So, recently on Linkedin, a somewhat spirited discussion took place about companies being ‘international’. Immediately, you can see how this might mean different things to different people, right?
I responded that I would love for our own clothing brand which is currently in development to be international in the sense that I want to try certain markets for export sales.
As many of you probably know by now, I insist on manufacturing in the Western World only. It comes from deeply held objections to how animals are treated in certain other countries, and while I know I have little control over where many goods are made when I buy them, I am in complete control over my own products. I’m not new to this game. I know well over 97% of pet products are imports from other countries. I realize companies take advantage of the cheaper labor, lower regulations and other factors which fatten their bottom line and allow them to manufacture more goods for less money, then mark them up and sell them for more profit.
I understand how it works, it just doesn’t work for ME.
I’m not here to become a millionaire, nor am I working under any hilarious notion that my small pet clothing line could, on any planet make me into another Donald Trump.
I have several key objectives/goals, but that’s not one of them.
1. I want to make products here at home to better control the quality and manufacturing process.
2. I adore small business and work hard to support them all I can. I feel we’re our own community and should support each other.
3. I want to honestly be able to say that our products are sweatshop-free, cruelty-free and completely made in the USA.
4. I support those who create jobs here at home, and wish to help them create even more.
5. Last, but not least. I have no wish to support any country that openly allows or even celebrates cruelty to animals. I’m not making ink pens or bathrobes here, guys..
I’m making products for pet owners and their beloved dogs. They deserve only the best quality, and the assurance that in purchasing my products, they did not support animal cruelty. On the contrary, since we donate proceeds to rescues, then that sweater or dress they bought from us helped to save animals.
That is one key reason I started Shiloh’s to begin with. I wanted a way to help animals which did not involve actually bringing more of them into my home. I volunteered. I fostered.
I failed fostering twice (And got Jax and Pippi to show for that!) so, I needed a more financial and less literal means of helping animals.
So Shiloh’s was born!
I will never make my products outside of the United States. Will that mean less profits? Maybe. That will depend on the consumer and how they feel about American made products over imported products. Ultimately, the power always belongs to the consumer, for they drive the demand that we supply. I hope I can count on the support of people who want to see more industry and jobs here in the USA, but we’ll see!
Will it mean my products are more expensive? Maybe. I’ve seen plenty of imported dog apparel items that sold for quite a bit once they’d been marked up. I feel confident that we will be able to keep our line reasonably priced.
Making products in America, and buying American should not be some kind of ‘penalty’.
While I don’t feel I “have to” explain my decision to avoid overseas manufacturing, I chose to..just this once.
After this, at least in the blog, I’ll hush about it, and instead, simply show it in my actions when those products start coming off the American assembly line.
It’s just part of who I am as a person, and part of my company’s core model.
“Where Fashion Meets Compassion”