Made In America’s Biggest Hurdle?

As e-commerce and social media surge, the distance between markets shrinks. Retailers convened at WWD’s Global Sourcing Summit today to discuss the issues facing American-made products.

Brad Miller, GM of enduring purpose/domestic manufacturing at New Balance: “The biggest challenge is that we are still reliant on the Far East for getting certain materials. We’re looking down South for companies that are closely vertically integrated to us, so we’re less reliant on third-party operations, which would also speed up our ability to service the market.

[If you look at what we’re offering], we actually have a custom business in the U.S. We’re looking to speed up e-commerce to let the customer choose if they’re willing to pay for a premium service.”

Nanette Lepore, designer: “People are really thinking about their purchases. You want to buy something you feel good about. This generation is really into products that mean something. I’m worried that we’re not moving fast enough to shore up [U.S.] factories. As we move overseas, we’re hearing people want made-in-America internationally, and we need to keep up with demand.”

Bob Bland, CEO of Manufacture New York:
“The U.S. has a great opportunity to do infrastructure building for the first time in 30 years. Creating affordable space and workforce training facilities is really important [in this stage]. [Millennials] are a generation of people who know that working with their hands is something meaningful, when college educations can be out of their reach, and we need to create a supply chain here.”

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