Archive Page 2


Are Amazon and Forever 21 Competing to Buy American Apparel? – Racked

Source: Are Amazon and Forever 21 Competing to Buy American Apparel? – Racked

Are Amazon and Forever 21 Competing to Buy American Apparel?

The bankrupt basics brand reportedly has a number of suitors.


Activewear for the 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is a time when there is an excess of goodies, chocolates and many carb-rich foods. They can be found both at work and at home. It is the lucky ones who don’t put on any weight during this time. But, now that it is January and the New Year has already started, it is common for many to make a resolution to exercise and lose weight. If you happen to have made one of these crazy resolutions: Good Luck. And I will help you. I will steer you in the direction of finding exercise clothes made in the USA. Hurray.

To start with, let us start with shoes. And when we talk about athletic shoes, there really is only one company still making athletic shoes in the USA: New Balance.

New Balance 997

New Balance 997


A classic silhouette gets its newest update just in time for winter with the 997 New Balance sneaker. ENCAP® midsole technology provides support for wear-anywhere comfort and the durable, premium suede/mesh upper helps protect your feet from the elements. Finished with cool color combinations inspired by lower temps and you have a quality sneaker, made for daily wear.

New Balance Pink Ribbon 990v4

New Balance Pink Ribbon 990v4

This is American craftsmanship. The 990 continues its 30-year legacy of great performance and iconic style with the new women’s 990v4 featuring reflective details that catch the light at night. It’s the perfect combination of cushioning and stability, wrapped up in a look that will last forever.

New Balance 1700 Age of Exploration

New Balance 1700 Age of Exploration

Made in USA craftsmanship meets wanderlust inspiration in the 1700 Age of Exploration. Designed and crafted in New England from premium materials, the men’s sneaker pays tribute to the desire for adventure with bold color combinations and a timeless look.

Next – Activewear. Below is from Yogasmoga

Yogasmoga U and Me Move Bra and Pants

Yogasmoga U and Me Move Bra and Pants

The U & Me Yoga Bra is our low support, strappy racer back bra. Lined in custom mesh for breathability. Made out of our exclusive AURUM®+ Augusta printed fabric.

Below is from SQN Sport– Luxury Active Wear for Women.

SQN Sports Leggings

SQN Sports Leggings

Splits59 Austin Hoodie

Splits59 Austin Hoodie

For men: Oliver’s Apparel has a great pair of work out shorts – great for running or working out. It comes in 6 different colors.

Oliver's Apparel All Over Shorts

Oliver’s Apparel All Over Shorts

From Go Athletic Apparel – layering is very important when exercising in the cold.

Go Athletic Apparel Cold Base Layer Shirt

Go Athletic Apparel Cold Base Layer Shirt

Exercising at Night

Face it, the days (daylight hours) during wintertime are frightfully short, which means if you are going to be working outdoors there is a good chance that it will be when it is dark. And when it is dark, it can be dangerous. There is a company that specializes in clothing that can be seen at night. Its name is Illuminite. Below are two examples from Illuminite.

Illuminite Bristol Women's reflective jacket Lilac and Blacklight

Illuminite Bristol Women’s reflective jacket Lilac and Blacklight (This picture is under blacklight)

Illuminite Pullover in Flo Lime and Black

Illuminite Pullover in Flo Lime and Black

Exercising Where It is Extremely Cold

I have not forgotten my friends in the great Northern states. Of course, most enlighted people stay indoors once it is less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. But for those of you who are diehards – whether it is skiing, (cross-country or downhill) or just snow-shoeing in the blinding snow, here are some clothes to keep you warm from Wintergreen Northern Wear.

Wintergreen Boundary Waters Shell Pants (Women's)

Wintergreen Boundary Waters Shell Pants (Women’s)

Wintergreen Nordic Ventile Cotton Anorak

Wintergreen Nordic Ventile Cotton Anorak

Wintergreen Polartec Powerstretch Balaclava

Wintergreen Polartec Powerstretch Balaclava

Other Companies that Make Active Wear in the USA

(From Listing of American Clothing Manufacturers – Retail)

Athletic Wear

  1. ALO (Yoga)
  2. Anue (Yoga)
  3. Beyond Yoga (Yoga)
  4. Castelli (bicycle clothing) (rare)
  5. Hard Tail (tops, sweatpants)
  6. Lucy (Yoga pants) rare
  7. LVR (yoga wear)
  8. Lysse (running pants, yoga tops, leggings)
  9. Nation LTD (sweatpants)
  10. New Balance (running shirts and shorts) rare
  11. Pink Lotus (yoga)
  12. pRana (yoga)
  13. Pure Karma (yoga)
  14. SODO (sweats pants, tops)
  15. Solow (Yoga, running)
  16. Soul, Mind, Breath, Life (yoga)
  17. Soul Flower (yoga)
  18. Splits59 (workout clothing, sport bra)
  19. SQN (workout clothing)
  20. Voler (bicycle clothing)
  21. UnderArmour (tops) rare
  22. Yogasmoga (Yoga, tops, bras, yoga pants) All med in USA.

From Listing of Brands of Clothing Made in the USA – Internet

Athletic/Active Wear

  1. Adho Mukha Athletica (yoga and fitness)
  2. Aerotech (bicycle clothing)
  3. Aether (outdoor wear, leggings)
  4. AKWA (sweat pants)
  5. AST Sportswear (golf shirts, Yoga Pants)
  6. Blue Canoe (tops and leggings)
  7. Campbellsville
  8. Cana Collection
  9. Go Athletic Appeal (compression shorts and shirts)
  10. Handful – Sports Bra
  11. Hard Tail (Nordstrom’s, also)
  12. Hooked Production (Hiking)
  13. Ice Time Apparel (Hockey % Figure Skating)
  14. IllumiNite (Reflective Athletic Wear)
  15. Impact Fitness Wear (rare)
  16. Kos.USA
  17. My Boxercraft
  18. Nesh NYC (Ladies Yoga wear)
  19. OBX Outfitters (Ladies athletic tank)
  20. Oliver’s Apparel (Mens athletic shorts)
  21. Omgirl (yoga clothing)
  22. Physique (weightlifter & work out clothing)
  23. Pink Lotus (yoga wear, not all US made)
  24. Pistol Pete ( Men’s athletic area)
  25. Pure Karma
  26. SQN Sport (luxurious active wear)
  27. S.O.A.R.K. (Running Wear)
  28. Teeki (Yoga Clothing)
  29. Terrybicycles (bicycle apparel for women
  30. Swami (sweatshirts, mens shorts, women’s leggings)
  31. Voler (Bicycle apparel)
  32. Wild Things (Outdoor high tech clothing)
  33. WSI ( – Microtech Long sleeve shirt
  34. 3:16 Athletic Wear (Running and biking clothes)

Have a Happy New Year and may the odds ever be in your favor.



Tuckerman and Co. – Great Dress Shirts Made in the USA

NEW HAVEN — A startup launched by a couple of Yale grads is quietly making a name for itself in the fast-growing business of premium organic work clothing made in the USA. A couple of Yale grads are finding success with a $145 work shirt made in the USA from organic cotton.

Source: Making Great Clothing That’s Also Organic And Made In The USA – Hartford Courant

by Sujata Srinivasan

Making Great Clothing That’s Also Organic and Made In The USA


NEW HAVEN — A startup launched by a couple of Yale grads is quietly making a name for itself in the fast-growing business of premium organic work clothing made in the USA.

“You had Patagonia for the weekend but nothing if you needed a suit to wear to work,” said Amanda Rinderle, who along with her husband Jonas Clark began Tuckerman & Co. from a start-up incubator at Yale last year.

“Everything’s fast fashion, so it’s not made to last. We looked into it and realized that there was a huge environmental problem, particularly for cotton. It’s one of the most chemically-intensive crops in the world,” said Rinderle.

Rinderle, 30, and Clark, 34, are tapping into a growing consumer class driven to make purchases that are in line with both fashion and personal values. The couple – who met in Cambridge, Mass., before moving to Connecticut to attend Yale – began their entrepreneurial venture because they were frustrated at not being able to find ethically sourced, high-quality work clothing that was made to last.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, cotton covers just 2.4 percent of the world’s crop land but accounts for 24 percent of the global sales of insecticide and 11 percent of pesticides sales.

“We’re outdoorsy people and have been big fans of Patagonia and their approach to their supply chain,” said Clark. “They switched to organic cotton long before it became cool. We thought – ‘gosh, where’s a Patagonia for the office?’ That kind of got us off and running.”

As luck would have it, Patagonia’s Chief Storyteller Vincent Stanley was giving a talk at the Yale School of Management where Rinderle and Clark, then students, cornered him with the pitch for Tuckerman & Co., named after their favorite hiking trail in New Hampshire.

Stanley not only liked the idea, he got onboard as an advisor. “I was encouraged by the impeccable quality of the final product,” he said.

The men’s dress shirts – single line stitching, raised hems, buttons from tree nuts in Panama, interfacing stitched in to avoid chemicals – are made from organic cotton grown in Israel and woven in Italy by suppliers who hold the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) certification. The material is cut and sewn at a factory in Fall River, Mass., where workers are second and third generation unionized shirt-makers with healthcare coverage, earning an average hourly pay of $12. The company has no employees besides Rinderle and Clark.

Launched in New Haven from a start-up incubator at Yale last year, Tuckerman has raised close to $100,000 in grants, including $30,267 from 255 donors on Kickstarter in 2014, when the duo was in their second year. Clark said the online start-up quickly became profitable but he declined to divulge revenue. The company is test-marketing a line of women’s shirts.

“Most people who are paying $100 for a shirt at a retailer – that shirt cost $25 to make,” said Clark. “Because we are direct to consumer, we cut out some of those mark-ups along the way.”‘

Tuckerman’s dress shirt is priced at $145. Brooks Brothers non-organic cotton Herringbone French Cuff dress shirt, for example, woven in Italy, is priced at $325.

“The concern about the environment is spreading. However, when the price is high, such concerns matter less,” said Narasimhan Srinivasan, professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut. “But obviously Tuckerman is catering to an upscale market. It’s economically viable.”

For artisanal clothing makers, a small group of loyal customers is all it takes to sustain sales. “The market segment for longer lasting versus cheap throw-away clothes is growing,” said Anne MacDonald, former chief marketing officer at Macy’s and an advisor to Tuckerman. “The shopper who buys only on discount and in price promotion department stores such as Macy’s and H&M is not the primary customer Tuckerman is targeting.”

Tuckerman sees its core customers as consumers willing to spend on brands that value people and the planet. These consumers choose to support retailers who help build sustainable supplier communities abroad and the buy local movement at home. Nearly 20 percent of Tuckerman’s sales are accrued in Connecticut as buyers spend dollars in support of local craftspeople and retailers.

Demand for Made in USA wedding gowns is driving sales at Modern Trousseau in Woodbridge, which sells across the U.S. and also in the U.K. and Japan at an average wholesale price of around $1,800 per gown. In Ridgefield, Fox-Rich Textiles Inc., a fabric converter, supplies material for hunting and theatrical accessories.

At the Hartford Denim Company LLC, launched in 2010, Dave Marcoux, 32, co-founder, said sales continues to grow locally. Priced at $235 each, the jeans are made in Hartford on antique sewing machines and a Connecticut logo goes on every pair sold in the U.S., Sweden and Japan. The thread is sourced from New Bedford, Mass., and the denim from North Carolina. “We want to support the domestic economy as well as avoid child labor,” said Marcoux.

Tuckerman & Co. Hoagy Check

Tuckerman & Co. Hoagy Check

The demand for small online stores selling handcrafted work including clothing has spurred the phenomenal success of marketplaces like Etsy, which has 24 million active buyers and gross merchandise sales of $2.39 billion in 2015.

“Young entrepreneurs are bringing back a fashion-forward spirit in America,” said Jacob Harrison Long, CEO of the American Woolen Company, which manufacturers fabric for J. Crew and Jos. A Banks in Stafford Springs. In the last 18 months, his firm has aligned with 22 garment start-ups. “We’re tapping into a new Made in America phenomenon brought on by online apparel start-ups. Five years ago they were making nothing. Now they’re doing upward of $20 million in revenue.”

Much of that growth rests on support from a small but fierce band of loyalists who buy well, buy less, and derive satisfaction from an aesthetic wardrobe that’s gentle on the planet.

Tuckerman & Co. does not advertise online and relies on word-of-mouth and repeat customers. Reorder rates are more than 60 percent and the startup ranks high on Internet searches for men’s dress shirts alongside small artisanal companies such as Rawganique and Solne in the U.S. and Culturata in Canada. Clark views Brooks Brothers as the closest competitor, despite the disparity in pricing

“The purpose of Tuckerman is to make great clothing but to do it in a way that does right by those involved,” said Rinderle. “For us, that means working with partners who use fair labor practices and safe working conditions. It’s a real point of pride for us to make our shirts here.”

Editor’s Comment
It is great to see another maker of dress shirts made in the USA. Check out their website: Tuckerman & Co. And don’t forget they are organic. Tuckerman and Co. was a Kickstarter project like another dress shirt maker Hucklebury.

Chinese billionaire revives closed Ohio GM plant, creates 3,000 jobs

Food for thought. So guess who is going to bring the middle class back in the United States? It could be the Chinese. The Chinese taketh and giveth back.

Chinese businessman Cho Tak Wong turned a shuttered GM plant into an auto glass factory for his global empire

Source: Chinese billionaire revives closed Ohio GM plant, creates 3,000 jobs – CBS News

MORANIE, Ohio — The factory floor is bustling again at a manufacturing plant in Moraine, Ohio.


Mr. Cho

CBS News

A billionaire has indeed brought jobs back to this part of the Rust Belt, but not the one who promised to on the campaign trail.

His name is Cho Tak Wong; He goes by Mr. Cho.

The Chinese businessman says he expects to create 3,000 jobs in the former General Motors plant, which shut its doors in 2008, costing the area 1,000 jobs.

Mr. Cho turned it into a state-of-the-art auto glass factory, part of his global Fuyao Glass empire, which produces 23 percent of the world’s car windows.

“When I walked into it two years ago it was dark, dirty, it had been uninhabited for quite a few years,” said Jim Reid, a supervisor at the plant.


Mr. Cho, right, touring the factory

CBS News

Reid voted for Donald Trump for president, who made the Chinese a target during his campaign.


Jim Reid

CBS News

Correspondent Jim Axelrod asked Reid what he made of a Chinese businessman being the one to bring so many jobs back to Ohio.

“I’ll be honest. I struggled with it a bit when I made the decision,” he said. “Just because of what I’ve been led to believe through my life.”

But Mr. Cho seemed untroubled by Trump’s criticism.

“That was just campaign language. Now that Trump is the president-elect, things will be different,” he said.

“Mr. Cho, are you making America great again?” Axelrod asked.

“Yes!” he replied.

Axelrod asked Reid what his message would be to Trump about Chinese businessmen in the U.S.

“Just give them a try,” Reid said.

Ten percent of the jobs at the plant are held by Chinese employees. As for wages, the Fuyao jobs start in the $12 to $15-an-hour range. The old GM jobs at the same factory paid $30 an hour, but Mr. Cho said he is looking to raise the pay scale considerably.


The 2016 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide | Alliance for American Manufacturing

There’s something American-made for everyone on your list. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has found gifts made in every state.

Source: The 2016 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide | Alliance for American Manufacturing

There’s something American-made for everyone on your list.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is excited to officially unveil the 2016 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide, which features an array of American-made ideas from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We hope you find this list helpful, and encourage you to share it with others using the share buttons on the left side of the page.

We received hundreds of great gift ideas this year from the Made in America movement. In making our selections, we tried to pick a variety of gifts that are also easy-to-purchase and at reasonable price points. If you don’t see your idea on the list, don’t worry — we’ll roll out additional picks on the blog throughout December.

Thank you for Keeping it Made in America this holiday season.

-Team AAM

Alabama: The New York Times dubbed zkano founder Gina Locklear the “Sock Queen of Alabama,” and for good reason. The organic sock company is located in Fort Payne, which was known as the Sock Capital of the World until offshoring sent jobs overseas. Locklear drew on her family’s own sock making history to launch zkano in 2008, proving you can still keep it Made in America. 

Alaska: When Robert and Anita Shane quit smoking in 2010, they found they needed a hobby. That hobby turned into the Alaska Rug Company, which sells doormats, throw rugs, bowls and other household decorations that are made out of old Alaskan fishing line and rope. 

Arizona: Heirloom quality wallets, belts, bracelets and other keepsakes from Ezra Arthur are “artifacts worth of discovery — from father to son, passed down from one generation to the next.” The company uses century-old equipment to make its goods at its facility in Phoenix’s warehouse district. 


Ozark Beard Company

 Ozark Beard Company wants to change the way most people look at beardsmen, from “a bunch of lazy unkept dudes” to men proud to “REP THE BEARD!” OBC’s beard oils are made from natural ingredients and designed to keep beards looking healthy. 

California: The husband and wife team of Dana and Melanie Harvey started their company, aptly named Harvey’swhile restoring a classic car. Dana came up with the idea of making a handbag for Melanie using the car’s leftover seatbelts, and today the company sells a variety of fashionable accessories. 

Bonus stocking stuffer idea: Clean up your dog’s, um, mess with Poop Bags, which are made from plant-based materials and are commercially compostable.

Blast from the past: Looking for a safe and eco-friendly gift for your little one? Green Toys made our 2013 guide and remain a great option for kids. 


Vortic Watch Co.

Watches were regularly Made in America up until the mid-20th century, and many of those pieces are still ticking today. Enter the Vortic Watch Co., which salvages vintage pocket watches and transforms them into heirloom-quality pieces.

Connecticut: Comedian Jay Leno is a fan of toolmaker Chapman Manufacturing, which creates all of its products from American-made materials. The company’s Model 5575 56-piece Master Screwdriver Set makes a great gift.

Delaware: Hockessin’s Creations Gallery offers unique American-made handcrafted gifts, furniture and more for home and office. Don’t live in the First State? Check out the store’s online catalog.

Florida: The Today Show, New York Magazine and Style network have all featured products from Abella Skin Care. Dr. Eliana Belmonte, who founded the company in 1999, recommends the ColorShade SPF 35 sunscreen, which offers broad spectrum protection, is paba-free and is available in four shades to compliment any skin type.

Georgia: Children’s clothing manufacturer The Bailey Boys creates everything from T-shirts to heirloom-quality special occasion pieces at its 22,000-square-foot facility in Baxley. Find a retailer near you.

Hawaii: The Aloha State is well-known for surfing, and for 25 years, Kazuma has been manufacturing surfboards at its factory in Haiku. The company also takes custom online orders for those who can’t make it to the island.

Idaho: Blacksmith Hoyt Buck wanted to find a way to temper steel to hold an edge longer. His approach helped create Buck Knives, which manufacturers its outdoor knives in the Gem State and is officially licensed by the Boy Scouts of America.


Dearborn Denim

While most major denim manufacturing has moved overseas, Dearborn Denim makes its products at its workshop in Chicago, using cotton sourced from Texas. The jeans are affordable, too, priced at $45 a pair.

Bonus Member of Congress pick: Still excited that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series? Check out the baseball bats sold by Ridgway-based Dinger Bats, recommended by Rep. John Shimkus and used by a slew of Major League players.

Indiana: Looking for a custom case for your smartphone? Elkhart-based Carved creates elegant wood cases in a 100-year-old renovated dress factory. The company’s cases have been featured in publications like Esquire, Gizmodo and Cnet.

Iowa: Any new parent will tell you a baby monitor is a must-have for the nursery, but it can be tough to effectively mount one on the wall. Enter new dad Gerald Beranek, who created a handy monitor shelf called the VuSee to solve this problem. The VuSee led Beranek to start BeraTek Industries, which now makes a range of products.

Bonus stocking stuffer idea: A reader calls the hand-made items created by Kaleidoscopes to You “absolutely brilliant.”

Kansas: Bob Werts launched Waxman Candles in 1969 after ordering a $5 hobby kit from a local community college. Based in Lawrence, the company also has a location in Chicago.

Bonus stocking stuffer idea: Simone Chickenbone makes eco-friendly health and beauty products like Chicken Poop Lip Junk, which can be found at retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Tractor Supply Company. 


Polly Singer

The Kentucky Derby is still months away, but get ready now by ordering a signature item from Polly Singer. The company also makes hats for brides, parties and gala events.

Louisiana: Artist Mignon Faget launched her namesake jewelry company to capture the spirit of her hometown of New Orleans, and her pieces often draw inspiration from the city’s natural and architectural forms.

Maine: Since 1912, L.L. Bean has made its beloved Original L.L. Bean Boot in the Pine Tree State. While the retailer doesn’t make all of its products in Maine, its trademark boots, along with socks and a handful of other items, are still Maine-made.

Bonus gift idea: Stay warm this winter with scarves, jackets, pullovers and more from American Roots, which we profiled earlier this year.

Maryland: Carlos Santana, Dave Navarro and Neal Schon are among the artists who have partnered with Paul Reed Smith Guitars, which manufactures high-quality instruments at its factory in Stevensville. 

Massachusetts: Looking for a festive holiday card this season? Dalton-based Crane & Co. offers a range of elegant cards and stationary to celebrate the season (or any upcoming occasion).

Michigan: Ironwood-based Stormy Kromer is named after its founder George “Stormy” Kromer, a locomotive worker who lost his cap at work one day in 1903 and asked his wife, Ida, to stitch a new one. Soon, Stormy Kromer’s fellow engineers wanted a cap of their own, and the Kromers opened up their own store. Today, the company makes a variety of cold weather gear.


Oh Baby!

Boutique owner Mary Lauer designs, crafts and produces Oh Baby! Line of infant clothes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Every item, from rompers to bibs and receiving blankets, is machine washable.

Bonus staff pick: AAM’s Jennifer Drudge recommends Faribault Woolen Mill Co., which has been manufacturing blankets, throws, scarves and other accessories for nearly 150 years. The company uses century-old machinery in its “new” mill, which was built in 1892.

Mississippi: The four Woods brothers — Peter, Joseph, Arthur and Sandy — pooled their money in 1998 to open up a pottery on Fortune Avenue in Mound Bayou. Today, Peter’s Pottery sells bowls, candlesticks, tableware, vases and other specialty items.

Bonus Member of Congress pick: Rep. Gregg Harper recommends the Mississippi Gift Company, which offers a range of Mississippi-made items.

Missouri: The bottle openers manufactured by Snake Bite Co. are among the classiest we’ve seen, including the Original Snake Bite, which is manufactured from American-made stainless steel, wrapped in leather and easily attaches to a key ring.

Bonus stocking stuffer idea: Kansas City’s Indigo Wild makes a variety of natural products, including Zum Bar Goat’s Milk Soap.

Montana: Missoula’s Rukavina Guitars makes custom electrics and lap steels, and also does repair work.

Blast from the past: We included Red Oxx’s award-winning Safari-Beanos Bag on our 2014 list, and it remains a great option if you are looking for a piece of durable carry-on luggage.

Nebraska: Fresh garlic adds flavor to nearly any dish, but peeling it can be tough. Enter the JellyDish Garlic Peeler, a helpful kitchen gadget that simplifies the process  — and the skins stay in the dish, making cleanup easy, too.

Nevada: Carson City’s Ribbed Tee specializes in men’s undershirts that are designed to hold up in the wash, lay flat and not bunch around the waistline or arms. The company also sells other types of T-shirts and apparel. 

New Hampshire: 

Bailey Works

The original messenger bag produced by Bailey Works in 1993 is now a classic, but the Newmarket company also sells a range of professional and casual bags that are built to last.

New Jersey: You can find Welch’s Fruit Snacks in most major grocery stores, but did you know the treats are manufactured in the Garden State by Promotion in Motion Inc.? The company also makes Sun-Maid raisins and other products.

New Mexico: Betty Tsosie created Tewa Tees to showcase Native American art from various tribes and regions throughout the United States. The company has created custom T-shirts and totes for a variety of organizations, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

New York: Don’t forget about your four-legged friends this year! Milk-Bone manufactures its signature line of dog biscuits and other treats at its plant in Buffalo.

North Carolina: Golfers Nick Price and Vijay Singh are among the top players who have used clubs designed by Bobby Price, and his company Bobby Grace Putters offers a variety of products for the golfer in your life. 

Bonus stocking stuffer idea: Whispering Willow sells sustainable, natural goods like bar soap, candles, hair care and moisturizers.

North Dakota: If you are seeking something truly unique, check out Buffalo Gals Mercantile, which sells truly one-of-a-kind items often repurposed from materials like vintage seed sacks. The Original SakHats are the company’s trademark item, and no two are exactly the same.

Ohio: Looking for an engagement ring this year? White House Brothers makes Filigree-Designed rings that are designed to look old-fashioned and romantic — and are built to last.

Bonus Member of Congress pick: Vitamix made our 2014 guide, and Rep. Jim Renacci offers the popular line of blenders as his recommendation this year.


Ashton Kelly

Ashton Kelly Candles are billed as the strongest you will ever burn. They are hand poured, triple fragranced and use high grade wax.

Blast from the past: Denim is always in style — and Round House, which made our 2014 guide, is a go-to supplier for jeans and overalls for the entire family. Fun fact: The company launched in 1903, four years before Oklahoma became a state.

Oregon: Combine function and fashion with a tote from July Nine, which sells a variety of bags, totes and packs in vibrant colors.

Bonus stocking stuffer idea: Control all those electric appliance cords behind the TV with the Aunt Wanda from Goofy Products.

Pennsylvania: When most cookware manufacturing headed overseas, All-Clad continued to manufacture many of its products at its mill in Canonsburg, including its popular All-Clad Stainless line. 

Bonus staff pick: AAM’s Mark Musho recommends the kid-friendly products from Crayola, the company most famous for its crayons. Crayola began making slate school pencils at its mill in Easton in 1900, and premiered its first box of eight crayons in 1903.

Rhode Island: Get a jumpstart on your New Year’s fitness resolution with an exercise machine from WaterRower. The equipment is functional and can be stored in an upright position no wider than a dining room chair, so it won’t clutter the room.

South Carolina: Dress up that suit with a bow tie from R. Hanauer, which also sells neckties, pocket squares, cummerbund sets and belts. 

South Dakota: Visitors to Watertown can check out The Redlin Art Center, a collection of the oil paintings and prints of artist Terry Redlin. But the center also sells a number of official prints, canvas reproductions and linen design art.

Tennessee: Nashville-based company The Lamp Store creates one-of-a-kind lighting that is sure to add a little bit of style to any room. Most of the company’s lamps sell for under $100.


Mizzen + Main

NFL star J.J. Watt is among the celebs who rock Mizzen + Mainwhich manufactures fashionable sportswear with function in mind. The clothes are machine-washable, wrinkle resistant and designed to handle the Texas heat. Complete your outfit with an item from Texas Hatters, the Lockhart-based company whose cowboy hats have been spotted on a slew of celebs, including former President Ronald Reagan, Willie Nelson and Chuck Norris.

Utah: Elevate your game with Gravity Dice, which are designed using advanced 3D modeling and simulation to have a perfect center of gravity. 

Vermont: Get comfortable with a button down, pair of PJs or blanket from The Vermont Flannel Company, which has made its products in East Barre for more than 20 years.

Virginia: Collared Greens sells a wide variety of men’s clothing and accessories with a bit of Southern flair, and its products are made throughout the United States, from sunglasses in Wyoming to button-down shirts in Philadelphia. But its stitched and silk belts are both Made in Virginia, and its flagship store is located in Richmond.

Washington: Seattle’s R+E Cycles has created high-quality custom bicycles since 1973 and sells its tailor-made Rodriguez and Erickson brands almost exclusively. Although the shop is a Seattle institution, about half its sales come from online orders. 

Bonus Member of Congress pick: Looking to do some home remodeling this holiday season? Rep. Denny Heck recommends Bellmont Cabinet Co., a family-owned cabinet manufacturer that sells its products across the United States.

West Virginia: The Marble King manufactures over a million marbles every day at its factory in Paden County. The company makes industrial marbles for things like filtration systems, but also sells the traditional marbles for gaming and decorative displays.


Housekeeper Crockery

There’s a lot of manufacturing happening in the Badger State, including when it comes to cookware. We’ve profiled Housekeeper Crockery before, and the company’s 8” cast iron skillet makes for a nice gift. Another option is Tramontina USAwhich is based in Texas but manufactures many of its aluminum cookware in Manitowoc.

Gift wrapping ideaTop your presents with a bow from Cream City Ribbon, located in Milwaukee.

Bonus staff pick: AAM’s Meghan Hasse recommends baby bottles and other products from the Life Factory. Created by an integrative designer and a pediatric feeding specialist, the innovative glassware is designed to be functional, reusable, safe and eco-friendly.

Wyoming: Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate a gift from Meeteetse Chocolatier, which uses organic ingredients to create its line of artisan chocolates. It is committed to eco-friendly methods and aims to become a zero-waste business.


Ugly Christmas Sweaters Part II

This is my second blog entry on the subject of Ugly Christmas Sweaters. The first edition called “In Search of the Perfect Ugly Christmas Sweater was in 2013, Back then, “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” were just becoming popular. It was fun to find sweaters that had been made earnestly, but, which, also, happened to be ugly. Ah, those were the days. You would go into a Sears or Penney’s and you could spend hours looking through all of their Christmas-wear and sweaters. And suddenly, when you had given up all hope, there in the corner, just looking so plainly pitiful was that perfect-terribly-ugly Christmas sweater. The actual hunt for the sweaters was the most enjoyable part. The trip to the stores were like a treasure hunt, but also, it was like your own little inside joke.

Today, things are different. Ugly Christmas Sweater parties are everywhere. They even have special work days to wear your Ugly Christmas Sweaters. And it is so easy to find these horrible-looking sweaters, one can easily go to a store’s website, and under “Search” type in “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” and Voila!, a clear and pungent display of mismatched colored Ugly Sweaters will come up to astound your eyes and dizzy your senses. Ugly Christmas sweaters have now become so popular that within the stores of Macys, there are actual signs advertising “Ugly Sweaters”. However, it is not entirely clear whether these sweaters are now made ugly on purpose or they label them “Ugly”once they receive the shipment.

ugly-christExamples of Bad Christmas Wear

It is one thing to get noticed by wearing a gaudy Christmas sweater, but just imagine the looks you will receive and the comments that you will hear when you wear this Christmas suit.

Ugly Christmas Suit -MACYS

Ugly Christmas Suit -MACYS

We have all seen the ugly sweaters proudly displaying ugly reindeer and snowman, but how about if we mix in the unseemly mix of commercialism and money with the unthinkable concept of putting the picture of the holy and saintly Nicholas on the bill? Now that is in bad taste. (But probably not done on purpose as far as going for bad taste.)

Santa Bills Turtleneck - Macys

Santa Bills Turtleneck – Macys

This is an example of the more recent classic concept of the ugly sweater: A snowman with its parts in unusual places and a pun of near swearing.

Oh Snow - JC Penney

Oh Snow – JC Penney

Another recent popular concept of the ugly sweaters: One takes a loud colorful sweater and then adds a modern animated character on the front of the sweater. It could be Spiderman, Dead Pool, Darth Vader, Yoda, and, in this case, a minion.

It Could Be Worse

It Could Be Worse

Another classic ugly sweater, instead of a snowman, it is a gingerbread man cookie. This is very much like a scene from Shrek.

Gingerbread Oh Snap

Gingerbread Oh Snap

This is another popular genre of the Ugly Christmas shirt: it is called the pun. Like Meowy Christmas, this one is a variation of the Spanish saying of Merry Christmas: Feliz Navidad.

Fleece Navidad

Fleece Navidad

This example is more like the classic, older Ugly Christmas Sweater. Some designer thought that a certain design would be cute, but, instead, it is hideous and laughable like this hybrid Santa-Reindeer-Man.

Reindeer Sweater

Reindeer Sweater

A more recent version of the Ugly Sweater are the drawn on additives: buttons, belts, collars and the accessories: in this case a bottle of beer.

St. Nicks Chill Ale

St. Nicks Chill Ale

So, don’t be unstylish, find your perfect ugly Christmas sweater today. Sorry, almost all are made in China.


Mike Rowe: ‘Dirty Jobs’ Talks on Meet The Press

Mike Rowe, former host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” joined the round table to discuss the value of work. Today on the Meet the Press December 11, 2016. Mike Rowe discusses the problems with today’s U.S. workforce and how we Both private and public sector) have not met the needs of millions of U.S. citizens who still want to work. Click on the link to see the interview (6 minutes and 54 seconds)

Source: Mike Rowe: ‘Dirty Jobs’ Reached Same People as Trump’s Campaign – NBC News


June 2017
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