Stuffington Bear Factory has been making American toy teddy bears and stuffed animals in the U.S.A since 1959.
Every animal wearing the Stuffington Bear Factory brand is made in our USA manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona. We also use American-made materials in the production of our animals, whenever possible. It’s a fact we’re proud of because it’s a big deal to our economy and our country.
What happens when I buy a product made in the U.S.A.?
When you buy products made in the U.S.A., the majority (if not all) of your dollar goes directly into the American economy. In other words, most of the wealth you transferred remains in the United States instead of leaving the country.
USA made stuffed toys ready to be packaged.
The more wealth kept inside the United States from consumer spending, the more people in the United States become employed. This ranges from unskilled labor all the way through skilled labor and into executive and information workers. This increases the chance that wealth expended by United States labor stays in the country.
All of this translates into more job opportunities in the United States. Higher job availability means less social benefits paid out in the form of unemployment checks and other welfare benefits. Lower social benefit costs translate into either lower taxation on United States citizens, or more tax dollars being spent on proactive social benefits like education, etc.
What happens when I buy a product that is NOT made in the U.S.A.?
When you buy something that is not made in the U.S.A., a larger percentage of the wealth is transferred to another country. It’s difficult to calculate how much because that is based on the product and from whom it was purchased, but it is definitely substantially less.
A rough example would be if you bought a foreign-manufactured microwave with a U.S. brand from a store in the United States. Let’s say you paid $89 for it. The retailer selling it kept probably $27 and paid a distributor $62 for it. That distributor kept about $6 and paid the U.S.-branded company the remaining $56 dollars. The U.S. company kept about $41 and paid an overseas manufacturer $10 to build it and $5 to ship it.
So, from your $89 purchase, about 17% (or, $15) left the United States. Doesn’t seem like a big deal.
So, why is it such a big deal? Why should it matter to me?
Well, 17% of your purchase leaving the American economy doesn’t sound like much, however what would happen to your family if your household income dropped by 17%? In 2006, the median annual household income was $48,201, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Lets say that is your income each year, paid to you as $1,853 every two weeks. Now imagine one day your paycheck is $1,538, a whopping $315 less – every two weeks!
How do you cut out $315 of expenses every two weeks? What gets cut and what stays? What suffers and what gets entirely left behind? That has significant implications for your financial security and lifestyle.
Are there more concerns than just the economy to consider?
There are definitely more concerns, including our society, environment and health.
Household income has increased a little bit since the 1960’s, but only for two reasons, the evolution of a two-earner household and an increase in the income of college graduates. In 1967, about 17% of households with a married couple and children had both spouses earning income. That figure rose to 39% in 1996, almost entirely generated by women entering the workforce. It was during that same timeframe that the United States gave up a powerful economic base in manufacturing to foreign producers. From one perspective, what we lost in our manufacturing base was made up by putting both parents to work instead of one. That has significant implications for our society.
When you buy things from another country, they have to be shipped to the United States. As the United States has diminished its manufacturing capacity, the shipping volume coming out of Asia, South America and Europe has increased many times over. In fact, ports in Asia and on the West coast of America are strained to the breaking point trying to keep up with the container traffic. This has flooded the ocean with many more container vessels that introduce a variety of problems like noise, emissions and more problems that are seriously disrupting oceanic habitats and our air quality. That has significant implications for our environment and our health.
There’s also been an issue growing with awareness in the American mind the safety of foreign-made products. Are products manufactured outside the United States held to the health standards we have come to expect? If they are, is the monitoring of those manufacturers as substantial as we have come to expect? The answer to these questions has often been “no” in recent years. It’s no surprise that in catching up to our level of consumption, foreign producers may have had to cut corners. Who is paying the ultimate cost for shortcuts made outside the watchful eye of American regulators? That has significant implications for our health.
All these problems aside, there is an issue of quality. Many products made in the U.S.A. tend to be higher in quality in terms of workmanship and materials. This is largely because todays United States manufacturer is a smaller business unable to compete with the price of ultra-cheap products from overseas. So, they invest in higher quality materials and manufacture processes that allow for a product that is more durable, more reliable and retain it’s quality for a much longer period of time. With this, they work to compete on the basis of quality or durability instead of price. The economics of buying cheaper things more often versus quality things at a lower frequency seems obvious until you account for the whole picture, like landfills buried in poorly-made products, additional trips to the store to buy things more often, and the incessant shipping of low-quality items to keep up with high-frequency consumption. So, quality clearly impacts everything from economics to health to the environment.
This does seem like a big deal. What can I do?
When you buy things, spend an extra moment or two locating products that are made in the U.S.A. There are even Web sites showing which brands and products are made in the U.S.A. Shop at establishments that stock things from the United States, tell them you appreciate it and ask for more.
This isn’t about politics or making some trendy statement. This is very serious business. It’s about making small, simple decisions that translate into big improvements to our economy, the environment and the future.
You can start now by deciding to make your next American toy teddy bear or American stuffed animal be from Stuffington Bear Factory!