If you can be happy imagining a place where you can buy all sorts of bags, cases and storage accessories that are all made in the USA, then you can imagine how happy I was when I discovered a place that had the perfect American-made case for my Kodak digital camera.
At Waterfield Designs (www.sfbags.com) there is no mass production or overseas workforce because all Waterfield bags are designed and made in San Francisco where the rent is high, labor is expensive, and competition is intense. But do you know what? Quality is high too because I ordered one of their leather camera bags and it does a great job keeping my Kodak digital camera protected and safe.
Part of the reason Waterfield chooses to produce locally is so they can control every step of the process, which has enabled the company to independently unleash innovative and creative ideas that oftentimes come from customer feedback.
One interesting innovative idea was to use the same black, ballistic nylon in their products that is used in bulletproof vests. Another is using the color gold for the inside liner of their bags which makes it easy to identify the bag's contents at a glance.
What else can you find at www.sfbags.com? How about cargo bags, hard case and sleeve case bags, iPhone and iPod jackets and cases (including cases for all the related accessories like speakers and headphones), wallets, Nintendo cases, Kindle cases, cables cases, cell phone cases, Sony Reader cases, laptop bags and even a protective computer keyboard case. These bags, pouches and cases come in different varieties depending on whether you're traveling, biking or otherwise on the go.
If you happen to be traveling by bicycle, you can take comfort in knowing that Waterfield's founder is a long-time cyclist and former Boston bike messenger. That's why all the products you'll find at www.sfbags.com are so user-friendly that you can literally operate them with one hand tied behind your back.
But Waterfield's occasionally customer-inspired innovation didn't stop with their bags and cases. Their products also feature industrial-strength hardware for buckles, zippers and D-rings.
Some readers may wonder if the Kodak digital camera I mentioned that I owned was made in the USA. The short answer is that it is not. The longer answer is that no digital cameras are made in the USA, so the best thing to do is to at least support an American company when you know you're buying something that isn't offered in the American-made variety.
But why would it matter whether I buy an imported Kodak camera or an imported Canon camera, for example? The answer is that we can do far more for the U.S. economy, American workers and retirees simply by supporting an American company. Here's what I wrote in the first chapter of How Americans Can Buy American - The Power of Consumer Patriotism that might explain what I'm talking about a little better:
Japanese-owned Canon has stated the company wants to "preserve its core competence" by keeping as much manufacturing in Japan as possible. Even though Canon gets 75% of its revenue from outside Japan, it has a target of retaining about 60% of its production capacity inside Japan. And although American-owned Kodak doesn't make any cameras in the United States (Canon doesn't either), they generate most of their cash from the United States, which is in turn used to help support 40,000 American retirees and their dependents. Canon, as with most Japanese-owned companies, doesn't support nearly as many American workers and retirees as their American-owned competition.
So when great American-made products are available from great American companies like Waterfield Designs, we should strive to complement them with products from American-owned companies when Made-in-USA products aren't available.
And a great place to start in finding American-made products to store and protect what for many Americans are necessities of life like computers, cameras, and other electronic gadgets is at www.sfbags.com. That way, we'll protect American jobs while protecting the things that oftentimes make our own jobs and lives easier.
Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications, and is now a weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily.