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Fashion Manufacturer Leaves China for Texas

Business

Girls packing presents into a Barrington Tote | Image by Barrington Gifts/Facebook

Fashion accessories maker Barrington Gifts aims to transition its China-based manufacturing to Texas and Mexico.

In a bid to avoid the list-4 tariff of 25% on goods from China imposed in 2019, the Dallas fashion accessories maker is trying to move its manufacturing base nearshore.

Plagued by the pandemic and geopolitical tensions that have caused high import costs, Barrington CEO David Gowdey said the company still has not recovered. This is prompting the company to move its manufacturing base to Dallas, where it is headquartered.

In an email to customers in April, Barrington told customers that it had to raise prices on some of its most popular products.

“We have begun transitioning our production to the USA and are making most of Barrington’s best-selling products in our new Dallas, Texas, factory. We will continue to move additional production to the USA over the months ahead,” the email continued.

Barrington claimed that its price increases were received with little pushback from customers, who the company said did not mind paying a little more for American-made products, and thanked the brand for bringing jobs back to the U.S.

Barrington has operated a factory in China for 22 years but recently cut its employees in the Far East to 40, down from 100.

“Our employees in China are aging, and it’s harder and harder to attract younger workers who would rather work in hospitality — at Starbucks or a new hotel — and not in a factory,” Gowdey explained.

Gowdey explained that high U.S. tariffs on goods from China and an uncertain operating environment are among the reasons prompting Barrington and others to relocate their manufacturing operations.

This comes as other companies have decided to move manufacturing out of China. Apple, as reported by The Dallas Express, has been among the most notable businesses to consider doing so.

To staff the new production factories, Barrington is recruiting workers from the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, which trains seven Garland ISD high school students in different types of manufacturing, including the software and machinery used in fashion design and production.

Barrington’s most popular product, The St. Anne tote, is now being produced one at a time before being shipped out of Dallas.

“I was hoping we could lease a building here and hire people so that all products could be in Dallas,” Gowdey said.

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