Look, we all know that not everything made is America is better. Spaghetti westerns such as “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” are an American staple in film. But these films were shot in Italy to lower production cost. Some of the best beef in the world is grown on superior soil and grass in other countries. There is however, one thing that America does right and that is the production of fine furniture craftsmanship.
There was a time when the craftsman trade was a dominance in our country. With inflation and the rise of our cost of living, America turned to other countries to build our furniture. We have turned away from ma-and-paw shops to buying from chain stores full of wheelin and dealin salesman. Our economy has a beautiful cause and effect system that shapes the way we buy for what we need. Somewhere along the way the necessity of buying cheaper for our needs became a trend. Now, children are brought up to buy what is cheap even if they can afford something better and that lasts longer. At one time, second-hand furniture was durable and affordable and that is what you own until you can afford it new. Antique furniture is becoming less common and it is driving up the cost making it less affordable (the beautiful cause and effect). Here is why buying quality American Made furniture is a smart decision.
Whether you agree or not we need to take care of our planet and the rise of America’s carbon footprint is improving and has improved since regulations have been put in place. Getting around laws by outsourcing to other countries is the opposite of taking care of our country. I cannot say what impact the furniture industry has on our environment, but I do know two things that help. Wood harvested for milling is replaced with double the saplings. The cutting down and re-planting of trees assures an effort to maintain our forests. Plus, the higher demand of American lumber, the more land will be devoted to planting trees. My second point to a cleaner product is that most of our craftsman do not use electricity in their homes. The average American uses 149 Million btu a year. Yes, we can offset some of this knowing the woodshops are diesel powered. However, of the 75-80 woodshops in northern Indiana employing a rough average of 9 employees that is a lot of powerless homes and buggies. Over 1 Billion BTUs just in Indiana are saved in that area alone.
As I said, the American furniture market is changing from products built to last for generations to products made with cheap material that deteriorates the minute it is in your home. Screws loosen and cannot be retightened because there is nothing to bite in to. Particle board bows with the slightest amount of moisture content. When solid wood is used, you not only have a strong durable piece of furniture, you also see the beauty of the wood; not just a thin veneer of wood covering up materials that will end up in a landfill. Children of solid wood buyers grow up to inherit furniture that will be a blessing to own.
The “Trend” of cheap imported goods causes our hard-earned cash to float from consumer, to retailer, and eventually another country. Since American imports outweigh exports there is only about a 65% chance that money will ever make it back into our American economy. When you buy American made, your direct impact to our economy may hurt your pocketbook at first, but your dollar will go further in the future. The dollar of the American made consumer goes from retailer, to American Craftsman, to American employees, all who pay the necessary taxes to keep our country running. (YES, the Amish DO pay taxes)
Personality and accountability
Now, the modern consumer is conditioned in a sort of “etiquette and training” for buying furniture. No, not everyone buys into the program and sadly those are usually the ones to get taken advantage of. Buying from a store has become a battle of cunning and wit. If you walk out with a smile it’s most likely you feel like you got the best of the salesman not because you made a wise purchase but in the end you got sold. The salesman is not working for the store or the craftsman but only himself. With American made furniture, each piece of furniture has a face. We know who made each piece and that creates a unique experience of not “getting sold” at a store but rather entering into an agreement that you are going to be happy. “Agreement?” you say “that seems pretty dramatic” but it is true. If a customer is unhappy with their product the word will travel from employee, to store owner, to the finish shop or builder and possibly to the lumber mill. Whoever made this customer unhappy will know about it because the product purchased represents everyone who had a hand in creating it. I guess you could say the furniture has MANY faces.
A good home builder will invest in a good cabinet craftsman because they represent him as a builder. The home builder does not want to hear about a customer who was unhappy that they had to replace parts of a key area in their home. Good cabinets will last the life of a home and so will furniture. Wear and tear shines through over time and is worse for wear on poor quality. Sadly, I am speaking from experience because every time I am in my kitchen the thought of “ugh, those cabinets are falling apart and I’m going to have to replace them” floats in the back of my head. I am glad the Jim, who I bought the house from and had it built for himself saved a little money, but I wish he would have thought about me even though I was not born yet. If all furniture came with the homes they occupy, I am sure that would be a common thought. When you invest money into good quality products, you are not just making a lifetime investment but a generational investment.
The great thing about Amish furniture is that each piece of furniture can be tailored to the price any family can afford and you do not have to pay extra for long-lasting craftsmanship, (that is standard). The more quality furniture in circulation will eventually lead to antiques being more affordable for the young family homes.
So, in conclusion:
Whether you are an economist, environmentalist, investor, nationalist, or a realist; American made furniture and even more specifically Amish Crafted American made furniture is a smart way to furnish your home. After all, buying furniture should be as much about logic as it is about emotion.