Made in America, Whenever Possible - Soapbox Jr.
This is going to be a different soapbox for a change, neither political nor really about dad. Consider this a manifesto of sorts. We take this sort of thing seriously in this organization and have for many years.
Before he passed away, dad made a statement which is a powerful one, “If we need it here, MAKE it here.”
This was largely in response to the pandemic and the overreliance on China for important life-saving items, like pharmaceuticals, which the Chinese Communist Party-run media essentially bragged that the CCP could withhold those critical items and destroy the US. It’s an unsettling thought, and brings to mind Nikita Khrushchev from the old Soviet Union banging his shoe at the UN after having previously made a threat against the West in a speech in the Polish Embassy in Moscow saying, “We are on the right side of history. We will bury you!”
In recent years, we have tried to keep CDB merchandise, at least our website merchandise, Made in the USA.
Here is the unfortunate truth.
It’s not always possible.
There are varying reasons why, cost and availability definitely play a factor.
Some people take it very seriously, and I get that, so do we. But some people will gleefully complain about something not being made in the States from their iPhone or computer which is manufactured in China.
It’s unfortunate that some people don’t see the hypocrisy, or just don’t realize where their higher dollar items are manufactured.
If this were a perfect world, we’d make everything in the U.S. possible, and make it affordable for customers, but it’s not that simple
I’m letting you good folks in on a few secrets about the merchandise business here. First of all, the most obvious reason is costs. When we first started trying to focus more on merchandise made in America, we were surprised at how difficult it was to do that.
Just to let you know, all of our shirts and hats are printed or stitched here in the USA by US-based companies, so almost everything we sell is at least partially made in the U.S.
Basic T-shirts made in the U.S. cost a little bit more than others, but we’ve found a pretty good source in a company called Bayside which has a pretty good assortment of basic tees, the price goes up a little bit because they’re USA made, but for a basic tee, they are solid, but there are still some issues.
We did a design for a Charlie Daniels 60 Years of Making Music tee in 2018, and it was a great-looking shirt, it was a dark heather charcoal, and one of the best-looking designs we have had. What I was not informed of was that the great-looking Bayside tees only went up to size 2X. This was a breakdown from the merchandise company and the printer, and somehow it slipped by until I had some tees pulled for the CDB Volunteers Fan Club Family Reunion, and my 3X and 4X designs were a light gray, and not the heather charcoal, and nobody had informed me of the substitutions.
I’ve run into this size problem before, but it’s usually been before printing, so we’ve adjusted the order after finding a suitable replacement, but the bottom line is this, there are a LOT of companies that don’t make larger sizes in USA made tees. 2X is as large as they go, and as I’ve often said, some of dad’s biggest fans are some of his biggest fans, so we need the larger sizes.
We even made a T-shirt that said “If We Need It Here, Make It Here,” our designer/supplier didn’t have the larger sizes in USA made, so our 3X and 4X tees in that style aren’t USA made. I had hoped to be able to figure out a way to keep them 100% USA, but we couldn’t.
Hats/ball caps are probably one of the biggest issues we face with regard to finding American-made blanks. Getting an affordable hat that is made here is pretty much impossible.
In 2018, we did a series of military-themed hat/baseball cap, and we tried and tried to keep them American made, but the cost on them were astronomical. The hats would have been approximately cost fans over $40 apiece, and we realized that most of our fans were unlikely to pay over $40 for a hat, so we went through company after company to try and find what we were looking for, and the only way we could produce the hats – which also raised money for dad’s charity, The Journey Home Project, was if we went with something other than American made.
These decisions are heartbreaking for a company that wants to support our country and workers, but also has an obligation to keep prices reasonable for our loyal fans.
Women’s shirts are another area where American-made often doesn’t work because of costs. We produced some great-looking women’s tees that were USA-made, but they were probably priced too high for our fans. If we were able to order thousands of tees at a time, we could probably have made it up in price breaks, but we’ve got a fanbase which skews more male than female, so we try to keep our ladies in style as well, but again, American made isn’t easy in this area.
Occasionally we have had collectibles made, and once again, it’s difficult to get custom or specialized collectible items manufactured here.
The bottom line is this, if we can supply our fans with affordable clothing, hats and other collectibles which are made in the USA, we will gladly do so.
If we are unable to for the reasons stated above, only then will we go elsewhere, and we do so begrudgingly.
You have our word.
Dad wouldn’t have had it any other way.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, the peace of Jerusalem and for our nation.
God Bless America!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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