Gordon Brush® is one of the largest manufacturers of custom brushes in the world. They design brushes for a wide range of applications, from surgical procedures to cleaning equipment for the U.S. Military. Even under competitive threats, Gordon Brush stays committed to manufacturing in the U.S.
In this interview, Alan Schechter, Vice President, discusses Gordon Brush’s growing brand and marketing strategies.
Jason Blount: Is E-commerce a big portion of your sales?
Alan Schechter: Yes. It’s growing, but it’s not the biggest portion. Custom brushes are our largest, so is medical, electronics, janitorial, and the U.S. Military. We saved the United States Army $1.5 billion and received a commendation from the Army for this brush we designed for them that cleans the main gun on the Abrams tank and on the big howitzers. We also make a brush that’s used to clean the guidance system and guns on apache helicopters. We re-engineered our company websites, so hopefully, the revenue from E-commerce will continue to grow from these sites.
Jason: How many brands are under your umbrella?
Alan: We now have 12 brands.
Jason: When you acquire brands, would you keep the branding and that company name or would it become Gordon Brush®?
Alan: Sometimes. A couple of weeks ago we made our twelfth acquisition. A company called Spectrum Pain Applicators. That gets consumed into Gordon Brush®. The acquisition before that was Kirschner Brush, that was also consumed also into Gordon Brush®. Another acquisition that we made about two years ago was called Easy Reach. We also bought the building and manufacturing. They’re located in Mississippi.
Jason: I saw that you have one company that dates back to 1855. Which one is that?
Alan: We have Milwaukee Dustless, which has been around since 1897, and J.B. Ward is from 1855. While both have been consumed into the Gordon Brush®, Milwaukee Dustless Brush remains as a brand because of its industry history. When Gordon Brush® makes a lot of products in a similar space for similar markets, we consume them within. When the products or the market is slightly different, we have them as standalone brands. Our only consumer product that is standalone is called FootMate® System. It’s been very successful. Actually, this product is so popular that there have been a lot of Chinese knockoffs created along with companies plagiarizing our marketing images, texts, and videos. I hired a company that has an algorithm that’s trying to take the knockoffs off the market. Hopefully, it works because these Chinese companies are selling the product for much less than I can afford to manufacture it for.
Jason: Did you acquire that brand?
Alan: Yes, actually. We were the manufacturer for the inventor. He was a one-man band. The guy who invented the FootMate® System was on the fourth episode of the Apprentice; he got knocked off in week seven by Trump. He ran out of money and we made him an offer. He accepted and we took it over in February of 2012.
Jason: Is it in retail?
Alan: It’s online and in catalogs. We sell a lot of them on Amazon. There are authorized sellers and then unauthorized sellers that we’re trying to get rid of. We just launched a lot of new sites, so hopefully, the revenue from E-commerce will continue to grow from these sites.
Jason: Are all of your brushes manufactured by automated equipment or made by hand?
Alan: A lot of them are made by big automated machinery using robots. That being said, brush making is an art; we hand-make many of our brushes as well.
You can find your own Gordon Brush® product on their extensive e-commerce website. The site has almost 5,000 products. Within three clicks, you can get to one brush under 30 seconds. Visit: https://gordonbrush.com
Here is a recent video Gordon Brush® published that features CEO, Ken Rakusin.
Why You Should Buy American Made Products
by Alan Schechter
There are many reasons to buy American made products:
✓ Jobs and the Economy
Buying American made products not only supports the workers making those goods but it also causes a ripple through the economy; more job creation, more job saving, more spending, more building, more service support, ability to earn a living wage, and a reduction in the trade deficit, just to name several. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that every American manufacturing job supports an additional 1.4 jobs in other parts of the economy.
✓ American Pride and Democracy
A decrease in American manufacturing is strategically unsound. Buying American fosters independence, pride, and helps ensure that the United States doesn’t find its access to vital goods impacted by political conflict. Money is not shifted to countries not friendly to the USA or democracy.
✓ Human Rights and Worker Standards
In addition to having weaker environmental regulations, the countries that produce the goods Americans buy often have no laws to protect the rights of workers. Foreign labor standards allow unsafe worker conditions in many countries. When you buy American you support not only American manufacturers but also American workers, safe working conditions, and child labor laws. Many countries have no minimum wage restrictions, or the minimum wage is outrageously low. When you choose products made in the USA, you contribute to the payment of an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s work.
✓ Product Safety
The lack of product safety regulations overseas does not only put foreign workers at risk, it also threatens the health of American consumers. Dozens of types of children’s toys made in China were recalled because they were unsafe. When you buy toys and other goods made in the USA, you can be confident that American consumer protection laws and safety standards are in place to protect your family.
✓ Environmental Safety
USA manufacturing processes are much cleaner for the environment than many other countries; many brands sold here are produced in countries using dangerous, heavily polluting processes. Products made overseas have a higher carbon footprint than those made in the USA and have few or no environmental regulations. As a result, foreign factories produce large amounts of hazardous chemicals that pollute the air, water, and soil.
In summary, the lack of minimum wage, worker safety, or environmental pollution controls in many countries undermines the concept of “fair and free trade”. No Western nation can ultimately compete on price with a country willing to massively exploit and pollute its own people. When you buy only American- made products, you insist on a higher standard.
Gordon Brush®, the 2018 winner of the Made: In America award, is Proud To Be An American Manufacturer™ and patriotism is paramount at Gordon Brush®. Gordon Brush has made brushes for the United States Army to clean the main gun on Abram’s tanks, saving the Department of Defense over $1.5 billion. The Company also has made brushes that were used on the space shuttle, the lunar module, and brushes to clean the guidance system and guns on the Apache helicopter.
Even under competitive threats, “the Company has been steadfast in its philosophy and commitment to manufacturing in the United States”, said Ken Rakusin, president and CEO. Gordon Brush prides itself on its American heritage with two brands that date back to 1855 and 1897, respectively.
“Companies that have nothing to differentiate themselves on besides price are the most vulnerable to the threat of lower-priced Chinese made products; that’s a no-win game. Gordon Brush chooses to compete on value-added, said Rakusin. Offering premier products with superior customer service has enabled the Company to grow and prosper in spite of the Chinese threat.
Buy American, buy Gordon Brush® for all of your brush needs. If a brush exists, we have it…if it doesn’t, we’ll make it.
Written by: Alan Schechter, Vice President Marketing, Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc. 3737 Capitol Avenue, City of Industry, CA 90601 323-724-7777; www.gordonbrush.com