by Shane Cooper
Do you get excited when you see something that is handcrafted in a specific region? It could be wine from French fields, beer from Germany or Belgium, or cotton from North Carolina farms – even the USA-made Levis. I do. I get excited to know that local farms and the local network comes together to fund the economy, affecting so many. Shopping local means boosting your local economy, and providing jobs, supporting and building your community.
With the recent years of Covid devastation on global shipping and supply chains, more and more folks are seeing what advantages local economics can make. Regions become recognized for their quality of locally-made goods.
The long lasting goodness of companies like NC-manufactured DeFeet starts with fair labor, living wages, and respect for the hands that create locally-made products. Companies that choose the best sustainable resources and the best practices of creation end up winning the game. When they win, the entire community wins.
On this day, I was proud to wear a Made-in-USA outfit; the majority made in North Carolina.
My Wrangler jeans are a special edition from their Rooted Collection, made in NC with NC cotton. How cool is that? Even the farm that grew the cotton is printed on the inside pocket. Thanks to Lassiter Family Farm in Conway, NC.
TS Designs made my T-shirt, again with cotton from NC farms. Using a color stitch code, you can trace the origin of the cotton used.
My overshirt is from nearby Kitsbow, made from Pendleton wool flannel and sewn down the road in Old Fort NC, just 30 miles from my home.
My Bison Belt, made in the USA, is still going strong after 15 years of holding up my pants. They've been manufacturing their products in Longmont, Colorado since 1987.
And of course, my socks and underwear - the Woolie Boolie and UnDbrief - are made right here in Hildebran, NC. Our small company provides thirty-five local jobs, and we buy all local yarns and supplies from an 80-mile radius. Repreve provides our recycled yarn and is based in Greensboro, NC, a little over an hour's drive from the DeFeet microsockery. Instead of sourcing New Zealand wool, our Merino wool comes from Shaniko Wool Company in Oregon and is processed in the Carolinas.
"Made local" is not just the chest beating of a proud manufacturer. "Made local" casts an industrial shadow that puts food on the tables of the craftsmen and craftswomen who create the long-lasting goodness. Keeping business local for manufacturing will keep farmers in their fields, packing companies in their offices, and fiber companies in business.