October is National Manufacturing Month and today we share with you a guest post from Toydozer inventor and owner, Amy Bradley. The Toydozer is a set that helps children clean up small toys, such as Legos, blocks, puzzle pieces, etc, off of the floor in just a few swoops. Amy learned through experience just how important American manufacturing is to company owners and factory employees alike. Here is her story.
What does Made in the USA mean to me? Over the past year it has taken on a whole new meaning!
I came up with the Toydozer concept after my son discovered how much fun dumping Legos out all over the floor could be! I knew I had a winner on my hands when I handed my son the prototype and he not only cleaned up all of the Legos in record time, but he actually had FUN doing it!
I soon realized that coming up with a product idea was the easy part- figuring out how, and more importantly, WHERE to have my product made proved to be a little more difficult.
When I first started this project, I was a fairly naïve ‘Momprenuer’ on a mission: to get my invention made, and to get it made as inexpensively as possible. I immediately assumed that this meant manufacturing had to be done overseas. I mean, that's why everyone else does it, right?
Little did I know! When we received our first production run from the overseas manufacturer, it was almost entirely damaged due to poor quality control. This was a HUGE set back financially, as well as with production timing. We were quickly scrambling for a solution to ensure that this wouldn’t happen again. I began looking into having my product made in the United States–although I thought for sure it would be much more expensive.
After checking into several American plastics manufacturers I was shocked to discover that the costs of having Toydozer made in Pennsylvania, right in the state where I actually live, was significantly less expensive than what I was paying for overseas manufacturing!
I quickly sprang into action and moved our production to the plastics manufacturer in Penndel, PA. This was by far the best decision I could have ever made! Not only has it saved me time and money, but it has opened my eyes to the importance of buying American made products. Since the factory is only 20 minutes away, I am able to visit frequently, which allows me to keep an eye on production and even help with assembly.
The factory employees I work alongside of are all women. These mothers and grandmothers are smart, hard working, proud Americans. Many of these women have told me that with so many American companies moving manufacturing overseas, they have often worried about losing their jobs. However, they said, it’s companies like mine who have moved production BACK to the United States, that are ultimately helping to save their jobs.
It's pretty amazing to think that my small company can have such an impact.
Now whenever I buy made in the USA products I am fully aware that not only am I supporting American manufacturing, but I’m actually helping to sustain and even create jobs held by woman, just like me, who are out there working hard to provide for their own families– and that REALLY hits home.