Many Americans are concerned about the availability of American-made products in the marketplace versus products made overseas.
When a customer asks us where an item we sell at our Seattle store is made, we respond with confidence, openness, and transparency: “That was made in Vermont,” or “here in Washington state,” “in Vietnam,” or yes, “in China.” We have no problem sharing that we do business with some overseas suppliers in addition to doing most of our business with U.S.-based vendors.
Every time we’ve decided to do business with overseas suppliers, we’ve made that decision after careful consideration, deep market research, and personal, first-hand due diligence.
You may be wondering why we don’t sell only American made products.
We do carry a number of product lines, both furniture and bedding, that are designed and manufactured in the U.S. When we choose to do business with an overseas vendor, there are a couple of reasons why.
Reason #1 – Sometimes you have to go overseas to get a price people will pay.
For example, would you pay $199 USD for a Hanes-style men’s cotton undershirt? Very few people would. The market won’t bear that price. It’s the same in any industry. Retailers can’t just set prices willy-nilly; if they want to stay in business, they have to be aware of their market and what it will bear.
Few of us would be surprised to learn that it costs more to produce goods in America than it does to produce goods overseas. This is due to a host of reasons, most notably, the value of the dollar in comparison to the value of some foreign currencies.
Our questions as business owners are: What price will our customers pay for an item of this quality? Can we get that manufactured here in the U.S. for the price the market will bear? Or, is the best option to find an ethical, responsible manufacturer overseas?
But competitive prices aren’t the only reason we do business overseas.
Reason #2 – When the best materials aren’t available domestically, we go overseas.
Natural latex used in our mattress cores is a great example. Domestically made latex is inferior. However, making rubber overseas is fraught with risk of poor practices.
Rubber tree sap from rubber trees only grows within 10 degrees of the equator. When in Vietnam we found the best latex we had ever seen or felt before. We knew we could never go back to using latex that was less comfortable and less durable than this product. Having a higher quality product at a competitive price was best for customers.
If high quality botanical latex were made in the U.S., we’d buy it here. But it can’t be, and we’re not willing to use synthetic latex in our mattresses and other products. So we use Botanicore™ in our mattresses — harvested and produced in Vietnam, but made into mattresses here in the U.S.A., using other U.S.-made components.
Reason #3 – Seattle is a global city and thrives, in part, because of the benefits of a global economy.
As a longtime Seattle business (44 years and counting), we participate in that global economy. We’re proud to have an ethnically and internationally diverse team at Bedrooms & More, and we extend that outward to our partners, as well.
By sourcing products from many of our customers’ native countries, we show an appreciation for the many cultures that make Seattle a vibrant and diverse community. We get to tell our customers stories of visiting their home countries, and we get to hear their stories in return.
We take due diligence seriously. That’s why we do it all ourselves instead of relying on hearsay.
We are accountable for sourcing products made ethically and responsibly. We’ve been in ALL the factories of the manufacturers we partner with, in both the U.S. and abroad.
That’s right — we send our family members to our partners’ factories not for a quick, cursory visit, but for extended stays. We need to observe each part of the sourcing and manufacturing process. It’s important to get to know the factory owners personally, along with their employees. We have confidence that our manufacturers’ employees are all of legal working age, and are being treated fairly and compensated adequately.
Here’s a video tour of the plant that makes our Botanicore™ latex mattress cores. We’ve had a great relationship with the owners and employees of this plant for years, and we regularly visit them, and they visit us in our Seattle store at least once a year.
The next time you shop with us and have a question about where an item is made, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re glad to tell you our stories!
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