Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It was bound to happen eventually...

I'm stuck. My elastic supplier is out of pink and my being able to order more depends on a bigger customer of theirs ordering more. It works like this: I can order a smaller wholesale amount of elastic if I buy what they have leftover. If I want a particular color I have to order 10,000 yards, which works out to a minimum of $3,000. Per. Color. 

Using only USA manufacturers to supply us with all of our materials is not only expensive, but it's very hard to do. The little guys (us small businesses) are usually asked to make a huge investment upfront for a business that may or may not make it off the ground. There's only so much we can invest. 
The other day I was a vendor at a baby product show and was asked by a customer if I thought that "Made in the USA" was a big deal to moms who would be buying Dapper Snappers. Honestly, I don't know. I know I'm a mom and it's important to me. Sure part of it is a pride thing. As stated on the label "100% Proudly Made in the USA.". But I'm also supporting the economy (which as of late has been in the crapper) by only using USA manufacturers. And since our lead restrictions (not to worry, there's no lead in what I do anyway) are so much tighter than, let's say China, we don't have to worry about lead in the paint on the snaps. 
So what do you think? Is "Made in the USA" important to you? Enough to forgo a popular color of elastic? 

4 comments:

LifeNStuffUSA

Here is my take, for what it is worth.....I am fully able to recognize just how difficult it is for new/small US businesses to afford US manufacturing, consequently I also realize how difficult it is to strictly buy Made in the USA products. If I am holding two competing items side by side or KNOW there is a Made-In-The-USA version, then I will most definitely choose the item Made in the USA, even if it costs a little more. I would also be more likely to buy a US Corporation's product even if it is manufactured overseas to support that particular company. It isn't an easy route that's for certain. As I progress on my journey, while manufacturing strictly in the US is my priority, I have to just put it out there--if I am unable to reach any level of success doing so, I am not adverse to outsourcing. Should I be forced to outsource in the beginning, switching to USA all the way baby is my ultimate goal, and that may just come later in the game. If it just isn't feasible in any way, shape, or form, then I'll be looking to helping a cause, such as working with a company that hires women in another country so they may avoid prostitution and support their children. Good luck as you move forward! I wish there was an easy answer!

TheOriginalSaltyChix

As a mom who has 3 children under 6 yrs old, the only time It matters to me if it is Made in the USA is when the product is consumed by my children or is a makeup product-like the little girl lip glosses. I use your product and would have purchased it no matter where it was made due to the problem it solves and the unique very easy to use snaps. It will still be 'manufactured in the USA' so that is good enough for me.

Jennifer

Hey Chelle, it's Jen from Lil' Angel Gifts (http://www.lilangelgifts.com).
As a small business owner and manufacturer myself, I totally know where you are coming from with this. I live in Canada. I have my products made in Canada, but would consider having them made in the US. The reason I don't, was increased costs due to customs, and my price would fluctuate due to the exchange rate. And, I deal with an AWESOME manufacturer here, and I really value them and want to stick with them.
Although I would *like* to support all Canadian businesses, my supplies mostly seem to come from the US. It's just cheaper for me. My shipping supplies, my product packaging, all from the US. I have looked at expanding or new products, and I would look at China, and I have done some research for there. My main concerns are how to find a good, reliable company from China (maybe you can give me some tips on that!)

You have a really neat product, and I don't think that you necessarily have to have all your products/manufacturing done in the US. That is reality for us as small business owners trying to get going- we need to find the most cost effective way to do things. You are helping your economy by giving yourself a job, and by possibly employing others. You are helping your country every time you give a donation to a charity, etc.

I've been in business several years and never had anyone ask me before purchasing online where my journals were manufactured, or where I got my packaging, etc. They might see the “printed in Canada” on the back when they get it, but no one has ever commented on it. I think the only time people really want to know, is for cosmetics or consumable products, or maybe for children's toys.

Most of my customers are from the US or UK. I don't think they care or want to know if it is "made in Canada". If you are thinking about it from a business "image" standpoint, you could try adopting some greener practices, then promote that on your site, etc. I'm working on a plan for that, so we can chat if you'd like.

My feeling on the made in the USA thing, is that your customers who care and see it, might get a quick little warm fuzzy feeling inside when they purchase, knowing they supported their economy, but that it is short-lived. I bet no one will NOT purchase because they don't see it on the label. My customers get a little insert with their purchase that says about how my company came to be, and what I stand for and support, and that gives them the same feeling.

Let me know how the China research goes!

Happy Campers

I think as long as you can Make It In America, it's a great thing. But I don't think that parent's wouldn't purchase your product if you pulled resources from elsewhere. As another commenter said "Manufactured Proudly In America" is important too! :)