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When "Made in America" matters--and when it doesn't

5 years ago 1977 Views No comments

A good friend of mine--and I'd call him a "globalist" to his face--recently posed a question over a couple of beers: "What difference does it make where my products are made?" The answer I gave him was a knee-jerk amalgam of stale platitudes. "Made in the USA stands for quality! American pride, etc. etc." Frankly, it sounded empty and hollow. I responded emotionally--and what I said wasn't even necessarily true. "Made in the USA" may have implied a certain standard of quality in the past, but it doesn't anymore--just as "Made in Japan" was synonymous with shoddy workmanship in the 60's, but that's a far cry from what it means now.

So what does it mean when I say my branding irons are made in the USA? From the FTC's standpoint, it just means that "all or virtually all" of the materials and components in my branding irons are manufactured Stateside. From a purely objective, legal perspective, it doesn't imply that I treat my employees fairly, or that I give back to my community, or that I practice sustainable manufacturing, or that my products are any good.

So I've got to be explicit about those things. Over the coming weeks, I'm going to tell you what "Made in the USA" means at Gearheart Industry--how it's more than just a tagline, because what we do is much larger than just making branding irons. I hope you'll stay tuned!