Posted November 01, 2012
Photo credit: 3x1.us
We love a good factory tour. Having documented craftsmen ourselves and posted several other factory tours in the past, we were excited to uncover this video from 3x1, a very different kind of denim company.
Founded by boutique-denim pioneer, Scott Morrison, the 3x1 brand builds on his previous work as a co-founder of Paper Denim & Cloth and Ernest Sewn. The Soho storefront is home to a custom denim facility where they sew each piece in their line. Returning manufacturing to the neighborhood allows for quite literal transparency for the customer - the production line of single-needle seeing machines are only separated from the showroom floor by a wall of glass.
The 3x1 catalog offers a dozen styles for women and four for men. And with 170 different denim fabrics and a wide range of hardware available, their bespoke denim service allows for almost limitless customization. And for selvedge denim fans who've struggled with caring for their jeans, 3x1 has bottled a custom denim solution for those intermittent washes.
Like the rest of Lower Manhattan, they're surely closed today. But if you're interested in both supporting American manufacturing and helping New York's small businesses get back to work, check out what 3x1 has to offer.
3x1: A First Look from 3x1 on Vimeo.
Posted June 20, 2012
Photo credit: Exeter Foundry
Get ready for The Cupola, our recurring feature that shines a light on the world of American manufacturing:
1) We love factory tours; there’s nothing quite like a behind-the-scenes peek at how things are made to give you an appreciation for the finished product. However, as this article by Sarah Park of Matador Network demonstrates, not all factory tours are created equal. Pet caskets anyone?
2) In 1991, Pulitzer Prize—winning journalists Donald Bartlett and James Steel wrote a series of articles called, "America: What Went Wrong." They are currently revisiting this seminal work in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. One of the most fascinating features is an interactive map showing yearly state-by-state shifts in manufacturing since 1971.
3) Quirky is an online product development company based in New York, New York, that creates and sells consumer products from user-submitted ideas, and pays the user/inventor royalties if the product gets made. This article in USA Today talks about the upcoming release of the first of their products to be made in America, and the reasons behind their decision to manufacture it here.
4) This column by Jon Yates in the Chicago Tribune demonstrates why Made in America is more than just a label. Understanding the story behind a product is both interesting and the only way you can be assured of getting what is advertised.
5) If you live in San Francisco, California, you might be interested to know that the first ever UNIQUE SF is happening on June 30 & July 1. Read our recap of UNIQUE LA for an overview of the show.
That’s all for this edition of The Cupola. Leave a comment or send us an email to let us know what you think about these topics, or to let us know what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
Posted June 12, 2012
You may not believe it, but Dad has great style. It’s true. Just take a look through some old photos, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. He knows that the key to great style is all about details, quality, and confidence. Below are our picks for some of the finest American-made products around to help bring out some of Dad’s personal style:
1) A tie for Father’s Day may seem cliché, but Forage brings something fresh to the equation. Handcrafted in Brooklyn, New York, each necktie is available in limited quantities and has an inspirational saying hand sewn into it.
2) Put to rest any jokes about “Dad Jeans” with a pair of denim from Taylor Stitch. Handmade in San Francisco, California, these are clean, simple, and classic; in other words, they’re true “Man Jeans.”
3) This blue seersucker gingham shirt from Read’s Clothing Project is a classic look that supports a great cause. Not only is it made in the USA, the company donates a book to a child in need for each shirt sold.
4) Like Dad, this belt from Wood & Faulk only gets better with age. Crafted by hand in Portland, Oregon, from heavy vegetable-tanned hide, each belt is cut to size upon ordering.
5) Distinctly American, with roots back to 1863, The Frye Company has been making some of the best-looking, hardest-working shoes around. This Brogue Boot is proudly made in the USA and complements a variety of personal styles.
View our Dapper Dad Pinterest board for more inspiration to ensure Dad’s well turned out for any occasion.
Posted June 06, 2012
Photo credit: OK Foundry
It’s time again for The Cupola, our periodic feature that shines a light on some recent stories that may have passed you by:
1) According to this report from All Things Considered, US exports are up more than 30% over the past two years. There’s lots of data behind the numbers, but this trend should generally be considered a positive.
2) As it turns out, rising demand for Made in USA worldwide isn’t restricted to products. This note from MSN shows a surprising growth in a rather specialized industry.
3) Just when you thought that the Industrial Revolution won, according to this article on NPR, it turns out that Blacksmithing is having something of a renaissance.
4) For over a century, seed, tractor, and other types of agricultural companies distributed promotional memo books to American Farmers. Field Notes co-founder Aaron Draplin talks about how the company owes its existence to this practice.
5) Earlier this spring the New York City Municipal Archives released a database of close to 900,000 images of the city from the entire 20th century. Whether you’re a New Yorker, love to visit New York, or even if you’ve never been, this collection is a fascinating look behind the scenes of one of America’s finest cities. While you may not have time to look at all 900,000 images, The Atlantic has an overview of some of the most arresting images.
That’s it for this edition of The Cupola. Share your stories about what’s going on in American manufacturing and crafting with us in the comment section, or send us an email.
Posted May 23, 2012
Photo credit: OK Foundry / Library of Virginia
a. a light structure on a dome or roof, serving as a belfry, lantern, or belvedere.
b. a dome, especially one covering a circular or polygonal area.
2. any of various domelike structures.
3. Metallurgy. a vertical furnace for melting iron to be cast.
Welcome to The Cupola, a periodic feature where we take a moment to shine a light on stories that we think are important, interesting, and worth your attention:
1) To follow up on our earlier feature on the Bottlehook Kickstarter from Corter Leather, the project ended up over 2,600% funded. If you’re interested in learning more about crowd funding, Felix Salmon of Reuters has an intriguing article about some of the challenges ahead.
2) Outlier Co-Founder Abe Burmeister gave an inspiring talk at the PSKF Conference in New York. To us, there were two key takeaways: 1) sometimes the only way to get something done is to do it yourself, and 2) not knowing enough to know something is impossible is crucial to actually making it happen.
3) If you’re not familiar with the Maker Faire, think Science Fair crossed with MythBusters crossed with well…just go take a look. Techhive has a great recap with lots of photos.
4) Made by Hand is creating a series of short films focused on the handmade movement and the stories of the people involved. Each is worth watching, but we particularly recommend The Knife Maker.
5) San Francisco Mayor, Ed Lee, gave a keynote address during SFMade Week and outlined a plan to support the growth of local manufacturing. Great words, and we’re looking forward to the follow through.
That’s it for this edition of The Cupola. We’re always on the lookout for more stories about what’s going on in American manufacturing and crafting. Share your stories with us in the comment section, or send us an email.
Posted May 15, 2012
In New York this morning Mayor Bloomberg's office announced the launch of a new initiative, the Made in NY Digital Map, as part of Internet Week New York. Co-sponsored by the City of New York and Yahoo!, Internet Week is a series of speeches, panels and demonstrations designed to highlight New York City's emergence as a hub of technology innovation and companies.
Looking at the schedule of events, IWNY is mostly an opportunity for brands to burnish either their tech-friendly or NYC-friendly images. However, the Made in NY Digital Map is a well-designed, seriously useful tool for citizens and companies both. More than 400 companies are currently listed and of those a whopping 324 are hiring. It's worth a look whether you're a New Yorker or not, as it's an inspiring example of local government and local business working together well.
In our exploration of great, local businesses we've come across some other examples of local government and non-profits helping small businesses thrive.
Here in our hometown SF Made just wrapped up SF Made Week, a celebration of local brands who manufacture products in the City of San Francisco. SF Made itself is a two-year-old non-profit focused on growing the city's economic base by providing support to the city's manufacturing sector. Because more successful businesses means more jobs.
The Seattle Good Business Network is a non-profit partnership of businesses and residents focused on advocating the value of shopping locally. While the economic and environmental impact of eating locally has been well established - particularly on the West Coast - shopping with a community-minded focus is a less familiar goal, and the Seattle Good Business Network is working to change that. Check out their list of the top ten reasons to buy locally - these apply not just to Seattle but to any community.
Is there an organization in your community doing similar work? Let us know. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. In addition to offering coverage of the brands and the people making interesting products in our communities, we want to meet the people who support the brands, from local advocacy groups to individual customers.
Posted April 28, 2012
Photo credit: Jennifer Causey
Good design feels more meaningful the deeper its roots run.
In the case of Stanley & Sons Apron and Bag Company, the legacy of craftsmanship stretches back to founder Chris Grodzki's grandfather. Drawing inspiration across generations in both aesthetic and craftsmanship, the Stanley & Sons line is a tightly focused collection that stokes the creative fires within us.
But whether your reverie is one of loading up a waxed canvas tote with hand tools to help a neighbor or cinching the ties of the leather lap apron behind you to man the belt sander, be patient. Each Stanley & Sons piece is made to order and made with a nod to traditional methods. Rugged, classic materials such as waxed canvas duck cloth and Cone Mills denim are hemmed by vintage Singer single-needle machines and detailed with kick-pressed rivets backed by leather washers.
These aprons and bags will forgive a heavy measure of abuse over their lifetime (a lifetime that just might exceed yours). It stands to reason that their construction would be an unforgiving process.
Visit Stanley & Sons' recently redesigned web site to see the entire collection. And while you're waiting the 4-6 weeks to receive your made-to-order piece, admire The Makers photo series shot by Jennifer Causey in Stanley & Sons' New York studio.