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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Red Ants Pants founder Sarah Calhoun on why Made in America matters.

Editor's Note: AAM's Jeff Bonior profiled Red Ants Pants and its founder, Sarah Calhoun, back in January 2016. The Montana rancher launched her clothing company in 2006 after growing tired of being forced to wear workpants that didn't fit; most were cut from men's jeans that didn't reflect her body shape.

The company has manufactured its comfortable-yet-durable line of women's workwear in the United States since its founding. Along the way, Red Ants Pants has earned acclaim from The New York Times, MSNBC and even the Obama White House. In the piece below, Calhoun reflects on why she thinks it is so important to make her product line in America.


In a time of uncertain economies, I can’t help but think about how we as Americans can take more control into our own hands. 

Hard work, fine craftsmanship, and innovation were some of the values this nation was built upon. In recent decades, we are seeing more and more manufacturers outsource production overseas. This move is typically driven by profit margins.

Keeping our manufacturing on U.S. soil not only creates jobs and strengthens our business relationships and local economies, but it does something else that may be even more important.

It helps build pride. Pride in our work and in our craftsmanship, pride in our working neighborhoods, and pride in ourselves.

Manufacturing helped build this nation in our early years, and building pride in America is something that could perhaps help to unify this nation today.

Perhaps nowhere else can our dollars have a multiplying effect like they do when we support made in America manufacturing. Estimates show that every dollar invested in U.S. manufacturing generates $1.81 in economic activity.

In other words, when you purchase goods Made in the U.S.A., each dollar nearly doubles the investment into the American economy. One manufacturing employee is estimated to support 3.4 jobs in other sectors. In addition, it’s estimated that every $1 in value-added output in manufacturing has a net $3.60 added economic impact. American manufacturing kicked out $5.3 trillion in goods last year alone contributing to more of the nation’s economic output than mining, construction and transportation combined.

Some days I wonder if I were truly cut out for capitalism as I don’t like pushing products.  But when we can weave values into our products, and pride into our communities, then heck yeah, I’m a capitalist. 

It’s the American Dream after all.

We have choices with every dollar we spend. Our money speaks. 

This holiday season, let’s hear it for pride in American Made. 

For American-made holiday gift ideas, check out the 2017 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide.