Made in: USA

‘Made in the USA’ has received its fair share of attention lately. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as conversations surrounding domestic manufacturing tend to be more emotionally-charged than discussions about foreign manufacturing partners. With it being an election year, we’ve heard candidates promise up and down to protect American jobs and boost domestic production – talk of job creation and retention has been front and center for several months now. Then of course there was that hiccup with Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats not actually being made in the US.

“The true origin of the fabric in that hat remains a mystery — whether US- or foreign-made and by whom — and a striking example of how difficult and murky it can be to verify something is actually ‘Made in USA.'” –BoF

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. True, Trump’s campaign hats are sewn at a factory in Los Angeles, but that isn’t enough to satisfy the stringent requirements of a ‘Made in USA’ claim. Shinola, the watch company based in Detroit and lauded for its American heritage, came under fire recently for a similar discrepancy.

“But as you can imagine, many of the components and raw materials are simply not available in the U.S. and because of that we are unable to meet the almost unattainable Made in USA standards created by the government.” –WWD

In 2015, watchdog agency Truth In Advertising filed a complaint against Walmart saying over 100 of its products had “Made in USA” labeling errors – leading the FTC to initiate an investigation. The case was closed three months later after Walmart clarified its claims and made more detailed disclosures about the percent of American-made content.

Clearly “attention to detail” needs to be one of your skills if you’re bold enough to make a Made in USA claim. What are these labeling standards, and why are brands struggling to meet them? Continue reading