Tariffs and Bath Accessories

Posted by Allison Rosson on

Our viewpoint on tariffs.....

Mike + Ally has been making luxury bath accessories in the United States since its inception back in  1991.  We are the last remaining domestic manufacturer of bath accessories to design and craft bath accessories in the states.  All competitors are either manufacturing in China or importing from the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, India, Thailand or Italy.

Each Mike + Ally bath accessory is handbuilt by local artisans in our New York studio.  This provides us with a distinct advantage over other players in the market; we can create any collection for a project in choice of over 45 hand enamel colors, there is no minimum and turnaround time is quick.

We make every effort to source manufacturing components locally.  Our metal castings for toothbrush holders, soap dishes, cottonball jars, tumblers and soap dispensers are all made in what was once known as the the costume jewelry capital of the world….Providence, Rhode Island. Sadly, few businesses remain as the industry has all shifted to China.  Similarly, our artisans use the highest quality enamel epoxy resin purchased from Rhode Island as well.  

As a practical matter, there are some labor intense components that need to be sourced from overseas.  It would be prohibitive as well as impossible to purchase domestically without increasing retail prices monumentally.  We are firm believers in the diplomacy of free trade but the recent government policy of applying tariffs only serves to hurt small businesses.

What the current administration does not understand is that small businesses have to absorb the additional cost of tariffs.  As a domestic manufacturer, we pay higher labor wages, higher city and state taxes and exorbitant real estate prices. We have absorbed the 10% but a 25% tariff would be the tipping point….as it would need to be passed on to the consumer.  And frankly, there is only so much a consumer is willing to pay for a luxury wastebasket.

The issue is not as black and white as illustrated with the auto industry.  Parts are needed from overseas in order to facilitate assembly and production in the States.  Tariffs are not as simple as the current administration leads you to believe.  

We recently went through the exercise of costing out components locally.  Nobody was interested in providing quotes as the products required labor intense manufacturing and their time was more efficiently spent on low volume/high profit projects. Case in  point; rather than spray paint our glass tumblers white - the company preferred spray painting larger window frames and elevator doors.  Their quote came in 9x higher than overseas!

Tariffs will not bring back low tech manufacturing jobs to this country. As a developed country, we should be training the market for higher paying and more sophisticated jobs.  Leave the low cost manufacturing to the developing countries where it is more efficient.  The tariff program, for short term political gains, only serves to hurt us all.


← Older Post Newer Post →