I grew up in the 1970’s during the heyday of the American apparel manufacturing business. My dad was a salesman in that industry. This was the pre Wal-Mart era where businesses flourished in town squares all across America. Over a short time we all saw the industry simply dry up and blow away due to mass marketers and apparel (as well as everything else) being imported from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and points beyond.
I am no longer associated with the apparel business, rather in packaging now, but my roots run very deep into the good soil of small town USA. I have always wanted in some way to bring back at least a portion of this industry.
I took our senior product manager with me to a fabric industry show in Charlotte recently. First time I’d been to Charlotte, NC…nice place and friendly people, especially the taxi drivers. On the way to the convention center I talked to a taxi driver about what we were there for and that we really want to try and bring back more fabricating back to this country. The driver said he knows many people in the NC area who have lost their jobs due to textiles being made anywhere but here. He was glad to hear what we said, and in turn he told me something that made the trip totally worth while to me…he said “You got to start somewhere”… and so we are.
We know nothing about cutting, sewing, fabrication, manufacturing, etc. but we believe that with the right contacts, equipment and American resources we can make quality, affordable, reusable fabric bags and related products not only in America, but by Americans and from American materials as well.
But when we told some vendors at the show what we wanted to do, why we were there, they just by default said…”well nobody makes those bags here”, and simply dismissed the thought of it. But after about 6 hours of seeking and talking we found people that wanted to listen and soon we had the beginnings of a plan. In fact we actually made a bag! The taxi driver was right. Those short sighted vendors were not, and they did not get our business either.
It is going to be a while before we get this figured out, but it is exciting to hope that it can be done, and that we can bring another change to the market, to our customers and to an extent to our country. In the meanwhile you will notice that all of our Green Way TM products are made in the USA as well as 90% + of all our new products.
2009 is indeed time for change… You want it, your customers want it and so do we. Leave us you comments and questions. Give us your opinion, feedback, contacts, help us if you can! Emailat [email protected] or leave a comment on the blog. And remember get out to the trade shows: Nashville Wraps Trade Show Schedule.
Robby Meadows, Nashville Wraps