7 Great Things about Buying Counterfeits

7 Great Things about Buying Counterfeits

Learn about the hidden “benefits” you get every time you buy something that is counterfeit. Read more of this post

Designer Jean Makers Sued for False ‘Made in USA’ Labels

Designer Jean Makers Sued for False ‘Made in USA’ Labels

Many Americans buy products they believe to be made in the United States because they believe they are of higher quality and because they want to support the U.S. economy.

Read more of this post

Is Made In America More Than Just Hype?

IS 'MADE IN AMERICA' MORE THAN JUST HYPE. Made in USA Jeans, Made in USA shoes

A L.L. Bean shipping center in Freeport, Maine. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As the media tells it, American-made goods are having a “moment.” But the numbers tell a different story. Read more of this post

You Probably Benefitted From Slave Labor Today

You probably benefitted from slave labor today

Thai and Burmese fishing boat workers sit behind bars inside a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia, In this 2014 photo. The imprisoned men say they live on a few bites of rice and curry a day in a space barely big enough to lie down. Photo by Dita Alangkara/AP

Every day, millions of Americans use products or eat foods that are produced by slave labor. Rare metals from Africa are embedded in our cell phones. Harvested fish or fruit or fabric are thawing in our fridge or hanging in our closets. Read more of this post

Foot Locker’s New Balance Custom Made in the USA Experience

newbalance574customfootlocker2

Made in the USA is something that is hard to come by in the world of sneakers in this day and age. It hasn’t always been the case but for New Balance, it’s something they pride themselves on. The Norridgewock, Maine factory is where New Balance churns out the classic 574, which can be created in your owned custom designed colorway on the New Balance website. For some, designing their own sneaker is the pinnacle of sneakers. But Foot Locker decided to take one of the best things about sneakers and make it even better.

This summer Foot Locker teamed up with New Balance to create an in-store experience for those looking to create their own identity when it comes to their sneaker choice. If you visit their store in Times Square, you can see all the materials and colors, all the way down to the stitching, that go into making a pair of custom designed New Balance 574s. The design station lets you customize 14 different parts of the shoe from the toebox up front to the optional custom stitched heel. It’s so many options that you won’t ever find time to create all 48 quadrillion of them (yes, it’s actually that many).

The best part about the entire experience, aside from the quality of New Balance’s Made in the USA sneakers, is that it takes relatively no time at all. After about 12 business days, the New Balance 574 you design in store will show up at your door. Of course, you can track its progress along the way if you’re too impatient. But if you think about it, the time that it takes is perfect. You could plan a nice vacation to NYC, hit up the Foot Locker in Times Square on your first day, deisgn your kicks, and by the time you head back home, they’ll likely be on their way to you. What could be more appropriate than a designed in New York City, Made in the USA, New Balance 574 to commemorate experiencing NYC?

To find out more about Made in USA Certification please visit our website: www.USA-C.com

Made in USA Certified

John Ratzenberger’s American Made TV Show Kicks off Campaign in FundAnything

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 21, 2013

John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger (best known for playing the mailman Cliff Clavin on Cheers) is launching a crowd source campaign today with FundAnything for his brand new television series, ‘John Ratzenberger’s American Made.’

A video release on the show and campaign is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zb1qd1oThk

“From the things we need, to the things we want, to the things we dream about— we’re going to show you the best of our country’s home grown products,” says Ratzenberger. “But more importantly, we’ll highlight the remarkable men and women who use their skills and ingenuity to create goods they can proudly call made in the USA.”

The show will also empower viewers with a direct and easy path on where to buy the products profiled. The series will be produced with RealityTVStar.com, which Ratzenberger co-founded.

“We chose to crowd fund the initial few episodes for strategic reasons,” said RealityTVStar.com CEO, Jeffrey Solomon. “Crowd funding is an excellent way to mobilize fans and promote our American made corporate partners before the show launches. It’s also an excellent way to allow the public to be a part of the show before its release on TV.”

Crowd funding has grown into an extremely successful method to fund creative projects without the bureaucracy of corporate mandates. Ratzenberger’s campaign will give donors a chance to be on the show; join John at a VIP events; receive products profiled, and many more opportunities only available to donors. He has already signed on 30+ American-made companies and industry groups.

Those interested in participating in John’s FundAnything campaign can visit http://www.Fundanything.com/americanmade for more details. Individuals can also see these companies/industry groups on the TV series Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/americanmadewithjohn.

Ratzenberger’s career includes 40 feature films and dozens of television shows including the highly successful ‘John Ratzenberger’s Made in America,’ which ran 5 seasons on the Travel Channel from 2004 to 2008. John is currently a regular on FX’s ‘Legit,’ and has recently appeared on Fox’s ‘Bones,’ CBS’s ‘CSI,’ Lifetime’s ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ and TNT’s ‘Franklin & Bash.’ He is also in production for the newest Pixar film ‘Inside Out.’

About Reality TV Star
RealityTVStar.com is a reality TV production company that uses technology to improve the process of developing, casting and producing reality TV shows. RealityTVStar.com offers fans the ability to upload “slice of life,” casting, and “home” video clips, for the chance to be discovered by the RealityTVStar.com team of producers.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11247624.htm

To learn more about Made in USA Certification please visit our website at: www.USA-C.com

Made in USA Certified

NEW BALANCE MADE IN THE USA / AMERICAN RENEGADE COLLECTION

New Balance has released the latest Made in the USA theme pack today with the American Renegade Collection. Taking cues from the motorcycles, hot rod cars, leather jackets and the tousled style that defined the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, the look book was shot by Nicholas Maggio and captures imagery that showcases Americana looks and the new collection. Our personal favorite is the grey 996 release.

 

 

 

 

A Wave of Sewing Jobs as Orders Pile Up at U.S. Factories

The New York Times

Re-Posted from the NYTimes


September 29, 2013
By 

30workforce-span-custom1

MINNEAPOLIS — It was past quitting time at a new textile factory here, but that was not the only reason the work floor looked so desolate. Under the high ceilings, the fluorescent lights still bright, there were just 15 or so industrial sewing machines in a sprawling space meant for triple that amount.

The issue wasn’t poor demand for the curtains, pillows and other textiles being produced at the factory. Quite the opposite. The owner, the Airtex Design Group, had shifted an increasing amount of its production here from China because customers had been asking for more American-made goods.

The issue was finding workers.

“The sad truth is, we put ads in the paper and not many people show up,” said Mike Miller, Airtex’s chief executive.

The American textile and apparel industries, like manufacturing as a whole, are experiencing a nascent turnaround as apparel and textile companies demand higher quality, more reliable scheduling and fewer safety problems than they encounter overseas. Accidents like the factory collapse in Bangladesh earlier this year, which killed more than 1,000 workers, have reinforced the push for domestic production.

But because the industries were decimated over the last two decades — 77 percent of the American work force has been lost since 1990 as companies moved jobs abroad — manufacturers are now scrambling to find workers to fill the specialized jobs that have not been taken over by machines.

Wages for cut-and-sew jobs, the core of the apparel industry’s remaining work force, have been rising fast — increasing 13.2 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis from 2007 to 2012, while overall private sector pay rose just 1.4 percent. Companies here in Minnesota are so hungry for workers that they posted five job openings for every student in a new training program in industrial sewing, a full month before the training was even completed.

“It withered away and nobody noticed,” Jen Guarino, a former chief executive of the leather-goods maker J. W. Hulme, said of the skilled sewing work force. “Businesses stopped investing in training; they stopped investing in equipment.”

Like manufacturers in many parts of the country, those in Minnesota are wrestling with how to attract a new generation of factory workers while also protecting their bottom lines in an industry where pennies per garment can make or break a business. The backbone of the new wave of manufacturing in the United States has been automation, but some tasks still require human hands.

Nationally, manufacturers have created recruitment centers that use touch screens and other interactive technology to promote the benefits of textile and apparel work.

Here, they are recruiting at high schools, papering churches and community centers with job postings, and running ads in Hmong, Somali and Spanish-language newspapers. And in a moment of near desperation last year — after several companies worried about turning down orders because they did not have the manpower to handle them — Minnesota manufacturers hatched their grandest rescue effort of all: a program to create a skilled work force from scratch.

Run by a coalition of manufacturers, a nonprofit organization and a technical college, the program runs for six months, two or three nights a week, and teaches novices how to be industrial sewers, from handling a sewing machine to working with vinyl and canvas.

Eighteen students, ranging from a 22-year-old taking a break from college to a 60-year-old former janitor who had been out of work for three months, enrolled in the inaugural session that ended in June. The $3,695 tuition was covered by charities and the city of Minneapolis, though students will largely be expected to pay for future courses themselves.

After the course, the companies, which pay to belong to the coalition, sponsored students for a three-week rotation on their factory floors and a two-week internship at minimum wage. Then the free-for-all began as the members competed to hire those graduates who decide to pursue a career in industrial sewing.

“We need to think practically about getting skilled labor,” said Ms. Guarino, a founder of the training effort, known as the Makers Coalition. “The growth is there but we’re going to be in trouble if we don’t have a pool to draw from.”

Last year, there were about 142,000 people employed as sewing machine operators in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, which had almost 1.75 million workers last year — and where the unemployment rate as of July was 4.9 percent — only 860 were employed in 2012 as machine sewers..

Airtex had room for 50 of them. “We are looking for new sewers every day,” said Mr. Miller, the Airtex executive.

Wooing Immigrant Workers

Airtex’s roots in Minneapolis date to 1918, when Mr. Miller’s grandfather started the Sam Miller Bag Company, specializing in potato and feed bags. In the 1980s, Susan Shields founded a baggage company, and the two combined in 2000 as the Airtex Design Group, producing home textiles for companies like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.

Soon after the merger, the company began producing in China, first in the Dongguan area, then Wuxi and Shanghai. Today, it still employs about 100 Chinese workers through a partner factory in Dongguan, but production there is no longer the bargain it once was, said Ms. Shields, Airtex’s president.

Initially Airtex paid $3 an hour on average for its Chinese workers; now, it pays about $11.80 an hour, including benefits and housing.

Its American factory-floor workers make about $9 to $17 an hour, though Airtex estimates benefits add another 30 percent to those figures.

As costs were rising in China, Airtex was also getting a new message from some of its clients: They wanted more American-made products.

Health care clients wanted medical slings and other sensitive medical products made domestically to ensure quality. Retailers did not want to pay overseas freight costs to import bulky items like pillows, and they wanted more flexibility in turning around designs quickly. As Airtex considered production in Vietnam and elsewhere, it became concerned about safety and quality issues — and increasingly interested in the American alternative.

“The opportunity for domestic business right now is unbelievable,” Ms. Shields said. “Either we start to bring it back here, more of it, or we start going to places that are marginally unsafe.”

But the lack of workers here in Minnesota made shifting business back home frustrating.

It had gotten to the point where new business sometimes felt like a headache, not an opportunity. As Mr. Miller was headed to Chicago for a sales pitch in February, for instance, he was more worried than excited about landing a new contract.

“What concerns me is, if I get it,” he said, “where are we going to find the people?”

In the various waves of American textile production, dating to the 1800s, the problem of an available and willing work force solved itself.

Little capital was required — the boss just needed sewing equipment and people willing to work. That made it an attractive business for newly arrived immigrants with a few dollars to their name and, often, some background in garment work. Typically, the mostly male factory owners would recruit female workers from their old countries for the grunt work.

From the 1840s until the Civil War, it was new arrivals from Ireland and Germany. From the 1880s through the 1920s, it was Russian Jews and Italians, who would buy newly mass-produced Singer sewing machines and often set up shops in their tenement apartments with wives, daughters and tenants making up the initial work force, said Daniel Katz, provost of the National Labor College and author of a book about the garment industry.

Puerto Ricans, who were given citizenship on the eve of American entry into World War I, and black migrants from the South rounded out the work force until the 1960s, when Chinese and Dominican laborers took over, Mr. Katz said.

In San Francisco and New York, a small number of Chinese women came to the United States despite the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 barring Chinese laborers, making up a base of garment workers. After 1965, when immigration restrictions eased and Chinese were allowed to join family members, greater numbers of women came and that pool of workers grew.

“It was pretty well known that basically the day after you landed, you’d be taken to a factory by a relative to learn how to use an industrial sewing machine,” said Katie Quan, associate chair of the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley. In Los Angeles, Latinos made up much of the work force. And in the Carolinas, Hmong immigrants filled textile manufacturing jobs well into the 1990s, halting — or at least delaying — the migration of jobs overseas, said Rachel Willis, an American studies professor at the University of North Carolina.

Now, here in Minnesota, immigrants are once again being seen as the new hope.

Wanted: English and Math

Last fall, Lifetrack, a nonprofit group in St. Paul that helps immigrants, people on welfare and those with disabilities, began screening clients for possible admission to the sewing training program. Inside a gray-green room in a building on the edge of a four-lane road, people gathered around three tables: Burmese women at one of them, Ethiopian men at another, and at the back of the room an African-American woman, then 61, and a white man, 60, both born in America.

The first task was for students to test their English and math proficiency. Language skills are essential so workers can communicate with their bosses, but math skills are just as important in textile work because sewing requires precise measurements. As the students worked on the proficiency tests, Tatjana Hutnyak, Lifetrack’s director of business development, went over the basics.

Starting wages: $12 and $16 an hour. Transportation: The college, Dunwoody College of Technology, is on a bus line, but if students interview with a company not on a bus line, Lifetrack will help them get there. After passing career-readiness tests, students could qualify for the course, which would give them a certificate in industrial sewing — and, ideally, a job.

“They want to have a career rather than packaging, assembling, cleaning jobs,” said a Lifetrack manager, Dagim Gemeda, explaining why clients were interested in the sewing certification.

The Burmese women had come to Minnesota after spending time in refugee camps in Thailand. Paw Done had done piece work, sewing at home while she watched her children. The others had little sewing experience.

The Ethiopian men, who ranged in age from 21 to 42, had been in this country several years. A couple were students, one was a former custodian who had moved from another state to be close to his college-bound son, and a fourth, Abdulhakim Tahiro, had been laid off from his job at an airport car rental kiosk.

“It’s good, for my level it’s good,” Mr. Tahiro said of the starting wages.

Mr. Tahiro and Ms. Done enrolled in the course that started last January, when about half of the class were immigrants. Another student in the course, Patricia Ramon, 56, was an entrepreneur in Mexico with sewing experience. Ms. Ramon already had a job as a sewer at J. W. Hulme, but quit to take the course with the goal of obtaining certification. She wanted proof, she said, that she had technical skills.

“I am not like an old-time seamstress,” Ms. Ramon said. She expects to sew as a career, and said that making $16 an hour with health insurance would be enough to live on.

The students who were not immigrants often had difficult work histories or other problems. One of them was Lawrence Corbesia, the man sitting at the back table during the screening session. He was a former machine operator and custodial worker who had been looking for work for three months.

Another was Edward Johnson, 44, who was homeless when the course started. After food service and call-center jobs, he went to prison for felony assault, and had a tough time finding a job when he got out in 2009. He moved to Wisconsin to pick fruit, moved back to Minneapolis because he hated picking fruit, and was living on the streets and selling watercolor paintings when a homeless-center counselor hooked him up with the sewing program.

Until now, the only sewing experience Mr. Johnson had was sewing on buttons — a punishment meted out by his mother when he misbehaved. To save money, Mr. Johnson walked the 45 minutes to and from the college.

The program was overwhelming at first, he said, “so frustrating that sometimes I’d go home crying.” But he spent days at the library, watching YouTube videos on sewing techniques and studying terms used by the industry. By the end, it had gotten easier, he said, making pajamas, tote bags and aprons.

So many people are on government assistance, he said. “I’d rather learn a trade and go to work — and work,” he said.

To find out more about Made in USA Certification please visit our website:  www.USA-C.com (Together, We Create Jobs in the U.S.A.)

Made in USA Certified

Sneaker makers want Pentagon to buy American

By: Austin Wright – reposted from Politico
September 30, 2013 05:06 AM EDT

110928_pentagon_aerial_ap_605

Domestic shoemakers are going toe to toe with the Pentagon over its footwear policies.

New Balance is leading a charge to force the military to buy U.S.-made running shoes for recruits, meeting with members of Congress and the Obama administration to press its case.

The company sees a $50 million opportunity in a population for which running is mandatory — and a cause that might be difficult for any flag-waving politician to oppose.

The military sees a regulatory headache.

The issue is significant for the Pentagon, which today allows the services to decide for themselves how best to buy running shoes. But a provision making its way through Congress could lead to a militarywide shoe policy — and another example of the transfer of power from the services to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which has expanded in recent years despite pledges to downsize by leaders past and present.

“We tend to grow by congressional fiat,” said one Pentagon official, requesting not to be identified to offer a candid take.

The standoff with shoemakers is also significant for the Defense Department because of the industry’s aggressive public relations push. Defense officials are accustomed to dealing with often deferential contractors, which depend on the Pentagon for a substantial portion of their sales and rarely disagree with the brass in public.

With New Balance, however, the shoe is on the other foot.

“We have not been quiet about our desire to see the department follow its own rules,” said company spokesman Matt LeBretton, referring to a 1941 statute called the Berry Amendment that requires the Pentagon to buy food, clothing and other items from producers inside the United States.

“Soldiers don’t have a choice for most of the gear that they’re given, so I don’t know why it would be different for athletic footwear,” LeBretton said. “The administration talks a lot about supporting domestic manufacturing — here’s an opportunity to do it.”

Each of the services has a different policy for equipping recruits with running shoes as they enter boot camp. The Army, for example, provides soldiers a one-time cash allowance to buy shoes from military exchanges, which stock a number of brands.

Men are given $75 for shoes and white socks, and women are given $347 for shoes, socks, black dress pumps, stockings, underwear and a black purse. The brass says it’s easier to handle this kind of purchase this way.

“For the Army to maintain those items in inventory, it would have to be quite a large inventory,” said Army spokesman Wayne Hall.

The Air Force, meanwhile, gives recruits $75 to purchase athletic shoes, also at military exchanges, following foot exams to determine the right brand and fit. The service spends about $2.3 million on the program each year, according to Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley.

Domestic shoemakers — and their allies on Capitol Hill — consider these policies a violation of the Berry Amendment because recruits are allowed to pick brands such as Nike, which produces most of its shoes outside the U.S.

Their message: Follow the lead of the Navy, which provides recruits only one brand option: New Balance.

The company was selected in part because its shoes “are assembled in the U.S.,” said Kristine Sturkie, a spokeswoman for the Navy Exchange Service Command. The service spent about $3 million last fiscal year to equip about 41,490 recruits with New Balance running shoes, she said.

A provision in the House version of this year’s defense authorization bill would force all the services to adopt a policy similar to the Navy’s — requiring military recruits to be equipped with U.S.-made shoes as they enter boot camp. The bill is expected to be taken up by the Senate before the end of the year.

The measure, championed by Democratic Reps. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts and Michael Michaud of Maine, would take effect only once the Pentagon certifies there are two suppliers capable of producing shoes compliant with the requirements of the Berry Amendment.

“Innovative companies, such as New Balance right here in Massachusetts, are able to provide our service members with quality products and keep business here on American soil,” Tsongas said in a statement. “It is time for the Department of Defense to treat athletic footwear like every other uniform item, including boots, and buy them from American manufacturers.”

LeBretton said New Balance doesn’t produce Berry-compliant shoes today; it uses some foreign-made materials. But he said New Balance and at least one other company could produce shoes made from start to finish in the United States — if there was a military-scale demand for them.

“The ‘Field of Dreams’ analogy applies,” he said. “If you build it, they will come.”

And Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said his group has been lobbying hard to get the Tsongas provision included in the final version of this year’s defense authorization bill.

“We’ve been talking to folks in both the House and the Senate to urge them to include this in the final package,” Lamar said. “It’s important, and obviously for the firms involved it’s a huge economic impact.”

To learn more about Made in USA Certification: www.USA-C.com

Made in USA Certified

10 Must Have Made in America Styles for Fall 2013

Made in USA Certified Seal

The temperature is starting to cool, football season is underway, and the leaves are definitely changing. There is no question that Fall is steadily approaching and just as the leaves and temperature change, so should our clothes, reports the All American Clothing Co.

Arcanum, OH (PRWEB) September 18, 2013

The All American Clothing Co., one of the fewest and finest USA made clothing companies, today issued a report on the must have USA made styles for fall. Yes, there are clothing options out there that are made in America. Here are the 10 styles.

Click here for an updated list of USA made clothing items for sale.

1. AA Men`s Regular Jean Medium Stonewash:

This American made jean comes with a comfortable All American, Classic Relaxed Fit – not too tight, not too loose. The jean is Made in the USA all the way from the materials to the labor as it can be traced back to the American farmers who grew the cotton with a process called Traceability. The process supports over 12,000 American workers.

2. AA Ladies Bethany Low Rise Jeans:

A comfortable fit and confident look for the girl with curving hips and thighs. This USA made jeans enhances natural curves as they become beautiful in this contoured to fit jeans.

3. Quarter-Zip Fleece:

The quarter-zip fleece is stylish, ultra-soft and versatile; it can be worn to the football game or a casual day in the office.

4. Ladies’ Fine Jersey Long Sleeve Tee:

This soft fine jersey long sleeve tee is a great basic tee to have. It has a smooth, lightweight surface that’s crazy for comfort.

5. AA Men`s Classic Jean:

The All American Classic Jeans fits just like the old favorites do. This is a regular (not relaxed) fit jeans with a straight leg, mid-rise and is made of a premium 13.5 oz. denim. This jeans is made in the USA and features ‘Traceability Technology’ to show exactly where the jeans came from.

6. Ladies’ Jersey Leggings:

Wear these soft, stretchy leggings in a look that is blazing and survive the cold without even trying.

7. Men’s Hooded Pullover Sweatshirt:

There is nothing too crazy about this sweatshirt. It is soft, roomy, and American made.

8. Eco Micromodel Fine Jersey Ladies Long Sleeve Tee:

This linky soft and lightweight long sleeve tee is another essential for the wardrobe. It is elegant and effortlessly chic.

9. At Work Crew Socks:

This American made sock is fully cushioned with a hard-working, stay-up leg.

10. Men’s Long Sleeve Tee Shirt:

This high quality, durable shirt will look great in the fall. The cut on the shirt is tighter across the chest and the armpits.

Want more? Be sure to check out the All American Clothing Co. for many USA made clothing styles.

To find out more about Made in USA Certification please visit our website at: www.USA-C.com

Made in USA Certified

%d bloggers like this: