Our Six Shooter Shot Glasses are now 100% made in the USA -- see the below video for the full details and a quick explanation of why our new glasses will look a bit different than previous ones did.
As I discuss in the video, we initially had the our Six Shooter Shot Glasses made in China because it was just plain unfeasible to get them made in the United States at a cost that would allow us to retail them at a price people were willing to pay.
And having sunk no small amount of money into designing the product and getting our patent application filed and approved, we needed to have them made at a cost where we could also sell them on a wholesale basis.
After a solid year of poor communications, production delays, and general unreliability from our Chinese manufacturer we were ready to move on to an American manufacturer who wouldn't jerk us around.
Luckily this decision came just before our move to Texas, and we found a facility near Dallas that could make the shot glasses to specs that were almost identical to what we were getting from overseas.
We fully expected to pay higher unit prices for our Texas-made shot glasses as compared to the Chinese-made ones -- it wasn't a surprise to get the full details on the differences in material and labor costs in the US vs. in China.
But as it turned out, the main reason for the higher cost here in the US has to do with environmental considerations. The processes used for bead blasting, bright dipping, and anodizing to get the exact finish and texture of our old shot glasses result in lots of nasty leftover chemicals.
Unlike in China, an American factory can't just go dump those toxic materials in the lake out back.
Producing an identical finish would have been prohibitively expensive for us, so we had to go with a slightly different look and texture to keep costs under control -- though still more than twice what we were previously paying per shot glass. You can see in the photo below that our new glasses are slightly darker and slightly smoother than the previous batches shown above.
However, there were a few major upsides to working with this new manufacturer. You can't put a monetary value on having a supplier in the same time zone as you, and who always answers the phone when you call and replies to your emails.
We now also benefit from a few tangible advantages. Previously we had to order 5,000+ shot glasses at a time to get our decent unit prices, pay a 30% deposit upfront, then wait 3-4 weeks for production and another 2-4 weeks for expensive air or ocean freight and customs clearance.
With our new manufacturer, we can order glasses 500 or 1,000 at a time, have them complete the order in 1-2 weeks, then receive a pallet via UPS (and an invoice) a few days later. And we can get them made in other colors like you see below -- black will be in stock soon, and we may get some red ones down the road as well.
No more having tens of thousands of dollars hung up for months at a time while we waited for the products to arrive, and no more paying upfront to receive several months' worth of inventory that we would then have to scramble to sell to help cover the costs of ordering such a large batch.
Once we weighed out those positives of switching to this new manufacturer -- as well as the major intangible value of having our product made in America -- it was a no-brainer for us to make the permanent switch to a domestic supplier on our shot glasses.