Tom James Company – 45 Years of Made in America Products

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Tom James Company, Vertically Integrated with Products Still Manufactured in USA, Celebrates 45 Years

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Americans have always had a strong interest in clothing made here, but we’re seeing a resurgence.

Tom James Company, the world’s largest manufacturer and retailer of custom men’s clothing, celebrates 45 years in business this Fall.

“Our celebration is a tribute to the American worker, “ said Todd Browne, President of Tom James Retail, “ because over 70 percent of our products are Made in the USA.”

In an industry that has seen literally hundreds of thousands of jobs exit the US in exchange for lower labor costs, Tom James is bucking the trend.

“There are still many products manufactured in the United States, and they tend to be higher quality,” said Browne. “America’s labor laws and quality control mean products made in America are more upscale. They will cost more than their foreign competitors, but with good reason.”

Browne noted Tom James mills and shops, which they own, are seeing a growing interest in Made in America clothing in particular, especially in Europe and Asia. Tom James operates 103 Sales Offices internationally and reports high interest in garments that carry the Made in USA label.

“Country of Origin matters. Often a person’s view of a country dictates his view of the product,” reports Browne. “Americans have always had a strong interest in clothing made here, but we’re seeing a resurgence. Some of it’s because people want to reduce the carbon footprint of getting products to market, and some is out of concern for the economy.”

Tom James client, Ralph Stockemer, a Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual in Dallas, TX, said his interest in Made in USA products is two-fold. “Manufacturing is where we’re hurting right now.

“I’d prefer to bring those jobs back here, but to me, you get what you pay for. If you want cheap, you can wear cheap, but that’s not my choice.”

For people like Stockemer, the Made in USA label means quality.

“I know first and foremost behind every American made product is guaranteed first-class quality,” said Greg Bowdish, a Tom James client and VP of National Accounts and Marketing for Republic National Distributing Company in Dallas.

“Whenever there is an option,” he said, “I always buy American – even if it’s a bit more expensive than imported.”

Quality is certainly a hallmark of the Tom James product. “Our suits are made of the finest cloth and constructed with highest quality materials,” said Browne.

“We also put our coats through a 14 step inspection process. That far exceeds other clothing manufacturers. Our company builds and shapes clothing to fit the body. We truly do create a custom garment.”

According to a recent series of features by ABC News, Made in American clothing is hard to find. Their research shows only 2% of the clothing worn in the USA is actually made there.
Paul Barbagelata, of Barbagelata Real Estate in San Francisco, agrees. “I’ve been a client of Tom James for years. Earlier this year, I noticed my Tom James shirts are Made in the USA.

“Clothing manufactured in America is rare,” he said. “I’m proud to wear clothes that are Made in America and to support America’s workers!”

Bowdish agrees saying, “Behind every American made product is a hard working American citizen supporting his American family and his American way of life.”

Tom James, a vertically integrated company, employs over 2500 designers, sewers and technicians in their US shops. Of the few products they sell that are not Made in the USA, most are ones they represent from other manufacturers. “Casual wear and accessories,” said Browne, “Those are items we offer our custom clients as a service,” said Browne.

Quality, supporting America’s workers, even reducing the carbon footprint all give Tom James clients reason to choose Tom James over other clothing options available, but perhaps the most important reason is convenience.

“You won’t catch me in a mall, I don’t have time,” said Shawn Vinson of Vinson Mortgage in St. Louis. “With Tom James, I have a great personal clothier, Ben Lawler, who comes directly to me and the fact most of their products are Made in the USA is a real bonus.”

“We’re unique,” offers Browne. “’We come to you with fine clothing’ is what crafted our business some 45 years ago. We come to you with fine, custom, ‘Made in America’ (in our own shops) clothing, is really the full story of what we provide at Tom James. And that makes us even more unique.”

Tom James operates 103 offices in 36 US states and 5 countries, internationally. It owns and operates 3 woolen mills, 8 factories and is proud to say over 70% of its products are made in the USA.

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Michele Stephens
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