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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Cinda Boomershine started her handbags, totes, and travel bags business, cinda b, out of personal necessity. Living a hectic lifestyle as an interior designer, on-air room makeover designer for the TBS television show “Movie and a Makeover,” and world traveler, she was frustrated with her travel bag that would not fully zip open. Always pressed for time, she was tired of rummaging through her bag to find her accessories.

Not able to find a bag that zipped open wide for easy access, she decided to design one of her own. It started in the guest bedroom of her Atlanta home, and today is a booming American-made business. cinda b has about 25 employees and another 100 sewers at its factory in Ft. Wayne, In.

cinda b’s product line is for women, and features a variety of designs and patterns on most types of bags and accessories. They are durable, water resistant, and washable. The company designs a new line of bags for each of the seasons so the patterns are constantly changing. She does most of her work right from her home in Atlanta, occasionally flying to the sewing factory in Indiana.

After doing her due diligence on the marketplace for the type of bag she was looking for and finding only one other mid-range priced product available, her design background and MBA degree inspired Boomershine to produce a bag of her own. And she wanted it to be manufactured right here in America.

When I started cinda b, I was focused on making an American-made product as much as I was focused on making a great bag. It’s a personal belief. It’s just my roots and just part of who I am. I know the importance that it plays in the big picture; from obviously our economics and the health of our own country, but also putting meals on individual families’ plates and on their tables.

Boomershine realizes the pros and cons of manufacturing in America. She’s an advocate for Made In America products and watches the price point and import market on a daily basis. It’s a tricky business, she says, because occasionally cinda b has to use a component of a bag that is from overseas that is just no longer manufactured in the United States. But every possible component they can find manufactured in the U.S. will be used in her bags.

“Anything we can do to promote American manufacturing, we do,” she said. “It’s certainly not easy to manufacture here. You have to be committed. It’s actually not easy these days.”

Boomershine’s nine-year run on “Movie and a Makeover” as well as several shows on HGTV provided her with enough cash flow to get cinda b off the ground. It has grown from a distribution center and warehouse in her guest bedroom to the bags being sold in approximately 1,000 stores across the United States and Canada.

“It’s a labor of love and the one thing I always say: It’s just not me but I have an amazing team behind me that’s making this work,” she said. “Doing American-made I’ve found takes a team of people who are passionate about keeping production here. The fact that we’ve got stores that believe in American-made products, and retailers that are willing to sort them out, makes all the difference in the world.”

So ladies: Visit the cinda b website for a look at your next travelling companion.