I recently had the privilege to interview Nancy Gold, president of Tough Traveler Ltd. Located in Schenectady, NY. I am not one who likes to put a whole lot of fluff into an interview and I wont make an exception here either.
I am hoping to introduce consumers and retailers alike to the wonderful world of "Made in USA." Tough Traveler is a company of Americans who work for America. Our nation needs companies like Tough Traveler in order to maintain any sense of trade balance and to keep Americans working. Now sit back take a sip of your favorite drink and read about another great American Company.
What products does Tough Traveler produce? Tough Traveler designs and manufactures many, many bags, packs, along with some other textile items.
Our products include (but not limited to!): backpacks for school, backpacks for adults who hike, travel, or need one for daily life, baby/child carrier backpacks, carry-ons, duffel bags, large carry-all bags, pocketbooks, small organizing pouches, belt pouches, waist packs, luggage, garment bags, computer bags, computer backpacks, briefcases, seminar & convention bags, chiropractor-recommended daypacks, shoulder bags, purses, camera bags (large & small!), messenger bags, one-shouldered bags & packs, vests, tuck-away bags for travel & touring, camera-daybag combinations, cell phone bags, epi-pen pouches, guitar bags, medical bags, cymbal bags, drummers' sticks bags, oxygen tank bags (for emergency crews), and more---- We have bags and packs for people from infants to senior citizens, for hikers, for travelers, for tourists, for business people, for students, for workers, etc.!
Our products have been recommended in many media, for example: Kiplinger's magazine, Parents, Parent, Child, Family Travel Forum, Consumer Digest.com, Gadget Guru's Guide To the Best, The Today Show, Outside, Backpacker, The Early Show, Good Housekeeping, and many, many more.
Many times our customers come to us because they have been told to by a friend or a relative, and then they send others to us. Even in families, we find we will sell first to one child or parent, and within the next 1/2-year or so, the whole family will be outfitted by us. People are very appreciative of the designs, the comfort, and the quality.
Do you offer any customized products? We offer custom products for sure: People can come to us if they have an idea for something they think they want to make either for business, association group, or for personal use. For individual use, generally people can find one of our line items (remember, we do have a lot of choices!) that they like, or, if necessary, they might have us do a modification (for example, sometimes people have us make the waistbelts longer, webbing moved or added, a pocket added). Also, we can take a special design and make it, or we can make things for groups, getting silk-screening or embroidery done, making something to fit special needs.
Why should people buy from Tough Traveler? People should buy from Tough Traveler because we have 34+ years experience designing & manufacturing, because many, many people love our products, and because we represent an opportunity to purchase USA-made products that are useful and superior.
What do you say to those people who think that Made in the USA is too expensive and the quality is not very good? Our made-in-USA products are reasonably priced (although I suppose that always is individual, regardless of price), and the Tough Traveler(R) quality is excellent. Our products often last - in continual use - for many, many years. Plus people are glad that they last - people are enjoying using them for all the many, many years!
What measures do you take to ensure quality control? We have very good quality control, particularly because we design and manufacture them ourselves in our own factory. We watch our products develop through the sewing and we judge them with a critical eye; if we see a mistake, we either correct it or we discarrd the item.
We receive "thank you" notes and comments daily from our customers, who tell about the excellence of the quaility.
Why not just follow all of the other companies and start producing your product in China, after all wouldn't you be able to produce them cheaper and make more profit? Well, about 15 + years ago it was very, very clear where the manufacture of our area of products was going (leaving the USA). Matter of fact, at a trade show a few years ago I saw that we were one of maybe two or three companies at the show that still manufactured backpacks in the USA. Plus, the trade shows would often have people who tried to interest us in manufacturing 'off-shore.' So, we definitely had the opportunity, but we didn't make that choice: We liked our good quality of manufacturing, we liked employing people in the community we lived in, we liked teaching skills to 'our neighbors,' we liked hearing from satisfied customers, we liked the timeliness of our own production, we liked keeping some manufacturing of and skills for this important area of product in the USA, etc. I think these items are important in our current lifestyles and it would be quite a loss to have no design, production, equipment, spaces, and processing skills remain in the USA because they are valuable.
Also, there are many people in the USA who need jobs and can be valuable contributors. Employment allows people to contribute in many ways, and many people enjoy being involved in production of valued items. We feel that our company contributes in these ways.
If a consumer or retailer is looking for your products, where can they purchase them? Our products can be purchased direct from us through our website www.toughtraveler.com or by calling our toll-free number 1-800-GO-TOUGH. Also they can be purchased from some specialty retailers in assorted cities (interested customers would have to call our above number to ask for dealers). We ship worldwide.
Our customers are individuals (of all ages!), associations, retailers, businesses (either for special items for sales or to be used by the businesses themselves for computers, 'packaging,' etc.), seminars and conventions, etc. We find our customers are most often wonderful.
Have you tried to export your product outside of the US? If not, why not? We do export our products, we sell worldwide!
This company has something for everyone and if they don't, they are willing to create exactly what you want. So whether you are a consumer or retailer looking for a high quality product, check out Tough Traveler, an American company who can proudly label their products "Made in USA."
Company Tough Traveler URL http://www.toughtraveler.com/ Bio Over 34 Years of Made in USA Quality Products..
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