At many of our appearances, a member of the public will ask us what Stay means. We explain that our tees connote a sense of place, as in a period of staying somewhere.
That’s pretty easy for us to illustrate, given that our shirts mostly bear place names: Hershey, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Lititz, Philadelphia, Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, USA (and more to come). Place also is significant because everything we sell is made in the USA.
Some people have conjectured that Stay is an encouragement to “stay” domestic with one’s purchases. That works, too.
Our name is intriguing to people, which often leads to conversations. And that engagement is the most rewarding part of what we do. Ultimately we want and need for people to buy our products, but we don’t want it to be a one-time thing. We want to have a relationship in perpetuity, so we continue to tell our story at pop-up events, in our e-mail newsletter, through this blog.
Which brings us to our tagline, “An authentic American brand of place.” We’ve yet to have anyone ask what we mean by authentic American. We’ll answer just the same.
There are countless U.S.-based apparel companies that import everything they sell. Some of them started out promoting their “Made in the USA” bonafides, only to end up offshoring their products.
I was a big fan of one such company, which not coincidentally abandoned U.S. manufacturing soon after obtaining a multimillion dollar investment from a national retailer. Today, that company I used to admire greatly can only say that its tees are “designed in the USA.”
Another retailer I like offers a significant number of American-made products, but you can’t be certain. If you don’t look closely, you might find that a shirt is “responsibly imported.”
Stay is only made in the USA
I recently had an email exchange with a company that makes custom patches for ball caps. It wasn’t clear from the company’s website where its products — the hats or the patches — were made. I received this explanation:
“Our patches are manufactured overseas (95% of the patches you will find are either made there as well or made to look like they aren’t) and we source all of the hats from many companies all over the world. We do all of the design and finishing work and ship from [a Southern state],” the director of operations wrote.
Yet we sourced Stay patches from Los Angeles and then had them sewn onto our Stay ball caps, which are cut, sewn and assembled for us in Cleveland. Even at that, we’re able to sell a hat at a reasonable profit for $25.
And that’s a long way of showing you what we mean when we describe Stay as an authentic American brand of place.
Our tee vendor manufactures in multiple states, and we print all of our tees in Lancaster, Pa. We’ve sourced knit hats from Milwaukee, dog collars from Portland, Ore., insulated tumblers from Shelbyville, Ind., canvas grocery bags from El Paso, Texas, zip bags from Lewiston, Maine.
We’re an American company that makes each of its products in America. Our customers never will have to wonder whether there’s an exception to that rule.
That’s as “authentic American” as we can be.