Unsolicited Endorsement: Cottage industries

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by Jordan Green

It came as a revelation to me when I visited the Red Egg showroom as part of my reporting about the High Point after-market trolley tour [see story] that the furniture business sources all of its wood furniture — with the exception of rattan pieces, which are imported from the Philippines — from US manufacturers. What’s more, the wood furniture is made by small manufacturers — or “cottage industries,” as Red Egg owner Carol Gregg put it — mostly around the Triad.

To put this in perspective, we’re talking about a paradigm shift from mass production in Chinese sweatshops to small-craft manufacturers who are selling their handiwork to buyers who could be as near as 25 miles away. It’s kind of the home-furnishings equivalent of choosing to shop at farmers markets instead of buying produce harvested in Chile, warehoused in Arizona and delivered to Harris Teeter.

I was particularly smitten by a sturdy set of shelves made by Brand Mojo Interiors, a High Point-area furniture-maker that specializes in salvaged, repurposed wood, that’s on display at Red Egg. Craft manufacturing, like craft food, allows for consideration of values, like sustainability. The pieces have character and a history. Many of us, my family included, are living on the thin margin of economic survival. But we should be willing to pay more for a piece of furniture that is made with care and with lasting quality, just as we’re willing to pay a premium for craft beer and a well-made meal.

I’ve been dreaming of the day when I’ll be able to afford to buy some locally made furniture and local art. Someday.

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