Made in the U.S. Movement Hits Charleston

Over the past few years, a trend has been sweeping the American consumer, and businesses in Charleston are starting to pick up on the marketing technique. When executed effectively, this business model can attract  80% of American consumers and a majority of Americans say they would pay up to 10% more for such products. This new business trend is known as the Made in America movement.

The made in the U.S.A movement has been gaining ground since 2009, and now Charleston is a major player too (photo courtesy of Bernard Pollack via the Flickr Creative Commons).

The made in the U.S.A movement has been gaining ground since 2009 and Charleston is becoming a major player. (Photo courtesy of Bernard Pollack via the Flickr Creative Commons)

Between 2009 and 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, domestic production has gone up about 45% due to small business owners and start-ups taking advantage of their superior marketability. Why this sudden growth of manufacturing in America? Studies recorded by consumerreports.org point to the recent fall in costs of production. Alternative, green developments and the boom in domestic oil and gas production have all contributed to lower energy costs. In addition, the narrowing gap in labor costs between the U.S. and other manufacturing giants such as Asia and the Pacific Islands have influenced the popularity in domestic production, especially after native business owners factor in the cost of shipping between countries.

The “Made in the U.S.A.” label is definitely gaining ground, and Charleston is no exception. Charleston native Heather Parker runs a small business called Crew Lala, a company which handcrafts dog collars with bow ties in true, Southern style all for “pets and their people.” Due to recent spike in popularity and demand, she has recently decided to move production to North Carolina. CisternYard News sat down with Heather to uncover the story behind her success.

Delaney, one of the many faces you might see at Crew Lala's new retail space in West Ashley.

Delaney, one of the many faces you might see at Crew Lala’s new retail space in West Ashley. (Scott Harvin/Staff)

“The recent movement to bring manufacturing to the U.S., it has helped us tremendously to be on the forefront. People are now choosing quality over quantity and it shows in the demand,” answered Heather when asked how domestic production has helped her marketing efforts. However, she warns “manufacturing locally also comes with its set of challenges. Sourcing materials, labor costs and higher production overhead all have to factor in when you are looking at operations and the bottom line.”

The company, which got its start in 2011 in Heather’s own home, is moving forward to new milestones. They recently opened a new retail space in the Avondale neighborhood in West Ashley.

When asked to give advice for those hoping to start up their own businesses, Heather said, “you only get one chance at a first impression, so make sure you not only have a product you can stand by, but the customer service and experience to back it. Most importantly, don’t be scared of what you don’t know, instead embrace it.”

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Scott Harvin is a sophomore Communication major with a minor in International Studies in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. Originally from Sumter, South Carolina, he is thrilled to be able to call the wonderful city of Charleston his new home, where he cannot wait to watch the next three years of his life unfold. Other than his academic career at the College, Scott is also a Resident Assistant in McAlister Residence Hall, a tour guide for Charleston 40, a member of the Student Ambassador Program and a News Contributor for CisternYard News. All of this can only mean two things: first, he knows pretty much anything anyone could ever want to know about the College and second, he never sleeps. Despite this, he still finds time to explore his passions for music, photography and adventure, collecting vinyl records while traveling the southeast with close companions to root out the best experiences, restaurants and events the world has to offer. He does all of this while pursuing his ultimate dream: becoming a journalist for a major news branch, preferably in New York, where he hopes to live out the American Dream. “You may call him a dreamer, but he’s not the only one.”


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