments!

Local love,
Jess

Strolling of the Heifers Names Its Top 10 Locavore States

April 28th, 2013 by Jessica Meehan

Image via getrealmaine.com

Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based local food advocacy group, has released its second annual Locavore Index–a ranking of U.S. states based on their commitment to local food and farming. The results may surprise you – or might not:

  1. Vermont
  2. Maine
  3. New Hampshire
  4. North Dakota
  5. Iowa
  6. Montana
  7. Oregon
  8. Wyoming
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Idaho

The most densely populated states don’t hit the top 10. Why? Food deserts. While these states have pockets of high local food availability (think Brooklyn, San Francisco), there are plenty of areas where supermarkets and farmers markets are no where to be found. The states that made the list may be made up of more rural areas, but these areas almost always have locally-grow food available.

How did they choose their Top 10? The Locavore Index uses information from Census Bureau population estimates; LocalHarvest’s CSA database; and the USDA’s farmer’s market database, as well as Strolling of the Heifers’s food hub database of organizations that sell local food to large organizations.

See where your state lands on the list here.

Google Glass the Next Tech Product to Be Made in the USA

April 1st, 2013 by Jessica Meehan

We’re not totally sold on the concept of Google Glass but now that we’ve heard this news, we’re more excited about this gadget.

Google Glass is the next hot tech product to be made in the USA. The futuristic eyewear projects a small display in front of the user’s right eye containing search results and other data. The “Made in the USA” announcement comes just months after one of Google’s biggest competitors, Apple, announced plans to spend $100 million to build one of the existing Mac lines in the U.S. Looks like  “Made in the USA” is one of the hottest labels out there.

The most interesting part of this? Google Glass is being manufactured by a foreign company for an American company on our shores. That’s right, Taiwanese industrial company Foxconn, who will be producing the glasses for Google, has said it wants to increase its operations in the U.S. (it already operates plants in Texas and Indiana through a subsidiary) in response to the growing appetite for “Made in the USA” products.

Does this announcement make you more likely to drop $1500 on a pair of these high-tech frames?

-Jess

 

The Locally-Stuffed Easter Basket

March 24th, 2013 by Jessica Meehan

If you didn’t notice within hours of Valentine’s Day (actually days BEFORE Valentine’s Day), Easter candy and baskets and everything else Easter hit store shelves. And all those Easter goodies were far from natural (if an ingredient list has chemical names and numbers in it, it’s not for us!) and made in big, ole factories. Gross.

Support your local chocolatiers and stuff those Easter baskets with locally-made artisan goodies. Here are some of our favorites from across the US. Find neighbors making yummy Easter treats near you using the Locallectual directory.

Christophe Chocolate – Charleston, South Carolina

Compartes Chocolatier – Los Angeles, California

Maison Robert Fine Chocolates – Atlanta, Georgia

 Vice Chocolates – Oakland, California

MarieBelle Chocolates – New York, NY

And for the unconventional Easter treat…
a solid chocolate Easter Gator

Southern Candymakers – New Orleans, Louisiana

My Funny American-made Valentine

February 10th, 2013 by Jessica Meehan

Valentine’s Day, perhaps the most polarizing holiday on the calendar, is upon us. Yes, it’s a day to acknowledge your love. But just because you love someone, doesn’t mean you have to express that sentiment in the cheesy, sappy way that Valentine’s Day has become known for. And it’s that Velveeta cheesiness that makes people really, really dislike this holiday. Well that and being single.

With the help of the lovely ladies at Charlottesville, Virginia’s paperie rock paper scissors, we’ve got some of the most creative, cheeky and humorous ways to express your affection. Oh yeah, and they’re all made in the USA by small business presses. We love long time.

Dude and Chick PressDude and Chick Press, Minneapolis, MN

Oddball Press ExtinctionOddball Press, Cleveland, Ohio

Old Tom Foolery Love CardOld Tom Foolery, Minneapolis,MN

Mr Boddingtons Press Valentines Day CardM r. Boddington’s Studio, New York, NY

From: frank Love cardfrom: frank, Lafayette, Indiana

So put a little more thought into your Valentine, like these cheeky card writers did and buy something that will make your Valentine smile, feel loved AND laugh. Shop your local paperie, from the producers or from the lovely crew at rock, paper, scissors.

Local Love,
Jess

Apple Has “Made in the USA” Bug, But Dont Get Too Excited Just Yet

December 17th, 2012 by Jessica Meehan

Apple is know for being a pioneer and changing the way not just Americans, but the world, interacts with computers and electronics. One place they’re a little slow to get on the boat is with the return to American manufacturing. In fact, Google beat them to it, making their Nexus phone stateside earlier this year.  Tim Cook, Steve Job’s replacement, has made many statements about the company’s return to American manufacturing and he’s putting his money where his mouth is – but you won’t  find “Made in the USA” Apple products under the tree this year.

It’s reported that Cook and Co. plans to invest $100 million in American production of Mac computers. Rob Enderle, an analyst in Silicon Valley told the NYTimes, “if Mr. Cook is bringing his computer assembly back to the United States, it will probably be for larger, lower-value goods that Apple wants to sell locally” – think larger machines for enterprise use – not your iPad or iPod. Macs now make up less than 20 percent of its nearly $36 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter.  Apple’s iPad and iPhone sales amount to nearly 70 percent of the company’s sales and  will continue to be made in low-cost centers of manufacturing like China, mostly on contract with outside companies.

Any why produce stateside? Like many other industries, there’s a slew of reasons: patriotism, helping local economies, rising cost of fuels to transport worldwide, rising wages for overseas workers and shaky labor practices at off-shore plants.

However,  there needs to be some explanation here – manufacturing and production aren’t what they seem. With electronics (like many products, unfortunately), there are many components coming from around the globe. For example, many computers (including Apple’s) contain an Intel processor. Those are manufactured around the world – Intel has plants has plants in the US, Israel, Ireland and China. So Apple products will be “Assembled in the USA”, not so much “Made in the USA”.

Also Cook has suggested that Apple is planning to build more of the Mac’s components domestically, but with partners. So don’t look for a big Apple factory coming to a town near you.  He told Bloomberg Businessweek that Apple’s domestic plan “doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.”

And sadly, the return of American production/assembly of computers and electronics doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in American jobs. The future of the electronics industry is swiftly going to the robots. Specialized robots are already building the key pieces of computers. As the NYTimes reports, “The most valuable part of the computer, a motherboard loaded with microprocessors and memory, is already largely made with robots.” What do humans do?  Fit in batteries and snapping on screens. Pretty boring, but I guess someone (with an opposable thumb) has to do it.

So all in all, I’m kinda busting your bubble. But it is good to know you can – and should – buy American-assembled computers.

Boston University professor Andre Sharon makes a good, although Negative Nancy-esque, point about the current “reshoring” of some American industries.  “I find it hard to see how the supply chains that drive manufacturing are going to move back here. So much of the know-how has been lost to Asia, and there’s no compelling reason for it to return. It’s great when a company says they want to create American jobs — but it only really helps the country if those are jobs that belong here, if it starts a chain reaction or is part of a bigger economic shift.”

So what can we do as American consumers and workers?

  1. Support American companies that manufacture, and yes, even assemble, their goods stateside. This will help show companies that this trend of domestic production is long-lasting and worth investing in.
  2. Push schools to educate our children in “the know-how” that’s been lost to Asia
  3. Focus now on bringing back American jobs and rebuilding industries that America excels in – automobile production and clothing, among others, first.

 

So don’t feel too guilty when purchasing Asian-made electronics this holiday season. Look for more “Made in the USA”/”Assembled in the USA” goods next year and let’s continue to push Mr.Cook and others to bring production back our way, even if it’s in bits and pieces, and applaud him for making this change.

-Jess

Black Friday Sales from Locallectual Companies!

November 22nd, 2012 by Jessica Meehan

Happy Thanksgiving! First we’d like to say how thankful we are for all of you who are passionate about locally grown foods, locally-made goods and local businesses.

Now, we know you’re busy cooking, spending time with family, and giving thanks, but we’re pretty sure you’ve got shopping somewhere in your mind. Our inbox is full of Locallectual companies having Black Friday sales online and in-store, and if you’re gonna brave Black Friday shopping, we urge you to buy from local producers! So here’s some of the good stuff that’s on sale:

Chaser LA:
Chaser LA makes rad, rock star-worthy tees for men and women in Los Angeles. 40% off the entire store starting tomorrow!

LAMade:
The name says it all – made in Los Angeles. 30% off entire website, including sale items, with code THANKS30

Mabo Kids:
Based in Salt Lake City and made in the USA modern kids apparel. All current collection pieces are 25% off with code GOBBLE thru Sunday

 

Rock Me USA:
50% off everything Black Friday through Cyber Monday with code THANKSGIVING

Sbicca of California Footwear:
Made in California stylish footwear for women. Free gift with purchase and free shipping with orders over $50.

Jack Robie Apparel:
Men’s button down shirts made in New York City. Up to 40% off styles beginning at 8 PM Thanksgiving Day.

 

If you’re not a Black Friday-er, make an effort to get out for Small Business Saturday and support local businesses, especially those that are locally-owned and produce their goods locally. More and more people are venturing off on their own, following their passions and starting their own businesses all thanks to the confidence they’ve gained from Locallectuals like you! Keep up the good work!

-Jess

Halloween Candy Fancified (and Localized!)

October 17th, 2012 by Jessica Meehan

Leave the Snickers and Reese Peanut Butter Cups to the amateur Trick or Treaters – we’ve found some amazing, handcrafted chocolates perfect for your Halloween party  or grown-up candy sack (your kids might not be sophisticated enough for these ghouls and goblins).

Chocolate Skulls from Cacao Atlanta
Dusted with silver or gold powder with edible crystal eyes. Interiors are filled with silky caramel or house made peanut butter.

The Monster Mash Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate Co., Portland, Oregon
Crème Brulée Werewolf, Peanut Butter Ghost, Blood Orange Vampire and Popping Praline Mummy truffles
Dark Chocolate Spooky Cat from Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont

Handpainted Chocolate Pumpkin from Christophe Artisan, Charleston, South Carolina

Milk Chocolate Witch Pop from Edward Marc Chocolatier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Have a favorite artisan chocolate maker we missed? Send them our way!

Local Love,
Jess

Let Them Eat Feed! Give Your Chickens a Taste of Versailles

October 13th, 2012 by Jessica Meehan

We’ve all heard about how poorly conventionally-raised chickens are treated. Crammed in cages so they can’t move, in many cases their beaks cut off – it’s not a nice lift.

So rescue some chickens and put some good chicken karma out there in the world by purchasing the chicken coop available from Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book. For a mere $100,000 dollars (YUP), you can treat your poultry to a palatial life in the Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon hen house from Florida’s Heritage Hen Farm. Included in the package is a multilevel dwelling, nesting area, “living room,” broody room, library with books, two Heritage Hen Farm pasture grazing trays, waterer, feeder, and chandelier. Yup, chandelier.

You will also receive:

  • “The buyer will receive an initial farm consultation and grounds survey and two additional onsite visits from Heritage Hen Farm expert, Svetlana Simon.
  • Simon will select three to ten heritage-breed hens carefully selected to suit your region.
  • Installation includes two custom-designed and installed raised vegetable or herb garden beds.”

Honestly, we love this. However, $100k seems A TAD steep. Think if you donated that money to a chicken rescue (are there chicken rescues?) or animal rescue how far that would go. We think there are a lot of other locavore or other charitable endeavors that could benefit from that money. However, if you have $100k to drop on this and $100k to donate to a charitable cause then by gosh, splurge! Don’t your chickens deserve it?

Read more about this palace, see more pics, and purchase it(!) at neimanmarcus.com.

-Jess