Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Made in the USA?

  • FromLaurie Menke <laurie_menke@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateSat, 28 Jan 2006 19:30:02 -0800 (PST)
It seems to me, also, that if the US doesn't *want*
your business, then you are not violating your
principles by going out of the country.  You are
simply doing what you need to do to produce your

That said, I have no idea which country would be the
best choice, other than to point out that if Canada
were cheaper, you could perhaps find a "happy medium"
kind of compromise.  You could reduce your costs a
little bit (though not as much as in China, say), and
at the same time encourage local business (since you
are moving to Canada).


--- Kristin Looney <kristin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Ok.  I've got a debate topic for the Icehouse list.
> --On January 26, 2006 Kristin Looney
> <kristin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > > Is it at all possible  to find a cheaper way to
> manufacture the
> > > pyramids without sacrificing your conscience?
> >
> > Yes it is!  I can make the pyramids in the USA -
> it can be done...  I've
> > priced it out, and I can do it...  but to do it,
> we need to make a very
> > expensive high capacity mold...  and if we do
> this, we NEED to be sure we
> > are using said mold to make lots and lots and lots
> of pyramids - or the
> > whole thing makes no sense at all.
> When I wrote this yesterday, I thought I had a plan.
>  I thought I had a way 
> that I could make the numbers work making the
> pyramids here in the US - as 
> long as I was willing to keep making them a while
> longer at really short 
> margins to build up enough demand.
> Then today, I had another long talk with the VP of
> manufacturing from the 
> NJ plastics company that already makes the tubes
> that I thought was my 
> answer to how I was going to do it.  Here are the
> notes I made after the 
> call:
> 2006-01-27 at 03:37pm (kristin) spoke with Bill
> about assembling Treehouse. 
> He doesn't even want to bid on the job, there is no
> way we can afford for 
> him to do it...  after factoring in good salaries
> and vacation and health 
> insurance - he charges $35 per hour for his assembly
> folks time - and 
> counting out these pyramids and putting on these
> little stickers would take 
> LOTS of time.  He told me point blank that the right
> business decision for 
> me would be to just get the product made in China. 
> Wow.
> As most everyone on this list already knows, we have
> been trying very hard 
> NOT to resort to making our pyramids in China. Here
> are past webzines for 
> review:
> But tonight, I am again questioning this decision.
> I just put together purchase orders for all the
> parts that will go into the 
> first run of Treehouse sets. (Pyramids, tubes, dice,
> stickers, cartons, and 
> assembly) Even making a print run that is twice the
> size of what my current 
> cashflow can afford - it will cost me $2 a set.  And
> that's with rock 
> bottom cheap assembly - from a sheltered workshop
> that is subsidized by the 
> government - that does a decidedly crappy job
> packaging the pyramids.  If 
> we are going to greatly increase the volume, I need
> to move the assembly to 
> someplace that can handle it...  and I found out
> today the assembly will 
> likely quadruple in price at a real assembly house.
> Ouch.
> So I'm thinking we need to reconsider the Made in
> the USA question.
> And I would like to make this decision now, not
> later, since if we are 
> planning to keep trying to stick to our principles,
> despite the numbers I'm 
> looking at, we need to price Treehouse at $10, as a
> minimum.  I don't think 
> we can go above $10, but I could probably get away
> with taking it to $10. 
> But if we are going to give up on making future runs
> of these things in the 
> US, I should go ahead and keep the price at $9. 
> It's a better price, and a 
> price I could certainly handle if I made the product
> outside the US.  Maybe 
> Mexico?  Does anyone know if they have any
> environmental controls in 
> Mexico?
> Who wants to try to convince us to stick to our
> principles?
> Who wants to try to convince us that we should
> listen to the numbers, and 
> to everyone who knows anything about plastic
> manufacturing, including this 
> VP of the company that I was trying to give this job
> to in the US?
> You can't say I have not tried...   :(
> -Kristin
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