The Death of Brand and the Rebirth of Maker

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Sick of buying products that are junk and don’t last? Don’t blame the Chinese; they are only doing what they are asked to do – make it cheap! The good news is that the B2C model is thriving on the web.

Man_LIBIf you are like me and most other people you grew up with your favorite brands. From Apple computers to Zenith TV sets these manufactures made some of the best stuff going. What most people don’t realize is, in most cases, these iconic brands no longer own the factories that make the products they sell. Production has been outsourced and their products are actually made by someone else.





So why is that a problem?

First, you have to understand the retail game. Basically it is the old adage – buy low and sell high. Retail markups range from 35% to as much as 90%. If you use an average of 70%, which is about right in today’s marketplace, then this is what the math looks like on a $100.00 purchase:

  • You pay the retailer $100.00
  • The retailer pays the Iconic Brand Company $30.00 (Taking a 70% margin)
  • The Iconic Brand Company pays the factory in China $15.00 (Taking a 50% margin)
  • Less $2.00 shipping halfway around the world $13.00
  • The Chinese factory cost assuming a small profit $10.40* (taking a 20% margin)

As you can see, the item that you are paying $100.00 for at the store needs to be made very cheaply in order to give the retailer and the Iconic Brand Company the profit they need in order to stay in business. So anything and everything they can do to save a penny here and a penny there is done, even though it will cause the quality of the product to decline. This is reason number one why the products we buy today are built cheap and don’t last. The Chinese factories are building junk because that is exactly what they are being asked to do by your favorite “iconic” brand.

The second issue is the fierce competition in the retail arena trying to claim the lowest price so you shop at their store. The proverbial race to the bottom is happening every day. In order to do this stores need to find the absolute cheapest source and that is exactly what they do. They want to sell you that product for $90.00, not $100, so they can make that claim and in order to do so they go back to the Iconic Brand Company and tell them that they have to sell it for 10 percent less. “Live better, pay less at Wal-Mart,” right? The Iconic Brand Company, which does not want to lose the retailer’s business to some other brand, will go back to the Chinese factory and beat them up for a reduction in cost. The owner of the Chinese factory will then figure out how to make it cheaper by cutting corners, which almost always comes at the cost of quality – plastic instead of metal, thinner plastic, thinner glass, cheaper paint, inferior electronics, lack of inspection etc. When they can’t go now lower in China it’s off to Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia in search of lower cost based on cheaper labor and even less stringent regulations on worker safety and environmental responsibility.

FlatwareThis process has repeated itself every year for the past 20 years since manufacturing began the great migration to China and beyond. There are companies that are bucking this trend. The business model is called B2C, or business to consumer. In this model an American manufacturer sells direct to consumers via the Internet, cutting out both the Iconic Brand markup and the retail store markup. One such company is Liberty Tabletop, the only manufacturer of flatware left in the United States, where product is sold directly to consumers via their website The owners worked for an iconic flatware brand company and saw them license out the brand and saw the product sourced from the cheapest possible vendor overseas. Matt Roberts, President of Liberty Tabletop, remembers hearing one of the executives say: “It doesn’t matter, put some crappy flatware in a nice box with our brand name on it. People will snap it up.”

“As a proud manufacturer of quality products this attitude made us sick,” said Roberts.

“We are consumers too and the cheap, almost disposable, products that you buy today frustrate us as well. Yes, the toaster may cost $19.99 but it will only last for a few years, not 30 like the one my mom had when I grew up. In fact she still has it,” added Greg Owens, CEO of Liberty Tabletop. “What is worse is that the cheap throw-away junk ends up costing you more in the end than quality products that are built to last. Since we took over the factory, our brand philosophy has been to drive quality back into the flatware. Make it like it used to be made, with a focus on quality, even if that costs a little more money. Our customers notice the difference and appreciate the effort. We hear it every day.”

Liberty BuildingSo that is why most of the stuff you buy today is garbage. Things that used to be made of steel are made of plastic and nothing lasts as long as it used to last. In the end the Chinese factory, which is almost certainly capable of making quality products, is making junk because that is what they are being asked to make by that iconic Brand Company that you have been loyal to for all these years. If you are looking for real value, find a manufacturing company that sells direct… and you will end up paying for quality, not retailer markups in a nice box.

Last Flatware Maker in America is Alive and Growing

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Thanks to Sherrill Manufacturing Inc., and their brand Liberty Tabletop, flatware (silverware) manufacturing is alive and well in the United States. Founded in 2005, the company took over the sprawling one million square-foot facility from Oneida Ltd. and is now the only flatware maker left in the USA.

liberty_tabletop_flatwareLiberty Tabletop manufactures high quality, 18-10, stainless steel flatware in set configurations that range in cost from $49.95 to $1,189.95. Creating American jobs is at the top of the priority list for owners Matt Roberts and Greg Owens. Quality conscious consumers can purchase the 100 percent Made-in-USA flatware online. “Pricing is competitive with department stores and high end retailers because you are buying directly from that factory,” Owens explains. “By cutting out the middleman we can afford to give our customers quality made in America product at a price that is comparable to imported flatware made using cheap labor. The B2C, or business to customer model is working.”

Fair trade is a growing concern for the American consumer who has seen the sometimes-deplorable conditions in factories overseas.

“We are a family run business and treat our employees like family members,” said Roberts, adding, “In fact, my children and Greg’s children have all worked in various jobs in both production and the office.”

Owens and Roberts have seen firsthand the conditions in flatware factories in Asia and want to offer consumers an alternative. People are often shocked when they hear about the unsafe conditions, use of child and prison labor and subsistence wages that exist in factories throughout the world. “There is certainly none of this involved in the process of making Liberty Tabletop flatware and we are very proud of that,” said Owens.

Liberty Tabletop contributes to the Upstate New York job market by providing local jobs.

liberty_tabletop_facilitySherrill Manufacturing currently employs 38 in Upstate New York, and is expanding production and adding personnel as online sales increase. In addition to flatware the company also offers other American-made tabletop and kitchen items such as cookware, flatware chests, baskets, cutting boards, Coffee Joulies, and silverware art. “Liberty will be adding dinnerware, drinkware, and other Made-in-USA tabletop and kitchen items to the website this summer,” Owens said. “We will soon have a complete lineup of Made-in-America goods to outfit your kitchen and table.”

VIDEO: Made In America Manufacturing Saves Jobs, Lives And The Environment

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American manufacturing has been an icon for over a century.

Accounting for nearly $6 Trillion dollars and 35% of America’s economy, American manufacturing provides over 12 million jobs, and that doesn’t even include related workforce positions like truck drivers and warehouse employees. In fact providing support services for manufacturing accounts for about one in every six jobs private sector jobs in the US.

Cheap products, imported from overseas, which so many Americans have bought in recent decades have not only cost jobs, and seen millions of overseas workers slave away in horrific conditions on unlivable wages, but are a big factor in the the shipping industry contributing to almost 5% of the whole world’s pollution.

Every time an American citizen buys an imported product, our trade deficit widens. Forbes calls it the ‘destroyer of jobs’. Every year, because we import more than we export, 3% of our economy and wealth is lost overseas. That doesn’t sound like much, but it soon adds up. Over the last 39 years we’ve lost 8 TRILLION dollars. All of that translates into lower wages, lower profits, weaker markets and more unemployment at home when we don’t support American made products.

There’s more than just the money we’ve lost forever, though. The health and safety of foreign workers is much less of a consideration in many developing manufacturing economies. Not only the health and safety of the workers though, your health and safety is put at risk too. We’ve seen radioactive steel and poisonous drywall as well as poisonous flooring imported to the US in recent decades. Our home-grown manufacturers share your values, and obey our laws, and are subject to some of the strictest, and most rigorous rules in the developed world. I know which spoon I’d rather feed my baby with!

Companies like Liberty Tabletop are bringing manufacturing home, and more and more Americans are happy to buy quality products, that support our jobs, the environment, our health and safety, and offer a genuine living wage to employees.

It may sometimes cost a little more to buy American, but when you take into account the huge boost to all of our incomes from a faster-growing economy, the creation of better jobs, and a reduction in the hugely expensive erosion of our environment, it may just be cheaper in the long run, and help America lead the world in living standards once again.

And, at the end of the day, our skillfully manufactured products are something we can all be proud of — and we can go back to the days when you bought something and it lasted a lifetime or longer, like our flatware.

Green Gift Shop Opens in Dover

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While Liberty Tabletop’s made in the USA silverware is primarily sold directly through this website, we have been adding retail locations across the USA. We love to partner with other business to offer premium, environmentally responsible products like our flatware. Please read more about a Brattleboro store who have decided to carry our flatware. Read More>

Sherrill expands Liberty Tabletop line

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Sherrill Manufacturing and Liberty Tabletop® have expanded their product line by offering several new patterns of flatware.  These new patterns add to the Liberty Tabletop® offering of 9 patterns that have been manufactured in the U.S. since 2007.  Several of the patterns were part of a GSA contract and were temporarily outsourced when Sherrill was forced to cease production temporarily back in 2010 due to adverse financial conditions.  We are very pleased that they are now again made right here in Central New York.  With production shifted back from Mexico the company has expanded production, added jobs and can now offer these patterns on our Made in USA website at

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Sherrill Manufacturing was started in 2005 after purchasing substantially all of the flatware manufacturing assets of Oneida Ltd.®  Sherrill Manufacturing now offers product under their own brand Liberty Tabletop® which is currently the only flatware made in the USA.  Product is offered via the company website

Liberty Tabletop honored by Chamber

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Sherrill Manufacturing and Liberty Tabletop® were honored by the Oneida Chamber of Commerce with the “Distinguished Community Service Award”.

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Sherrill Manufacturing was started in 2005 after purchasing substantially all of the flatware manufacturing assets of Oneida Ltd®.  Sherrill Manufacturing now offers product under their own brand Liberty Tabletop® which is currently the only flatware made in the USA.  Product is offered via the company website

Liberty Tabletop Launches New Website

Posted on by Liberty Tabletop / Posted in News | 6 Comments

Liberty Tabletop is happy to announce the recent launch of their new website. The new site offers many benefits to our customers, including comprehensive information, ease of use and the ability for the customer to communicate with Liberty Tabletop online. This, combined with a modern, sleek design, makes our website more user-friendly and easier to navigate.

Our new website features well-defined sections that make it easy for customers to see how we can help them with their specific needs, shows them beautiful, easy-to-navigate photography of our products, and informs them of the quality and manufacturing practices we incorporate into all of our Made-in-U.S.A. goods. It also allows customers to shop on line and create a bridal registry for our products.

The new Liberty Tabletop website was conceptualized and designed by MPW Marketing, a Clinton, N.Y. full-service advertising agency specializing in website development and design. “We’ve designed a customer-focused website for Liberty Tabletop,” said MPW Marketing Online Director Matt Wilson. “We sought to create a modern, fresh look for this company that combined ease of navigation and relevant content. We think that will provide Liberty Tabletop’s customers with the best experience possible while visiting this website.”

All of us at Liberty Tabletop invite you to review our new site and learn all about the many services we provide – no matter what your specific flatware need, we believe you’ll be satisfied with the updates to our site and how simple it is to use.

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