Guest post by Sue Garrison of KB-Resource.com, a community of designers, showrooms, architects, product developers and design professionals.
In this post, I'd like to share with you an interview with Mark Scott, president of Longleaf Collection, a North Carolina door hardware manufacturer. In this conversation, we had a chance to talk about what separates his U.S.-made goods from foreign-made competitive products.
Mark Scott knows he’s an anomaly in his field. All he has to do is take a trip to a local big-box store, where the shelves are full of foreign-made door hardware, to see how true that is. Yet his company, Longleaf Collection, has made 100% of its hardware products in Aberdeen, N.C., since it began 24 years ago. Longleaf’s product line includes interior and exterior door hardware, such as push or pull entry sets, deadbolts and door knockers; cabinet knobs and pulls; and towel rings and other bathroom accessories.
Q: How do you differentiate your hardware products from foreign-made choices on the market?
Scott: We have high-quality, solid brass hardware that we consider to be affordably priced, comparatively speaking. Our hardware is manufactured in our U.S. factory. Even the components that we use are all U.S. made. Hardware from manufacturers that you find at Home Depot and Lowe’s is typically imported. Ours is made-to-order hardware with custom options. We also collaborate with North Carolina artist Bob Timberlake to make the Millstone Collection. Bob does a lot with U.S. manufacturers. That’s one of his criteria for working with a company actually: They have to make their products in the U.S.
Q: Can you tell us more about your custom options?
Scott: We just introduced the Colorful Personalities campaign. You can select virtually any color that you want on brass, and we can produce that. The neat part about it is: if you have a specific theme or color, and two or three years from now you want to change to another color, you can send it to the factory, and we’ll refinish it for a nominal fee. No other manufacturer is offering this service. How could a factory overseas even do it? Custom engraving is an option, too. We have done the family crest, along with a company logo, for a coffee shop on their pull hardware.
Q: Can you tell us about some custom jobs have you done for customers?
Scott: We recently did a turn-of-century house that has a claw-foot bath. We refinished the feet on the tub to match the bathroom hardware in Antique Nickel. For a doctor in North Carolina, we’re doing all the hardware in Venetian Bronze, and he wants metal railings to match. We can custom finish those items with the hardware. We also just finished a job for homeowners with 3 ½-thick solid mahogany doors that needed special finials for the hinges. We can engineer products for specific projects. We just had a designer bring us a picture of particular pulls she wanted, and we are having those custom made. We were able to scale the cabinet hardware for her to the right dimensions for door pulls. We can make to order within a two-week timeframe. From just a few hundred components, we can make a quarter of a million SKUs. We’re a go-to company.
Longleaf Collection (www.longleafcollection.com) will be showing its wares at both the Spring High Point Market (Suites at Market Square M-6035) in High Point, N.C., April 21-26, and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (booth 738) in Chicago, April 24-26.