Small Business Saturday 2015


Today is Saturday, November 28, 2015 and you know what that means? It is Small Business Saturday. It is  time to support one of the small shops or restaurants in your area. The owners of these small businesses are often your neighbors – they are the managers and major decision makers for the businesses. Small businesses are the major backbone of the United States economy. And small businesses have been a vital and most influential force in the United States until recently (they are still quite vital but they are not the political force they once were).

When Did the United States Become a Large Corporate State?

The United States has always been a predominantly small business environment until the 1980’s. Thanks to a policy of radical capitalism made popular by Alan Greenspan and implemented by  President Ronald Reagen, the United States has since created tons of laws that have favored big business practices: merging and consolidating (examples: Pfizer amd Allergan; Marriott and Starwood; Time-Warner, Inc; and ATT – the dismantling of the monopoly just to have it come back together even bigger), allowing dumping (overproducing of volumes of products to sink competing businesses – think of Wal-Mart and the small Midwestern small business, and now China to US small businesses); tax evasion (inversion, tax shelters); and Free Trade policies (eliminating import tax on foreign goods and favoring offshoring – sending US jobs to cheaper countries to take advantage of no import tax).

The United States has become one big box company competing against another big box company. Volume and profits are the only thing that matter it seems. Interesting facts: the number one employer in the United States – WalMart; the number one restaurant in the United States – Subway; and the largest six banks have assets of 63% of our GDP – definitely too big too fail. These big business rule Congress. As the US has slowly gravitated to Big Box USA, Inc.,  people who used to run their own businesses are now disposable cogs in the giant corporate machine.

Are Other Countries Small Businesses Friendly?

Yes, other countries vigorously defend their small businesses. If you visit any other country- whether in Europe or Asia,  you will see that there is rarely a bunch of big box stores, because they actually value the small businesses, not just pay them lip service. The United States has run with “the bigger box, the better”, the rest of the world says that is crazy.

Support your small business today and everyday.



Etsy Holiday Indie Emporium in SF

This weekend in San Francisco at Pier 35 on November 28 and 29, 2015 is the ETSY Holiday Indie Emporium.

Shop for San Francisco on Etsy, the place to express your creativity through the buying and selling of handmade and vintage goods. Etsy is a conglomeration of lots of small and mostly local vendors who sell their wares on the Etsy website. However, every so often, they come together and put on a show. A good majority of the items are made in the USA.

Source: SF Etsy – San Francisco Bay Area Etsy Street Team – Blog .

If you visit the link to the Etsy Street Team Blog – it will send you to the blog which tell you about some of the vendors who will be there. Have fun shopping and Buy American.



illumiNITE Reflective Safety Clothing

Source: illumiNITE Reflective Safety Clothing

The days are getting shorter each day. Had you noticed that when you get out of work, it is totally dark? What this all means is that if you work during the day and want to exercise outdoors, you will have to be out there in total darkness. The solution to exercising in the dark is either: reflective clothing (or blinking lights).

Portland II Softshell Jacket Blue and Flo Yellow - IllumiNite

Portland II Softshell Jacket Electric Blue and Flo Yellow – IllumiNite

I would like to highlight the reflective clothing option as the blinking lights can be very irritating. As you may (or may not know), the clothing made in the United States constitutes only 2% of clothing that is sold in the U.S., and when you take the subset of athletic clothing, the percentage is even smaller. And then when you take reflective athletic clothing, you are talking about a rare oddity.

But, I was surprised when I came across this post from a company called Illuminate. (Note IllumiNite thinks the the US makes 3% of our clothing).


We are the 3%!

According to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, 97% of apparel bought in the U.S. is made overseas. Not illumiNITE. Our company is one of the few apparel manufacturers (just 3% of all companies nationwide) that still produce clothing in the good ole’ US of A.

Many of our competitors contract out the manufacturing of their products to overseas companies. Workers subsist on pennies a day in substandard factories with poor safety records, so we can buy $2.00 tube socks (remember tube socks?).

When BackAtcha Apparel started running illumiNITE we inherited a ton of product made overseas. Since that day we’ve worked hard to move our production back to the States. Today 80% of our new gear is made locally, and we continue to make progress towards our goal – 100% of our products made in the U.S.A.


Portland Womens Cycle WPX Jacket Coral Flo and Black

Most of our gear is made in small batches, because specialty clothing can’t be mass-produced. Your favorite illumiNITE jacket, shirt, or pants was probably made right here in Fall River, MA by an actual seamstress in our factory. A hands-on approach means we know every stitch and seam and won’t let a sub-par product leave our warehouse.

As more Americans seek out and buy goods made in the USA, companies that work with overseas manufacturers will be forced to change. That’s good news for the 3 million U.S. apparel industry workers (also from AAFA) and good news for the U.S. economy.

Luckily, illumiNITE already calls Massachusetts home.

This weekend we celebrate the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As a small, woman-owned business, we’re grateful for the opportunities provided by a free and democratic nation.

Shopping local may not seem like a patriotic act. But every time you buy products made in the USA, a local family earns a living, and companies that exploit workers overseas must reconsider business as usual. Together, we can make a difference.



While the above report from IllumiNite is very, very hopeful and optimistic, when you actually visit their website, you will find out that 80% of their products are made in China. However, I am willing to give IllumiNite the benefit of the doubt – that it will take time to transform a 100%-foreign- made-product-company to become an American made company. I am hoping to see that in every future season, we will see a higher percentage of US made products. But, most importantly, THEY MAKE REFLECTIVE ATHLETIC CLOTHING MADE IN THE USA!

Women's Bling Vigor Singlet in Charcoal

Women’s Bling Vigor Singlet in Charcoal

IllumiNite offers cycling and running jackets, tops, bottoms, and shorts for both men and women. Make sure you check as to whether they are made in the USA or China before you make your purchase.

Check out the website at IllumiNite.myshopify.com.

Also check out their Facebook page: Facebook.com/Illuminateyourlife.


Trans-Pacific Partnership Full Text

This is the moment we have been waiting for The complete text for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is the agreement between with the United States with: Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore. The TPP will drop taxes on imports into this country from these other countries. The United States already has one of he lowest import tax rates of all countries averaging 2.5% (with many countries sending their imported products into the U.S. with 0% tax). This loss of tax on imports has been blamed as one of the major reasons why U.S. companies have out-sourced their jobs to these favored countries, in order to take advantage of the lower costs incurred in these countries.

TPP map

Source: TPP Full Text | United States Trade Representative

TPP Full Text

TPP Final Table of Contents




Related Instruments


US-Japan Bilateral Outcomes


Outerwear 2016

The weather is starting to get colder, the nights are getting longer. It is time to start wearing some layers – outerwear. Here are some fashionable choices from the Guideboat Company. All outerwear are assembled in the USA.

Outerwear is different than other types of clothing. They can be worn every day and your friends won’t even look twice. Outerwear can be your signature look like the character Lieutenant Columbo and his raincoat. But why a Los Angeles detective keeps on carrying a raincoat is beyond me. And he wasn’t all that fashionable. Well, that was a bad example. But the outerwear below would be better examples.


Nell Gwynn Guide Cloth Rambler via Guideboat

Nell Gwynn Guide Cloth Rambler via Guideboat


Montagne Shirt Jacket from Guideboat

Montagne Shirt Jacket
from Guideboat


Red Fox Wool Coat Guideboat

Red Fox Wool Coat by Guideboat


M65 Jacket Guideboat

M65 Jacket Guideboat


Algonquin Field Jacket by Guideboat

Algonquin Field Jacket
by Guideboat

And we can’t forget one of my favorite small batch makers: Poppy Von Frolich.

Gold Miners Daughter Mini Red-Black Buffalo Plaid Poppy Von Frolich

Gold Miners Daughter Mini Red-Black Buffalo Plaid
Poppy Von Frolich


Keep warm and fashionable this autumn, my friends!




The Quarter Century Jacket | A 25 Year Guarantee — Kickstarter

The Quarter Century Jacket – Kickstarter

With a nod to old fashioned American apparel manufacturing (and Filson too), this new Kickstarter project (a crowdsourcing funding project) plans to make jackets made in the USA, made to last 25 years and made out of duck canvas. Click on the above link to see their video and don’t forget to pledge your support. The have already surpassed their goal but you can still order yourself a jacket if you pledge before November 14, 2015.

About this project

This jacket is …

1) Made from premium fabric. We use the highest quality 12oz duck canvas. It’s designed to have an amazing soft feel but withstand the toughest wear.

2) Backed by a 25 year guarantee. We’re so confident that your Quarter Century Jacket will be the most durable jacket you’ve ever had that we are backing them up with a 25 year guarantee.

3) Made in America. The best quality comes when you make things in your own backyard. We work with production facilities that pay proper attention to fabric, people and processes right here in America.

4) Sold wholesale. By offering our jackets directly via Kickstarter we are able to cut out the retail channel and offer you a jacket that would usually retail for $300 at only $159.

Our journey started almost two years ago when we took a radically new approach to making clothes. It’s the passion for quality clothes that led us on a mission to design The Quarter Century Pants. Now, we are at it again and are doing something similarly radical for outerwear: a jacket so well made it’s guaranteed to last 25 years.

How does the jacket last so long?

The Quarter Century Jacket is made from premium US made 12oz duck canvas. Duck canvas differs from plain canvas in that the threads in the former are stronger and more tightly woven. The jacket is then constructed right here in America and finished with military grade hardware. The result: the best fitting, most durable jacket on the planet.

Inspired by the classic 20th century deck jacket, we set out to design a timeless and stylish everyday jacket. The Quarter Century jacket redefines style by presenting itself in a simple and modern construction:

Our Quarter Century Jacket includes the following features:

  • Sophisticated design (modern classic)
  • Heavy duty duck canvas fabric (12oz)
  • Double reinforced elbow patch
  • Utility hook
  • Military grade copper buttons
  • Double tacked on all stress points
  • Integrated headphone jack
  • Insulated arm opening
  • Two large inner chest pockets
  • Security pocket (fits iPad mini)

We are launching our Quarter Century Jacket in five colors: stone, amber, olive, slate and black. Let us know if you are looking for additional colors. We’d love to hear from you!

Every jacket comes in size S-XXL for both men & women in our signature Quarter Century fabric and fit. We will confirm your preferences at the completion of the Kickstarter. You can review our fit guide here.

We are offering The Quarter Century Jacket at wholesale. No retail markups. No distribution markups. By selling to you directly we can maintain the highest quality and construction while offering a fair price point.

For our early supporters, we are offering a Kickstarter wholesale price at $159 including the Quarter Century Jacket and free shipping (US). Shipping to Canada is $12 and to the rest of the world $20 for a single jacket. Click on the reward to see all details.

The Quarter Century Jacket is 100% made in America. We use the highest quality fabrics and very best construction.

Our premium duck canvas is made by Mount Vernon Mills in South Carolina and the quilted inner lining, metal hardware and construction is done right here in Los Angeles, CA.

We’ve made these jackets to last a lifetime and are guaranteeing they are of the highest quality possible, but if anything happens to them we’ll repair them free of charge. Send them back to us and we’ll fix them!

Risks and challenges

Producing anything at high-volume poses a number of problems. With that said we’re not starting from square one. In March of 2015, we went on Kickstarter and raised over $250,000 for our Quarter Century Pants. We believe in transparency and communication, so our backers will be the first to know about any unplanned hurdles or delays.


Before + Again Clothing – Fashionable Ladies Tops

Looking for some great looking tops that won’t cost you arm and a leg, then you need to see the fashionable tunics and T shirts from Before + Again.

Before + Again Clothing are known for their beautiful and colorful ladies tunics and they are all made in the USA. They can be found in many boutique shops near you as well as at their website: Before + Again Website.

before and again

Before + Again is based out of Missouri. Their selection is actually quite nice, with many different colors, choices and designs. One can shop by several different ways: Most Popular; Design of the Week; or Made for you – in which you can choose your print and have them made up especially for yourself or by browsing through their three different designers. Before + Again mainly makes tunics and shirts, but they also make some extremely cute dresses and skirts, too.

Groovy Petals Green V Neck Tunic

Groovy Petals Green V Neck Tunic

About Before & Again Clothing

Our Story

Starting a new clothing company from scratch in 2008 seemed to be a fool’s errand. What began over a 2 year period with countless fabric printing experiments in a one-room shop, eventually led partners Joe Werner, Peter Daneyko and Jon Rianhard, to their eureka moment and the creation of the Before+Again™ label.

The team’s patented system enabled them to take design inspirations and print concepts from diverse groups of designers, and quickly put them to fabrics creating extremely diverse and unique one-off t-shirt creations. This process provided the ability to rapidly share a variety of looks with a broad consumer audience. Ultimately consumers would decide what shape the company would take.

The real excitement began when Joe’s wife, Susan, asked if some of her designs could be printed on fashionable and trendy burnout fabrics. Susan and her friends started wearing the new-look tees

and were literally stopped in the streets by women asking “where did you get those shirts?” All other endeavors stopped and it was decided that this was where all energies would be focused.


The Name

The name “Before + Again” was chosen to reflect the design process and the ever-changing cycle of fashion. Designers gain inspiration from something they’ve seen, felt, or heard before turning it into something new. Adding bold designs and vibrant colors to a variety of fabrics gives B+A apparel a new–fashioned take on looks that customers may find familiar, yet fun and appealing.


Git Black Thermal Long sleeve crew shirt

Git Black Thermal Long sleeve crew shirt


The Designers

Through a rich group of designers, B+A prides itself in bringing you the most original print design and colors to our ever-growing fabric offerings.

We use a diverse group of print designers made up of both in-house teams and guest designers, that include established textile designers, artists, eccentric fashionistas that all have their unique sense of style and color – to design graduates wishing to articulate their fresh take on what is new and hot.

By having such a diverse group of designers we hope to have prints that you find not only unique to you, but also fun and inspirational to your individualized tastes, or personality of the moment.

Each month we feature new designs as wells as the print designers who create them.

Moroccan Garden Black

Moroccan Garden Black


Made in the USA

Where each B+A piece is as unique as you are.

Each printed top, dress, or tee is proudly produced upon order in our facilities in St. Louis Mo. You select a print design and body style, from an ever-growing monthly selection – and we make it just for you; and no two pieces are exactly alike.

Tribal Earth Sleeveless Dress

Tribal Earth Sleeveless Dress


Keeping it Green

We take the greatest care to utilize environmentally friendly recycling process wherever possible. Our printing process involves sublimation and recyclable dye which means no waste is going down the drain.

Penny Navy 3/4 bell sleeve V Neck tunic

Penny Navy 3/4 bell sleeve V Neck tunic

November 2015
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