Customer demand was another factor. About half the company's sales are overseas, and those customers wanted to buy CaliBowls that were actually made in California. "Our customers in Korea, Canada and even China wanted U.S.-made products," says Stump. "The Made-in-America brand has real value overseas."
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Manufacturing domestically also made sense for the green-friendly image of the CaliBowl itself. (The bowls are made from 100% recycled polypropelene and are packaged using 100% recycled materials). Add in the founders' belief that they could make a small, but meaningful, impact on the U.S. economy, and the decision was made.
Shifting to a manufacturer in Northern California and packaging company in Sacramento did have a financial impact. Stump estimates that profit margins dipped by about 5% to 10%. But he says the company has benefitted enormously in other ways.
"Yes, there were some concerns initially," he says. "But we're a small business growing into a medium-sized business. In order to execute, we knew we had to do this." Since making the switch, sales have gone up steadily month to month. "So far, we've created a total 15 jobs in the U.S. just in manufacturing, and we expect to add a few more each month," says Stump. "That's in addition to jobs at the packaging company, jobs for drivers to deliver the product -- it's a domino effect."
From a marketing standpoint, the move to the U.S. has clearly paid off. "We've gotten a lot of attention," says Stump. "We've had offers from chefs who want to work with us. We can hardly keep up with the opportunities that are being offered."
Companies that follow Simple Wave's example will most likely benefit from similar public goodwill. For help in assessing whether it makes sense to reshore, the Web site of the non-profit Reshoring Initiative has a number of useful resources. The Total Cost of Ownership Estimator, for example, allows companies to make sourcing decisions based on factors beyond price alone.
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For now, the reshoring movement is just getting going. But success stories like the CaliBowl have shown that there is strong demand for consumer products made in America -- and not just from Americans.