The Okabashi footwear brand was recognized at the White House on Wednesday at a “Made in America” certification event.
The special gathering was part of President Donald Trump’s ongoing “Made in America” week, created in order to highlight U.S. manufacturers from across the country.
As part of the festivities, the White House organized a product showcase featuring U.S.-made brands from each of the 50 states and hosted a roundtable with executives from 20 companies that manufacture here.
Okabashi CEO Sara Irvani and president Kimberly Falkenhayn were among the guests at the discussion, intended to highlight the importance of making products in American factories.
The Okabashi company, founded in 1984 by Sara Irvani’s father, Bahman Irvani, manufactures recyclable, injection-molded footwear at its 100,000-square-foot facility in Buford, Ga. Since its inception, it has sold more than 35 million pairs of shoes and created more than 200 jobs.
In a statement, Sara Irvani said, “I have a strong belief that eco-conscious, responsible manufacturing can flourish in the United States if we focus on consumers and are disciplined in our approach.”
While footwear manufacturing in the U.S. has seen recent increases, the industry remains heavily reliant on overseas imports. According to the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, domestic shoe production rose 5.6 percent in 2016 by volume, but made-in-America product still makes up less than 2 percent of the total footwear market.