Made in America: 3 Entrepreneurs Who Are Making Their Businesses Work in the USA
Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business is never an easy feat, but starting your business in America is said to be particularly challenging. While there may be challenges to business here in the states, there are plenty of advantages and opportunities, too. While some may find that sourcing your business abroad is the best course of action, there are many entrepreneurs who want to create their products and services at home in their local communities across America.
To help you understand some of the challenges and opportunities of making a business in America, here are three entrepreneurs who are choosing to stay Made in the USA.
DoDo Case, San Francisco, CA
Challenge: American Skilled Labor Costs
Opportunity: Save On Outsourced Manufacturing CostsDODOcase has combined the craftsmanship of traditional bookbinding with the needs of a modern digital market, to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind iPod and iPad cases. Each DODOcase item is handmade by a local craftsman in their San Fran headquarters. But isn’t all that skilled American labor too expensive. Co-founder of DODOcase, Patrick Buckley explained that while the perception often is that the cost of labor it too high, by manufacturing in-house, DODOcase is actually able to tighten up their supply cycle.
Things happen faster because they aren’t waiting for outside vendors or overseas manufacturers and they don’t have the extra shipping or foreign trade costs. Doing the real cost benefit analysis on domestic labor could end up surprising you. Don’t rule skilled American labor out before you do the research.
Printful, Burbank, CA
Challenge: Starting a US Business as a Foreign-National
Opportunity: Access to Resources and Skilled LaborPrintful offers automatic and on-demand printing fulfillment service that range from posters to greeting cards to mugs -- all designed to help make printing costs transparent and affordable to the small to medium sized online business. Perhaps even more unique than PRINTFUL being based in Burbank, California, is the fact that it has been co-founded in 2013, by Lauris Liberts, a Latvian born entrepreneur, who also co-founder of a Latvian social network Draugiem(.lv).
But isn’t starting a business in the US, especially in California expensive? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to start the business back in Latvia?
Lauris says that while the cost of doing business might be a bit higher in the US, the opportunities here far outweighed the monetary considerations. He said that while there were certainly challenges getting started, the access to technology, the skilled and educated labor force and the culture of innovation that permeate California made it the perfect culmination of business market factors he was looking for to start PRINTFUL. By providing businesses with options for one-off and on-demand printing with no subscription fees required, the company has really taken off, while helping small online businesses flourish, too.
There’s more to starting your business than just costs: consider the market factors and culture your business will need to thrive.
Challenge: Outsourcing Backlash
Opportunity: American Made Builds A Brand
BUCK KNIVES. Founded back in the early part of the century, they made all their knives here in America. However, with the rising cost of domestic skilled labor, they took a gamble and starting outsourcing about 30% of their knife manufacturing to China. With a huge backlash! Customers didn’t want Buck Knives made in China. They were willing to pay a higher price to keep that quality MADE IN THE USA. How could your brand be hurt by outsourcing overseas? With a century long history of being Made in the USA, outsourcing their manufacturing to China hurt the Buck brand. So after the stint in offshore manufacturing, Buck Knives returned 100% of their business to being made in Idaho. American labor could be an important part of your brand. Know the costs of outsourced labor before you decide.