Originally Posted by Costa
Thank you. As a 3 year lurker before signing up last year, I rarely post, as I feel I don't have much to contribute compared to you guys, who in my opinion have a "Doctorates in Dress". This forum is a daily read for me, so I take away a lot, so I'm very thankful to those who post. NYR, I have been following your post's not only sartorially, but post's about your class size and your family tree back to Italy. Great, great stuff.
I was having a conversation about "made in the USA" goods a few months ago with a few of my managers, and its quite a conundrum. Within a 30 mile radius of my plant, you can purchase shoes (Alden) and shirts (New England Shirt Company) along with with a Joseph Abboud stitch house that makes suits in New Bedford, MA, a few exits down from Aldens facility. If one was to be so inclined, one could purchase most clothing articles made by possible neighbors. You could even purchase bedding (sheets, etc) from Matouk, made in our industrial park. All made and manufactured in the USA.
The problem? Price. Aldens, non-shells, run in the $300 dollar range, NE shirts run in the $125 range, and while Abboud is frowned upon here, for most, its considered high end. Even AE's (made in WI) are up there for most. To support "made in the USA", its very, very expensive to most. While most here "invest" in our clothing, its the exception, not the rule. Most of my (close to or above) six figure engineers still buy cheap china made shoes because they can get them for $100, never mind a line worker making $15-$20 per hour.
In order to maintain a manufacturing facility in the US, never mind here in New England outside of Boston, its very expensive. How do you support local made goods when, in order to pay the salary's, healthcare, benefits, OH, etc., the price of the goods make it unattainable for most at best, or a bad financial decision at worst, to purchase these goods? Its a really hard question to answer. Came up in many MBA classes, and when I studied operations at MIT. Its a question of economics. I'd love to know the average income of the person who purchases Alden shoes, we'd all be blown away I'm sure. I wish I had the answer.
I sit on a Business Advisory Board, and its a constant topic of conversation. On that board is the CEO of Matouk, who is expanding his operations, but its to a higher end clientele. He is currently melding operations in the USA along with overseas operations, and using the "a rising tide lifts all boats" strategy; an increase in business will increase production both overseas and domestically. He is proving it works, and workers here realize it, and appreciate his efforts. It allows him to contain cost, and try to increase market share (sell to a not-so high end customer).
But I do see a shift, and its shifting back to goods being made here.
Wow, am I rambling. Sorry.
This probably belongs in the "Made in USA" thread in MC, but its interesting to think about, and will effect us and our children.
I'm sorry if I'm derailing this thread, just something I'm very passionate about. I will stop now...lol.