In an age where a lot of our products are designed, manufactured, shipped, and imported from places all over the world, it’s comforting to know that the “Made in America” movement is starting to gain traction once again. As a small business owner myself, I’ve always been drawn to the concept of “Made in America,” where local shop owners support other local shop owners and communities support communities.
As a business owner in an industry that’s full of imports of mass-produced furniture, my business, Upbeat Designs, sets ourselves apart by fabricating our furniture in-house using quality materials that are grown and fabricated in the United States. I’d like to say that I follow in the footsteps of other companies that have been pushing the “Made in America” symbol.
Founder and CEO Carolyn Rafaelian’s Armenian ancestors came to the United States in 1913. Making the state of Rhode Island their home, they started a jewelry manufacturing business. Like her ancestors before her, Carolyn learned the craft and founded Alex and Ani in 2004. Today Alex and Ani maintain all operations in Rhode Island because it’s meaningful to their family and community. With more than 1,500 employees, Carolyn believes in investing in the resources and talents of their U.S. roots.
Likely the most well-known art supplies company in the United States and around the world, Crayola has been manufacturing safe, high quality, and affordable wax crayons since 1903. Back then a standard box of eight crayons retailed for five cents! Today Crayola manufacturers more than just wax crayons — think markers, colored pencils, paint, and even activity centers.
With all these products, you would think that Crayola would have a significant manufacturing facility in a country like China. Surprisingly, Crayola calls Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, its home. Just a short drive away from New York City, the company’s world headquarters and major manufacturing facilities are in Downtown Easton.
Remember those days as a kid when you would endlessly play with Lincoln Logs for hours? Today, that iconic building set is brought to you by K’NEX, an educational toy company that acquired the rights to the building set in 2014. The mission of K’NEX is to show kids that the only limit to building something amazing was the size of their imagination. Over time, K’NEX started to incorporate more wheels, pulleys, and gears to their building sets to encourage kids to get more active in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) fields.
K’NEX boasts that all their parts are designed and manufactured at an eco-friendly facility in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Since the birth of the company, K’NEX has created over 39 billion pieces for various roller coaster sets, car sets, and more.
The athletic shoe company known for their signature white sneakers feature a “Made in the USA” line. With nearly 50 options in a variety of colors for both men and women, New Balance is the only major company to manufacture more than 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the United States. Not only that, but New Balance has produced their sneakers in the U.S. for more than 75 years.
Did you know that Post-it notes were developed by accident?
Spencer Silver, a 3M scientist, was researching ways to create stronger adhesives. In the process, he discovered glue that stuck lightly to surfaces but didn’t bond tightly to them. He partnered with Art Fry, another 3M scientist, who wanted to find a way to use a bookmark that stayed in place but didn’t damage the pages.
The product was born, and its debut was known as the Boise Blitz because of its launch in Boise, Idaho. Post-it is owned by The 3M Company, which is an American multinational corporation based in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
For more than 75 years, Sterilite’s storage and organization products have helped make everyday life a little easier and a lot more organized for parents and teachers alike. With continued product expansion, the Sterilite Corporation has become the largest plastic housewares company in North America. All of their products — from laundry baskets to to food storage containers and even shelving units — are made in the United States.
Are there any companies I may have missed? Let me know in the comments.
Sim Fern is the founder of Upbeat Designs, a Brooklyn-based provider of custom furniture, upholstery, and millwork services for luxury residential and commercial spaces. Sim has always had a passion for furniture, as he’s been working in the business since he was a teenager. What started out as a side job turned into a career for Sim — he’s now transitioned from small projects for homeowners to a wide range of clientele with Upbeat Designs. You can connect with Sim Fern online.
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