It’s really only been in the past few decades that outsourcing manufacturing to countries that can produce for less has become the standard for American companies as well as European ones as well. Many companies, especially toy companies, you can safely assume outsource their manufacturing. But consumers need to be especially aware of companies that are iconic for their domestic roots and double check their “Made in” labels. It’s these companies that, although not necessarily hiding where they manufacture, may be hoping you will purchase their products based on their reputation for being a domestic institution and not even bother to glance at their label.
So it’s pop quiz time ladies and gentlemen. Of this list of companies, guess which ones are domestic manufacturers:
C and C California
Vermont Teddy Bear
So let’s start at the top:
C & C California: C & C is a company on the younger side, that grew especially popular for it’s light airy fabrics and creamy colors that embodied the California lifestyle. They came (and still do) with a hefty price tag but many justified it (including me) because all their pieces were made in the US. Well sad news, but C & C has recently begun outsourcing some of their production! If asked why, I’m sure they would give you the same answer many companies would – that American manufacturers couldn’t keep up with the demand and that they couldn’t keep their prices competitive if they continued to manufacture domestically. Tisk tisk.
New Balance: Don’t be fooled by the American flag and “U.S.A.” found on New Balance’s shoes. Many of their shoes are made in China, or say something about being made in the US of Chinese parts. Not as American as they would lead you to believe, hmmmm? While New Balance does have American factories and employ many, many American workers, they do outsource a great deal of their production.
Vermont Teddy Bear: Most stuffed animals are made overseas, generally in Asian factories, so you can assume that these teddy bears are too, right? Wrong! Vermont Teddy Bear makes high quality teddies that will survive your children and probably theirs as well. They are all made in Vermont and they have styles to choose from, plus you can custom design a bear with the fur colors you want. They make great lifelong gifts for occasions when you would generally send flowers (I have a bear from my Grams I got when I graduated high school).
Coach: My mom was shocked when I told her Coach, known for its American crafted leather pieces, was now outsourcing to China. Their website and literature included in their bags all discuss their tradition of fine American craftsmanship, but now sadly, its fine Chinese craftsmanship. While still a well made product, Coach’s increase in popularity has lead to the outsourcing of their product.
Sterlite: Sterlite containers are items we run across daily, many times without even noticing. And you can buy them at almost every store under the sun, including big chains like Wal Mart, CVS, and Kroger. So because they’re plastic, abundant, and available at big,evil stores like Wal-Mart they have to be produced abroad. Nope! Sterlite has always been an American manufacturer and make their plastics in Massachusetts. So look at the label before just grabbing any old plastic container off the shelf. Rubbermaid-imported. Sterlite-domestic.
Frye Boots: Frye Boots is another iconic, American leather company like Coach. However while a good amount of their boots and shoes are made still in the United States, some are outsourced to Mexico. But Frye is a company you have to check the label on closely. You can’t assume that all boots are made in Mexico and all sandals are made in the US…there really is no pattern or formula, that I’ve found to their manufacturing practices. It’s just something you’re gonna have to read up on. Sorry.
Burberry: To many, the Burberry plaid is as English as the Union Jack, but the once 100% English company is now outsourcing lots of manufacturing of their line to, surprise, China. It’s just American companies that see the shortcuts outsourcing abroad presents, but European counterparts as well.
So as you can see that you can’t really go on what you think you know, or with the information that companies wave in your face. You have to sometimes do you own investigative work, or of course you could talk to the Locallectuals and learn what companies truly align with your shopping ideals.