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Does country of origin matter?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi, all. I'm new to this forum, but I have been a browser of the comments/discussions for a while. Based on some of the research I did using the site, I recently purchased some a. testoni brand dress shoes because the were "Made in Italy". I noticed that many of the well-known brands of dress shoes are no longer made in the U.S.A. or Europe. Most are made in Asia, Dominican Rep., or other third-world country. Are there big differences in material quality or craftsmanship based on the country of origin or is that just a common misconception?

 

It just so happens that a similar question has been asked in my part-time MBA - Global Environment of Business class at Texas Christian University. As part of a class project, my team and I are performing research for a U.S.A. based clothing manufacturer. They are considering offshoring their manufacturing to Asian factories. I am interested in using this forum post to get respondents for a survey administered through Qualtrics.com that will gauge your interest in foreign-made clothing. You can access the survey here:

 

https://tcu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_e2tGMo9oREpYrRP

 
Please note that, other than this class project, my team and I have no direct affiliation with the company that manufactures the clothing. While we will be sharing the survey responses with this company as part of the project, we do not make mention of the company name or product anywhere in the survey. Thus, we feel that we aren't "advertising" the clothing in this forum. We simply need data to support our analysis.
 
All personal information collected during the survey will be kept anonymous. You won't provide your name during the survey, and any personal information provided by you will remain strictly confidential. The survey is completely voluntary, and you'll be free to exit at any time. If there are any questions that you feel uncomfortable answering, you will be able to skip the questions and move on.

 

Of course, I'll stick around for the discussion in the thread as well. I'm interested in learning more about the impact of "country of origin" on the decision-making process from a customer's perspective. I'm new to the world of "high-end" clothing, so I have a lot of learning to do.

 

Thanks!

Michael Olson

post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 

Are you all silent on this matter? I'm even more interested in hearing from you in the thread as I am in the survey. I've read that more and more clothing/apparel companies are offshoring their manufacturing. Have you noticed a quality/craftsmanship issue in recent years with certain brands? Thanks!

post #3 of 22

A piece of advice: wait more than 19 minutes before prompting for responses. On an online forum or for a survey.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response. I'll sit back for a bit. I just saw a lot of views and no responses... I wanted to start the conversation. Again, I'm more interested in learning through the forum than generating responses to the survey (that's secondary). Thanks again!

post #5 of 22
You missed a lot of countries I usually purchase from: Great Britain and Ireland in addition to Italy, France, and the US.
post #6 of 22
Although made in the U.S. does not guarantee a far superior product from made in China, it usually is. Personally, I try to purchase made in USA whenever possible and avoid made in China (and other similar countries) except when necessary. Newsweek (I think) recently did a cover story on the dying processes in south East Asia and how bad it is.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your feedback. I've added them to the survey. I have only received 3 responses thus far, so I don't think the results will be impacted significantly. I also put a couple "Other" check boxes with text input for people to write-in their answers. As you probably noted, there are a number of common countries of origin for clothing sold in the U.S.A. listed in the survey. Most of these are on the same level as China, but I wanted to see if there was a bias for/against Chinese made goods vs. goods made in the other countries.

 

Thanks again!

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I think I found the article:

 

http://www.newsweek.com/2015/08/21/environmental-crisis-your-closet-362409.html.

 

Scary stuff, and it's sad to see that other countries are being exploited. Although they may have employment, the environmental issues and working conditions are a major concern. I can see that this issue is more than just quality of the product. If more people knew, would they take action and change their buying habits? Are there any companies/brands that are known to use these factories other than those listed in the article?

post #9 of 22
seeing "union made in USA" tag brings a smile to my face
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sarcasm? Sorry, I didn't know exactly what you meant from this comment. Have the unions in the U.S.A. led to any quality issues for clothing manufactured here? Does "Made in the U.S.A." still carry the same weight? Thanks!

post #11 of 22
Is this a homework question?
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

First and foremost, I want it to be a discussion. Whether it's deserved or not, customers in the U.S.A. can get turned off from a brand if they choose to offshore their manufacturing to China or similar country. Some of that sentiment has been revealed through the responses in this thread and the survey, thus far. Is this fair/deserved? Have people had negative experiences in the past and now are not willing to try again?

 

I see that you're from China. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. You may have first-hand knowledge of how the industry there is compared to many years ago. The largest complaint from customers in the U.S.A. regarding clothing manufactured in China is that the quality of materials and/or craftsmanship is lower than other developed nations. I clearly understand that quality is important and that a luxury clothing company would have much more control over quality when the manufacturing processes are kept in-house, but do you, as a Chinese citizen, think Chinese manufacturers (other than specialized tailors in HK) have improved their craftsmanship over the years? Do they have access to the same quality of materials as other parts of the world? Should folks be willing to buy again?

 

Thanks all! I'm really enjoying the responses. Let's have a serious discussion.

post #13 of 22

 

Is your sampling method for this survey seriously "ask people on SF and hope that this is representative of 'customers in the USA'"? 

 

Also, reading comprehension: the guy you're replying to is not 'a Chinese citizen' according to his sig.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MBAStudent View Post
 

First and foremost, I want it to be a discussion. Whether it's deserved or not, customers in the U.S.A. can get turned off from a brand if they choose to offshore their manufacturing to China or similar country. Some of that sentiment has been revealed through the responses in this thread and the survey, thus far. Is this fair/deserved? Have people had negative experiences in the past and now are not willing to try again?

 

I see that you're from China. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. You may have first-hand knowledge of how the industry there is compared to many years ago. The largest complaint from customers in the U.S.A. regarding clothing manufactured in China is that the quality of materials and/or craftsmanship is lower than other developed nations. I clearly understand that quality is important and that a luxury clothing company would have much more control over quality when the manufacturing processes are kept in-house, but do you, as a Chinese citizen, think Chinese manufacturers (other than specialized tailors in HK) have improved their craftsmanship over the years? Do they have access to the same quality of materials as other parts of the world? Should folks be willing to buy again?

 

Thanks all! I'm really enjoying the responses. Let's have a serious discussion.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

No I don't expect SF's members to be representative of "customers in the U.S.A.", but I thought that SF's members are more prone to purchase "luxury" clothing, so it would be a more valuable sample than simply polling friends, family, colleagues, etc. I'm also interested from a personal level. I'm a young professional (engineer in a Fortune 500 company), and I'm interested in learning from this forum. As discussed in the original post, I've already made one big purchase based on the "country of origin". Am I putting too high of emphasis on the country of origin?

 

I'm not trying to be a nuisance. If you don't feel like responding to the survey because it's not worth your time, I fully understand and appreciate that. But this is a significant topic of discussion that drives companies'/customers' decisions... Can't we have an open discussion about it in this forum?

 

Sorry, I should have noticed the other countries listed below MikeDT's avatar and read his signature. I saw a survey response come in from China, so I thought that meant that he (assuming he was the respondent) was there currently and may have first-hand knowledge of the industry there... I was misguided to assume that he was a Chinese citizen. My apologies MikeDT.

 

Thanks all!

post #15 of 22
Specifications issued by and quality control of the company is way more important than the country of manufacturing. Companies offshoring also need to spend significant amount of time for due diligence on their manufacturers.

Unfortunately that's not usually the case and they usually pays a sourcing firm and emphasize on cost cutting. Thus the result of articles made in foreign countries being of lower quality standard.

The truth is the companies placing orders dictates the quality standard, not the outsourced manufacturer.
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