One of the ways I want to use this blog is as a way of sharing what it’s like to run my business. This under-the-hood perspective will cover a wide range of topics and may sometimes surprise you. I’m calling it, understandably, “Under the Hood.”
Under the Hood: Made in America
When I made the jump from Mom to manufacturer I never imagined that it would be such a long and challenging journey. I began in 2004 manufacturing in the USA and it didn’t take long for me to realize that no matter how creative my marketing initiatives I wouldn’t be able to compete in the world of retail and reach a wider audience unless I drastically controlled my costs.
While my manufacturer was able to deliver great quality, I still felt something was missing. Inspired by my visit to a trade show that focused on life styles of health and sustainability, I was determined to find a way to both control costs and incorporate environmentally friendly materials into my product.
I wanted desperately to manufacture in the USA, but couldn’t find what I needed. I began searching the globe for new manufacturing and even went as far as hiring brokers to search in China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
The manufacturers they referred didn’t have the ability to consistently control the quality of the raw materials and the result was cheap looking. I was offered many alternatives on how to cut costs but I didn’t want to sacrifice the quality or the integrity of my product. This was a real eye opening experience for me.
If you ever embark on this type of journey remember to pack your moral compass.
I wasn’t following typical, cost-cutting corporate rules for manufacturing, I was following what I call “Mommy rules.” That means if the quality is good enough to go into my own home than I feel comfortable with it going into yours too. In 2010, I met with an Indian manufacturer who promised all of the eco-friendly materials I dreamed of and at the right cost. After a year of back and forth and very specific instructions on the materials and the design I required, they failed to deliver what they promised. Ever hear the saying, it was “too good to be true?”
I learned a big lesson and lost a lot of time and money in the process but I stayed true to my plan and refused to deliver a product I don’t believe in. I continued my search and in January of 2011 was fortunate enough to find a factory that could finally meet my needs just a short distance from Atlanta, GA.
I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I had to travel around the world and through the big bad forest to learn that there really is no place like home. I’m so proud to say that Dr. Doormat is made in the USA. We are happy to support our country and help put America back to work. Happy 4th of July, America!
Have a safe and healthy celebration.