This blacksmith turned his horse-shoeing skills into a tool-making business. Traditional methods with hammer and anvil are the only way to get this beautiful style of handcrafted garden tools.
Handmade the blacksmith way
A surprising combination of business, city government, schools, and one dedicated machinist named Byron. We’re proud to contribute to a new pile of tools!
Several new manufacturers have joined the network, lots of product being added as I type. The pic below is a sneak preview if the work of another fascinating craftsman.
What’s not coming? Items made in China. Major bummer today when we learned a manufacturer we were in conversation with (that has adorable products) gets some pieces made in China. Part of our due diligence in serving American consumers is to give them the certainty that what they buy is made in the USA. Not just the final assembly, but the design, the fabrication, the whole of the product. We believe the value of the product should be put into its components and its production… not in ocean transportation.
East meets West in this proper Adirondack chair with your choice of Eastern Red or Western Red Cedar. This American craftsman makes the classic contour available in size adjustments to suit your needs: Short, Wide, Tall or 2-person (Loveseat) and either stationary, rocking, gliding, or folding.
Newest addition are these amazing, artful bourbon barrel chairs. Reclaiming, refinishing, up-cycling the leftover oak barrel staves from wine or whisky production, artists Gustaf Rooth (Jr. and Sr.) deliver a collector-level chair. The ottomans absolutely slide in harmony with the chair. A bench, an end table, and a bar stool and table complete the collection, all stamped and numbered (on metal from the original barrel hoops) in their limited production.
The search for products that amaze leads to the discovery of fascinating designers, manufacturers, and master craftsmen. Our latest find is a bag manufacturer in San Francisco that is jaw-droppingly cool. In fact we’re momentarily infatuated with their website, call it a business-crush, as they have :
Always fun when you find and inspiring manufacturer with useful products. Now the search continues!
Exciting times at AllenBooth, with furniture being built for some hush-hush high-profile clients. And today we began the site redesign process, working to get the look and feel of the site to reflect the unifying theme of all our manufacturers – craftsmanship.
The redesign may take a few weeks, but we hope it accurately reflects all the fascinating small manufacturers and craftsmen we have been meeting and the new products we’ve been photographing.
The Nexus Q is a media product recently unveiled by Google. I’m not here to go into its pros and cons, I have plenty of ways to watch media, and I am very unlikely to get one. Most fascinating is a Reuters article about Google’s decision to make that product locally. Particularly in the mass consumer technology market, production has for decades gone to Asia, where low worker wages conferred an economic benefit.
Looks like a digital bowling ball
Now we are experiencing more “reshoring”, jobs coming back from offshore to the U.S. Rather than caused by demand from consumers for Made in the USA, Google and companies in similar positions choose manufacturing in the States for reasons of competitive advantage. In particular, rapid design iterations favor local production. Cultural and communication barriers that require time to navigate can be avoided, as well as the transit times for products across the Pacific. Additionally, keeping intellectual property close to home makes it less likely to be copied. With good cause to set up shop in the U.S., let’s hope the trend continues.
Benefits to local manufacturing
- Rapid design change available
- Fewer communication barriers
- Shorter transit time
- Better protection of Intellectual property
The return of American competitiveness to consumer-technology goods is welcomed by a manufacturing industry that still thrives, albeit in altered form from its 20th century heyday. American manufacturers continue to innovate and to be the most efficient producers in the world. The U.S. still makes more of the world’s goods than any other country, though several years ago China surpassed the U.S. in the export of manufactured goods. Even as the global marketplace shifts while more countries raise their standard of living, American manufacturers are repositioning themselves to again offer the highest quality products at competitive prices. As newly rich consumers try keeping up with the Huangs, America should have its goods ready to offer not just to our own citizens but competitive for demand anywhere in the world.
A fancy PR firm uses six steps to take clients to the stratosphere. Their price tag starts in outer space too, so we’ll just stick to the one-on-one relationships with our clients in search of fascinating items. But it can’t hurt to use their steps to make sure we’re on track.
Workshops – Sorting things out. Meet each other. “Would you like some coffee?” “No let’s just talk business.” Ask a bunch of questions so the firm gets to know your business. We’re going to apply this step to our purposes by creating a survey to give our existing customers. What do you think about this or that? What would you like to see done better?
Architecture – Structure. Blueprint. How is your company arranged? Do customers get a person on the phone or a series of “press 2 for forever”s? Can anyone get the president on the phone? A good business architecture aligns the company’s goals with the tactical reality of getting things done. Maybe we could use a fancier architecture, for now it’s pretty simple. Find fascinating products. Take pictures. Answer customer questions. Deliver product and make sure customer is happy. Everything else is tasks to get these simple steps accomplished.
Positioning – Where do you want to be in the marketplace? What kind of image do you want consumers to have of your company? For us it’s clear, although it’s taken awhile to get that way: AllenBooth features independent manufacturers which fuel a vibrant economy.
Personality – Fun. Serious. Ultra-Professional. Totally Casual. What mood do you want to take in interacting with your customers? This isn’t brain surgery, so we don’t need to be unnecessarily serious. Yet many of the items we sell cost thousands of dollars, so customers need to feel comfortable that their goods are in professional hands. The positive and enjoyable personality we try to cultivate is that we’re people, you’re people, let’s treat each other with respond and engage in a transaction that we’d both like to repeat again.
Creatives – Marketing materials. Photos, pictures, images – that’s part of our creed. Provide people with large images of fascinating items that make shopping online as close as possible to visiting the factory. Mailers, taglines, and tv commercials all fall under the creatives category too, but for now our sole focus is on providing photos of every product from every angle.
Timeline – Ok let’s get to it. Create a list of tasks, then get to work!