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Discover How You Can Bring Back American Manufacturing

Meet the Maker: Vermont Rolling Pin

The Grommet’s launch conversation board is wonderfully unique to the Internet, which, for a resource that provides access to anything in seconds, is saying something. It provides you with the opportunity to speak to the Maker of a product on their launch day.

During that time, we are often flooded with positive feedback and comments like “This is awesome!” “Why didn’t I think of that?” or our favorite “I love supporting small Makers on The Grommet.” For a Maker, it is validating  to see such support.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is…“Why is it made in China?” “Too expensive!” “I can get this for $10 at Amazon!” It’s often difficult to answer questions about why a Maker is manufacturing overseas because each product comes with its own story –and each Maker has to work within their own framework. But we do know it will be easier in the future to manufacture in America for many Makers and that’s thanks to the Maker Movement – the next industrial revolution poised to transform local economies and our entire nation as a whole. 

A survey from Consumer Reports a few months back found eight in ten American consumers would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one and they would pay 10% more for it. Based on the frequent rally cry for American-made we see on the comment board, that’s not surprising.

In that same Consumer Reports article, a Department of Commerce report found between 2009 and 2014, U.S. manufacturing output grew 45%, 646,000 jobs were added between the beginning of 2010 and mid-2014, and 243,000 more positions were waiting to be filled. And this is on top of a Wall Street Journal survey finding 48% of large manufacturers plan to return production to the U.S. from offshore.

As of now, it still remains expensive and difficult for small-scale Makers just starting out to manufacture domestically. Many of them want to, but a feasible opportunity isn’t there so they must look to overseas options. However, changes are on the horizon.

A few weeks ago, an article from Techonomy “Will Makerspaces Jumpstart a New Industrial Revolution?” (get used to that analogy) chronicled the impact Makerspaces are having on budding entrepreneurs. What sort of impact? Oh you know, just a reduction in startup costs up to 97%.

Makerspaces and TechShops are on the verge of changing the very foundation of product development (and that's a big win for all of us). These 20,000-square-foot creation factories are opening their doors for anyone to bring an idea to life with laser cutters, computer-aided design programs, open source hardware, and 3D printers, an industry poised to grow to $4 billion by 2025, all readily available.

The Menlo Park TechShop in California has served as the inception point for companies with over $12 billion in shareholder value, $2 billion in annual sales, 2,000 jobs and $200 million in annual salaries. That is one location out of over 200 across the country. Not bad.

According to the article, California, assuming a 10% state income tax level, is receiving $20 million per year from companies out of Menlo Park with the potential for another $1.2 billion when shareholders cash out.

Now think about the impact that could have on the local and state level if every state has at least one Makerspace. Then, add in libraries nationwide that are already expressing interest in having these spaces, along with schools of every level. If anyone wants to do the math, be my guest, my head is spinning.

As the scientific and maker community made clear through the example Ahmed Mohamed, Making is about to weave itself into the very fabric of America. It's exactly what President Obama was calling for when The Grommet visited the White House for the Maker Faire last year. Let’s be a nation of makers not just consumers, he said. If we do, the questions and comments we see now will fade away to be replaced with “When are you going to make more awesome products in America?” or “Can I buy all of the products on your site at one time?” The answers: now and yes.

As a Grommet community member, each click, share, and purchase of an American-made product helps churn toward a time when affordable, made in the USA products aren’t a novelty but the norm. If 10% of a consumer’s purchases are made with a small business, local economies will boom. When they do that, more and more opportunities for business in the US blossom.

The foundation of The Grommet is Citizen Commerce; the idea your dollars can be used to vote for the shopping values you believe in. If your values include supporting small-scale Makers creating and manufacturing affordable products in America, we have great news for you— the next American Industrial Revolution is at the doorstep. You just need to cast your vote.

Comments

  • Ali Hadia Says:

    I have one pending patent and few patent ideas.I am looking for partner(s).
    Thank you

  • Jessica Says:

    Mike, thanks for addressing this so clearly. It is frustrating to see these comments on the board each time a launched product isn't from the U.S., and this article clearly addresses the current issues for small Makers--and the hope for U.S. manufacturing in the future. It's fine to have a personal value to only purchase items that are made in the United States, but not every shopper has the luxury of paying extra and not every Maker has the luxury of charging that much more to get a product started, before it's even had a chance to catch on. I'm glad to see that the exorbitant start-up costs for Makers may soon lessen--hopefully passing on savings to consumers with this ethos!

    Thanks for doing everything you can to help small Makers gain exposure and "make it" in this economy! I've heard about so many amazing products that I've only seen here, and I appreciate widening my shopping options. :)

  • Cyndi Says:

    Something needs to be done about the US tax codes - I see no mention here.

  • Diana Says:

    Is there room for small investors?

  • joecordova Says:

    am glad to know more productive effort in manufacturing in the USA. will support and buy as needed.my latest buy was bondic and very pleased. easy to use and works well.

  • paul pasemann Says:

    I looked into a patient years ago, but did not follow up to get it completed. I put the item on the market and nobody copied it. I sold many of the items. paul

  • Marty Says:

    I agree with Cyndi above. Corporate taxes, in fact all taxes, need to be reduced to a global competitive level or everyone's kidding themselves. Companies need to make a profit. As long as the government continues to steal a large part of that profit companies will continue to go where operating costs are cheapest, whether we like it or not.

  • Lisa Says:

    It was disappointing to learn that the trucker friend was made in China. as it is a great tool.. I have witnessed products on this site that are actually retro items that I remember from the 60-70's eras. Also, the need of the Unions has passed. It is time that people took pride in a job well done. And, Why do we send our tax dollars to promote major manufacturing in other countries? Why should we want a President that promotes this philosophy?

  • Rolf Poeting Says:

    Cindy, I own a small manufacturing company in th US with about 45 people, competing with imports in a very competitive consumer product market. The daily challenges are making the right product, taking care of our customers, our vendors, our employees, train and motivate our employees and do this over and over again. When you become successful, you pay the damn taxes, be proud and happy.

  • Lucky Bill Says:

    So glad to see USA products!!! I know when everything went overseas it was suppose to be manufactured with the same quality as the USA and cost the consumer and the manufacturer less, but it was a lot less quality and it ended up costing the consumer more and filling up our landfills with all this poor made junk and having to replace it within such a short time!!! So it ended up costing us so much more all over again.
    I only hope and pray that the USA put quality back in our products again!!!

  • Shirley Says:

    Government regulation, excessive taxation, Union dictates, and sue happy people can account for a great deal of companies moving to other countries. Change these issues and companies will return to U.S.A. and will give small start up businesses a better chance.

  • Brenda Mathes Says:

    I am an American Biker...I only, proudly buy American made products. I would love these pajamas, but until they are made in America, by Americans, I will not be a customer. Sorry !
    [email protected]

  • Mike Says:

    Hi Lisa, I'm not sure where you got that information, but Trucker's Friend is made in the US.

  • Mike Says:

    Thanks so much, Jessica! We are happy to help your shopping! It's a real challenge for Makers, but many are up to it and the rest will hopefully be right behind them with enough support on our site. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from members of our community like yourself. I hope to see you on the comment board in the future!

  • Rolf Poeting Says:

    Hi Mike,
    Whatever it's worth it, but Shirley's comment should not remain unanswered, because it is such a common, stale and wrong opinion. As the owner of a small business for over 30 years, I had nothing but positiv and helpful interactions with government agencies, great help from the EPA classifying our hazardous waste, Osha when we hired a troubled worker who tried to take advantage of us, even the tax agencies were nothing but professional. When management acts arrogant, the workers, customers and government officials will obviously resent that. Businesses that run essentially by the golden rule have always prospered in the US, and there are many of us. Tax burden in the US is about average when compared to most other industrialized countries and the ACA kept our health insurance cost at a constant level for the last three years after double digit annual increases as far as I can remember.

  • donna Says:

    WOW! What interesting and informational comments. I am glad that I clicked on the blog to read it!!!

  • Donna Says:

    Hi Mike,

    I am so grateful to you for this. I have purchased a few things from this site and am thrilled with them. Finding things made in the U.S.A. is rare. Now I have a place to find them at reasonable prices. Since I found The Grommet on Facebook, I have been purchasing the best quality and unusual items. Thanks for writing this. I will be sharing this with my friends.
    -Donna Merrill

  • Jim Says:

    Politics...really? Comments on this site are hilarious. Especially the ones where Grommet spokespersons get defensive over less-than-positive comments and argue with their customers. Ah god i miss Boston.

  • Dianna Says:

    Really like the Three Pocket Carry All Belt - have been looking to replace my old "fanny packs" & would buy for my employees as well; just cannot support that the product is Made in China. The Chinese government has done little to reduce the gross inequites inflicted on their over-worked, underpaid workforce to say nothing of the dangerous conditions many factory workers are subjected to on a daily basis,

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