Company Profile: Hug-A-Plug™
This week’s company profile sees us pay a visit to Brighton, Michigan, which is the location for the headquarters of Hug-A-Plug, Inc. Here, they design and manufacture their high-quality electrical adapter plug, which is suitable for both the home and the office.
Just as with Jezebel Inc., last week, we took the time to interview them about why they are so passionate about making every inch of their products on American soil.
Who Are Hug-A-Plug™?
Hug-A-Plug was launched back in 2006 in Brighton, Michigan. The founder and President, Robert (Bob) Green, was sick and tired of outlets preventing him from placing his furniture flush to the wall. Worse, when he tried to get furniture such as his nightstand closer to the wall, the power cord for his alarm clock would also become damaged in the struggle to push the nightstand as close to the wall as possible.
Out of this frustration, an idea was born. An electrical adapter that provided a space-saving flat surface without sacrificing the ability to plug in power cables into the socket. The added benefit? Each power outlet could now supply power to two devices instead of one.
We caught up with Bob himself, who gave us a little more insight into the struggles he faced early on by choosing to maintain production in America as opposed to Asia as the majority of the industry does.
Do you manufacture entirely in the US, or are there some product lines that are manufactured elsewhere?
“We only manufacture in the USA, and only use tooling produced in the USA.”
Why manufacture in the US instead of abroad?
“When I came up with the idea for the plug, I decided if it couldn’t be made competitively in the USA, I wasn’t going to make it.”
What are some of the challenges you have faced by choosing to manufacture in the US?
“Early on, it was difficult to find US manufacturers interested in producing the plug for a couple of reasons. First, nearly everyone said it should be made overseas due to costs and pointed out almost all similar products were made in Asia. Second, there was no interest in working with a new startup with no track record.”
What are some of the benefits you have seen by choosing to manufacture in the US?
“It made it much easier for me to maintain quality, control inventory, and work on improvements. I learned early, no matter how good you are doing a job today, there is always a way to do it better. I think the most important benefit for me was being able to communicate with the employees actually doing the work. Many improvements were the result of input from workers actually assembling or molding the plug. It is also a good feeling to walk in a shop and have the employees shout out, ‘here’s Bob’.”
Are there any possible side effects that manufacturing in a place with lower standards could cause?
“A small business like mine gives up a tremendous amount of control over many aspects of the business going overseas. Cost is not the only issue one needs to consider when running a business. All the items you mention above are equally important, as is the responsibility to the customer base. I am selling to USA customers, and I believe if, at all possible, I should make it where I sell it.”
How the Case of Hug-A-Plug™ Proves that Electronics Manufacturing Doesn’t Have to Be the Sole Preserve of Asian Economies
As Bob described, when he first started, every supplier told him to go and make his products in Asia because “that’s what everyone else is doing.” Just because one method is the accepted way to manufacture, it doesn’t make it the right approach. Every time we pick up an electrical adaptor or a set of extension outlets, we rarely think about what has gone into their production.
We don’t think about the illegal use of child labor that may have helped to get that product on the shelf. After all, some of the world’s most reputable electronics companies use factories with very checkered histories. That’s without even mentioning the slave labor that’s rife within the mining industry that provides the raw materials required for the components of electrical products.
You can help to put a stop to these practices by supporting companies who operate to a higher welfare standard on home soil and produce a high-quality product as a result. Think about it, would you want your electrical product to be safely made by an American engineer with years of experience, or by a 14-year-old child who is merely assembling plugs to earn enough to eat that day. Who do you think is going to care more about the products they are producing?
Hold Big Electronics Companies to a Higher Standard – Know Where Your Products Come from!
At BuyLocalized, our mission is simple. We aim to make it as easy for you as possible to buy local. We know that people care about what type of company their hard-earned money is supporting. That’s why we created our Chrome extension, which allows you to view precisely where the item was produced with just one click, saving you hours of your own research.
So if you want to make sure that you are supporting local businesses that hold themselves to the highest possible moral, ethical, and environmental standards, then make sure to install BuyLocalized to your web browser to make a more conscious shopping choice!