A bit of a rhetorical question: Do consumers care, or care to know, where products are manufactured? Are they aware of, aside from egregious working conditions and among countries with a bad reputation for human rights, where their favorite goods are assembled?
Since I am in a patriotic mood, which is not to be confused with jingoistic chants and ugly shouts of nationalist fervor, my answer to the question is an emphatic YES.
We are proud of our fellow citizens. Each of them, of every race, hue, color, creed and religion, is as authentically American as any G.I. or bearded uncle, who, in our secular mythology, is as iconic as his Christmastime cousin, Kris Kringle, and goes by the name Uncle Sam.
We celebrate their thrift and industriousness; we admire their ambition and discipline, leading them to traverse sea and air to arrive safely in a foreign land.
We remember their journeys across mountains and great rivers, the entirety of their bread and savings strapped to their bodies, so they could become – in letter and spirit – Americans.
So, in response to the question raised at the outset, and as I see the commemorative statue of the five U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag on Iwo Jima, I write these words on a Veterans Day of solemnity and gratitude.
I ask if consumers care, and I say, “They care plenty. They look for the ‘Made in America’ label, and they feel right.”
Some things are, indeed, worth fighting for; some things, as those six men memorialized in bronze remind us, their long silhouette cast alongside the gates of Arlington National Cemetery . . . well, some things are reason enough to stand tall.
I offer these thoughts both as an American and as an entrepreneur, where, in my role as Founder and CEO of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, I do my part (however modest) to make my products in the U.S.
My broader point, which I encourage other business owners and executives to adopt, is simple: Manufacture your items in America because, whatever initial expenses you may incur, are nothing more than a rounding error concerning the long-term goodwill (from consumers and critics alike) you will enjoy.
That camaraderie begins with the smile and self-confidence of a worker with a job – the recipient of a living wage – who sees not false symbolism and empty slogans in our invocation of words like honor, duty and country, but integrity; the quiet resolve to create something of dignity and purpose.
A Brand with Principles: Infusing Your Business with Everlasting Virtues
The overriding theme of this discussion is clear, reducing this argument not to a matter of if, but a question of when.
When, for example, will executives increase hiring here at home?
When, in an act of moral strength and economic vigor, will they invest in the human capital that yields the financial capital they seek to achieve?
When will they raise the flag by planting the flag, stitched, sewn or ironed across a product that says, “Made in the USA”?
Now is the time for executives to embrace this chance for glory.
As consumers, we are eager for change. We are ready for the morning.
We want exceptional products made by exceptional workers, which offer an exceptional experience.
We want, in short, America. We want her greatness and her passion for adventure. We want to revel in her majesty, and rejoice in her rewards. We want to revere her power, and retain her sense of justice.
We want goods made in America.
Merry Richon is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, an all-natural and holistic means of alleviating the itching sensation caused by variety of external factors.