When you’re on the hunt for furniture, it’s hard to know which retailers prioritize quality. While affordability and style are important, your furniture investment will only go so far if you don’t consider durability and performance. One of the simplest things you can do to ensure that you’re not buying a shoddy product is to purchase American-made furniture from reliable, well-established retailers. Not only will you enjoy the obvious quality advantages, but you’ll also simultaneously be supporting a more eco-friendly, ethical and lively economy.
Here are some more often-overlooked benefits of buying furniture made in America.
- It Bolsters the Economy—As previously mentioned, buying American-made can certainly help encourage a stable, healthy economy. The United States currently has around 12.5 million manufacturing jobs employing 5 percent of the workforce. But things are actually on the decline, with the industry falling to 11.7 percent of the U.S. economic output, compared with 24.3 percent in 1970. Naturally, when companies outsource their manufacturing to other countries, the jobs go with it, leaving whole cities in the dust economically. Thankfully, there has been a revitalization in the realm thanks to new business initiatives and public education, and American manufacturing is slowly bouncing back.
- It’s Environmentally Friendly—When we think about eco-friendly manufacturing, we often think about things like materials, waste and the amount of energy used in production. However, location plays a major role in how much an industry drains certain resources, too. In fact, it can be one of the largest contributors, depending on how far away something is made compared with where it’s marketed and ultimately sold. Why? The biggest reason is because goods made locally require less fuel to transport and therefore emit fewer carbon emissions. On top of that, domestic businesses are typically held to more stringent environmental standards than those in low-cost manufacturing countries.
- You Know It’s Made Ethically—Speaking of standards, you probably already know that certain countries are significantly more lax with regard to labor laws than the United States. Where we have long-standing unions and regulations ensuring that workers have reasonable shifts, fair wages and guaranteed breaks, places where manufacturing tends to be cheaper typically do not. Thus, you can feel good about yourself when you patronize companies that make their furniture in America instead of outsourcing. In some small way, you’re contributing to a better, safer and fairer manufacturing market.
- You Can Usually Get it Faster—Another unexpected benefit of purchasing furniture made stateside is that, because it’s physically closer, you can usually get it faster. While not all furniture companies are particularly concerned with speed—sometimes quality and craftsmanship take precedence, and sometimes it’s worth the wait—you can often find high-quality makers offering quick-ship American furniture that you can get delivered to your home in a matter of weeks. The entire manufacturing process is expedited when everything’s done nearby, so you can expect less waiting around in certain situations.
- Customization is a Given—Non-American furniture brands may beat out some domestic makers in terms of price, partially because their offerings are usually much more limited. When a company outsources its manufacturing elsewhere, it’s less likely to provide any customization options, and we all know that’s one of the most important aspects of furniture-buying. You need a company that offers many different options in terms of upholstery, finishes, sizes and even pillow types. Unfortunately, you just won’t get that same level of customization if you purchase furniture from an overseas manufacturer.
- It’s Often Very Affordable—We won’t deny that there are some major financial benefits to furniture producers who opt to outsource. Those savings are absolutely passed on to the consumer. But we’d also like to take a moment to debunk the myth that American-made automatically means more expensive. That’s simply not true. In fact, without high costs associated with shipping certain materials, there may actually be some cost savings associated with buying furniture made domestically. And, of course, buying for quality is an investment that will undoubtedly outlast the cheaper, shoddier version by a longshot. You may pay less upfront for imported furniture, but in the end, the savings will likely be a wash.
- You’re Supporting a Legacy—In the U.S., there are a few big hotspots for furniture making, including the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, the Pennsylvania Amish country and various other small but significant pockets with long legacies in the sector. When you buy furniture made in these places, you’re supporting an age-old artform and helping to support a place well into the future. Sadly, much of the domestic furniture business has fled, but a revitalization is underway thanks to the many patrons who believe in keeping up regional industry!
- It Comes with Premium Customer Service—Finally, when you make a significant purchase from an American furniture manufacturer, you’ll almost always have access to a dedicated, domestic customer care team that can help walk you through any issues. If you find that the color is off, your delivery is late or that you ordered something by mistake, there’s no jumping through hoops to get things resolved. Help is just a quick phone call away.
The good majority of us prefer to purchase goods made in America because we know that usually means a better product. Indeed, you’re pretty much guaranteed a longer product life when you opt for American-made furniture. But there are many other reasons why you should consider U.S. manufacturing when buying your next sofa or armchair. It comes with more advantages than you might think, so you’ll feel great about your purchase!