Leather Goods Manufacturer, Graphic Image, Embraces its Made in USA Roots
Booth #3224 at NY NOW
New York - January 23, 2019 — Is this the return to American craftsmanship? If you ask Tom Glazer, CEO at legacy leather goods manufacturer Graphic Image, the answer is it never left.
With trade tariffs levied on more than $250 billion in China imports this year so far, more American brands are knocking on Graphic Image's factory door, looking for high-quality local production. China has for decades been the go-to producer for smaller brands, Glazer explains. "Many of the mega-brands left China years ago, building factories in countries with the lowest wage possible," he says. "What's new now is that higher tariffs are pushing smaller boutique brands to find new opportunities to innovate and compete — keeping operations in the United States is now an option."
"Our phone is definitely ringing more now," says Glazer. "We enjoy collaborating with new partners who are committed to craftsmanship — prioritizing quality above all else."
Among these partners: Detroit-based label Shinola, who now relies on Graphic Image craftsmanship to produce many of its fine leather-goods, and luxury accessories line, Lambertson Truex. When Richard Lambertson and John Truexdecided to re-launch their bespoke label this year, they turned to Glazer and Graphic Image. "Graphic Image was my first call," says Truex, "Graphic Image provides experience and a seamless relationship from creative development to production management. I know I'm in good hands from the moment I pass the first sketch."
Glazer sees the signs of a potential boom for Made in the USA manufacturers by appealing to these newer, smaller, and specialty brands. "I'm not saying that China has gone away," he notes, "but that its ability to provide reliable, high-quality production with manageable volume now comes at a much higher price."
High-quality manufacturing is something Glazer knows plenty about. A third-generation family business, Graphic Image launched in 1969 with a specialty in leather bookbinding, crafting diaries, journals, and agendas. Their core clients for 35 years include Tiffany & Co., Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys. In 2011 they launched GiGi New York, an influencer and celebrity loved luxury handbag brand sold online and through better retailers.
Now, with more brands looking to bring production back to the US, American manufacturing could see a major revitalization. Tom Glazer's expertise in both manufacturing and brand leadership makes him and his team uniquely poised to collaborate with brands feeling the economic effects from the latest China tariffs.