Dateline: 10 September 2014
|Some of my Classic American clothespins.|
And now there are other clothespin makers out there.
Yesterday I received the following e-mail…
"I am sorry you have no desire to build a business and create jobs. I have found a family in the Northwest who wants to grow their 100% American made clothespin business to create incomes for families in their area. Their pins are made of maple and feature stainless steel springs."
That was the whole e-mail. There were no prior e-mails between Jacqueline and myself, and when I read that I wondered why she had written. What was her point? I concluded that she was being snarky. Then the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome set in.
For those who don't know, I started making Classic American Clothespins last year. Part of my business plan is to bring the manufacture of high-quality traditional clothespins back to America by encouraging other woodworkers throughout America to become clothespin makers too. Instead of building my own enormous American-made clothespin empire, I envision a decentralized network of small, independent, artisan clothespin makers.
With that in mind, I have made my clothespin specifications available for a small fee and I also sell stainless steel clothespin springs. The springs are made by a U.S. manufacturer. I paid quite a sum of money to purchase a large initial supply of the springs a few years ago.
Thus it is that Jacqueline's e-mail could not be more incorrect in its assumptions and implied criticism. My desire is not to build one business but to help inspire and build many businesses, thus creating many jobs.
The family in the Northwest that she is so impressed with is one that recognized the opportunity I was offering, purchased my clothespin specifications, and is buying the stainless steel springs I sell. The part about them "creating incomes for families in their area" is kind of a mystery (but it sounds like a great thing).
The fact is, I don't make much money selling clothespin specifications and stainless steel springs. If a lot of clothespin entrepreneurs eventually buy the springs on a regular basis, then I stand to have a steady stream of income. But it won't have come without a lot of financial investment, and the passage of a lot of time.
Anyway, this is a long-worded way of announcing that there are now TWO enterprising traditional-style clothespin makers in the United States (besides yours truly). My vision for a national "guild" of handcrafted clothespin makers is starting to take shape. Please take a few moments to check out the following web sites. At the end I will offer my advice for purchasing clothespins from the growing (slowly-but-surely) network of new American clothespin makers.
Handcrafted Clothespins by
|clothespins by Thomas Mefford|
Thomas Mefford, makes clothespins in Connecticut. His family (three generations under one roof) has a busy farmstead. I am powerfully impressed with Thomas Mefford's range of skills (beyond making just clothespins) and entrepreneurial pursuits. Click Here to go to the Mefford Endeavors web site.
|Thomas Mefford. |
A picture of entrepreneurial industriousness.
Handcrafted Clothespins by
Lady and the Carpenter
|clothespins by Kevin|
The lady is Hilary. The carpenter is Kevin. They and their three (homeschooled) children live in the Pacific Northwest. Kevin's dream is to have his own business as a full-time woodworker. It's a good dream, and maybe the clothespin business can help it come true. Click Here to go to the Lady and the Carpenter web site. Click Here to read about and order handcrafted clothespins from Kevin.
|It isn't just Lady and the Carpenter. |
The kids help make clothespins too!
My Clothespin Buying Advice
The decentralized, artisanal approach to American clothespin production means that people who love to use traditional-style clothespins now have three different American-made clothespins to choose from.
Thomas and Kevin both use my Classic American clothespin springs, and they have my clothespin specifications, but their clothespins are different from mine. Look at the pictures, read about the clothespins, and you will see this.
I consider this difference in clothespins to be a good thing. Now, those who love to use sturdy, dependable, traditional-style clothespins can purchase a minimum of clothespins from several different clothespin makers. You can then compare and evaluate and come up with your own personal favorites. This sort of thing could be a lot of fun.
I wish Kevin and Thomas the very best!