Not in mybackyard. There simply can’t be folks making lighting products on U.S. soil in 2008. That’s crazy talk.
Sorry for the sarcasm, but the “Made in the U.S.A.” label is such a rarity in our industry these days, it almost feels relegated to a punchline. So, I thought it would be high time, not to mention a fascinating enterprise, to stop and smell those roses. A diverse assortment of intrepid lighting manufacturers do indeed produce their designs in America, and as they have become something of a specialty niche, we asked a random sampling to share their individual stories with us. In our “American Beauties” feature, Associate Editor Jennifer Pinto reveals the what, how and why behind these domestic holdouts.
This story—and the enthusiasm behind it—should in no way be interpreted as a condemnation of imports or overseas manufacturing. We fully recognize the necessity, and even the benefits, of our industry’s collective turn toward assets beyond our borders. But it’s that near-total conversion that makes those who choose to go against the grain stand out, demand notice and command intrigue.
It’s not that we see them as heroic patriots, bucking the almighty dollar to champion a higher purpose. Yes, they make us proud, but they don’t make us turn up our noses to mass-produced goods. Their work is not for the mainstream and, therefore, is not what buoys and boosts our business. But their tales of toil and inspiration lend their work a special distinction—individuality and exclusivity in a culture that wars between mass production and personalization, profit and purpose.
Their motivations are myriad, from quality control and custom flexibility to the pride of handcraftsmanship and the support of local resources. But all bring their particular cachet to your showroom. Our feature only just scratches the surface of this talent pool. However, I hope that it encourages you to discover a story or two that you would like to share with your clientele. Not only does it prove that our country is vast and rich in its diversity, but that our industry is, too.