When we started Apple Pie, the goal was to build the best way to shop for American products. As we went into the process of identifying the categories and leading products therein, we discovered a bunch of noise around what constitutes a product that is “Made in the USA”.
The purpose of this post is to: a) share the policies of the FTC on this topic, b) share our own thinking, and c) gather your thoughts on the matter.
WHAT THE FTC SAYS
In summary, the FTC has two classifications. **These are paraphrase, the actual policy can be found here.
1) An “UNqualified” claim of something being Made in the USA. This means that all (or substantially all) products components must come from the USA, as well as the final assembly of the product must be done in the USA. Example is the kids iPad case from Guided Products.
2) A “qualified” claim is when the final assembly is done within the USA, but a meaningful set of components comes from overseas. An example of this is the well publicized Element TV that is assembled in Detroit, or Apple moving assembly of some if its computers to the USA.
WHAT WE THINK
Here at Apple Pie, we want more manufacturing jobs in the USA. Some manufacturing jobs are skilled, some less so. Some are creating from scratch, some are assembling pieces into a final product. We’ve seen the quality, breadth and availability of made in USA products increase and are excited to bring as many of them to you as possible. So we sell products with both classifications.
We had a dilemma here about one of the down pillows we offered for sale. Pillows aren’t easy to assemble, nor the raw materials easy to gather. All the down comes as a sustainable byproduct of the food industry. The problem was the shell/cover was made in China (and labeled as such), shipped to the US and the assembly work (including a difficult and patented stuffing system that makes the pillow more comfortable) was done in Iowa. In our belief system, this pillow is made in the USA. But because the only visible label (on the shell) said Made in China, we had to pull it.
The land and industry within our borders does not produce every kind of raw material. As a result, a massive amount of products have components and materials that need to come from overseas. When our land can produce the materials (steel as an example), there is often governance and public opinion driving the mining of such materials outside our borders. But we all use steel don’t we?
HIGH VALUE JOBS
We often see high value (and high paying) research, design and innovation jobs kept here on our shores, while moving more labor-intensive, lower paying jobs overseas. Do we want more of both, or just one?
What do you think? Strong opinions one way or the other? Is this a sorting feature you’d like to see as we expand selection, so you can narrow down the most core products?