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It is important today to find a way for your company to not only stand out from the competition, but to also do something that makes a difference in people’s lives.  CelebriDucks felt that it would take a radical gesture to accomplish this goal.  Thus, they decided to take on their foreign competition head on by becoming the only ones in their industry making their products in America.

The company was already in a unique position as virtually no-one created licensed rubber ducks with the intricacy in the sculpting and painting they were capable of.  They ended up selling millions of ducks and while creating a company that did a line of celebrity rubber ducks that were voted one of the top 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly and featured on hundreds of TV shows, magainzes, and newspapers including The Tonight Show. They also in time became the top custom duck manufacturer in the world doing work for everyone from SeaWorld to The New York Yankees.

The company also wanted to do something right and make a real difference in the lives of people here in America. They saw that the loss of jobs and industries in America was only getting worse with everything being outsourced and tens of thousands of Americans losing their jobs.  Most companies they realized were unwilling to take the risk of bringing their manufacturing back to the USA, but this was a very important issue to CelebriDucks.

As it turns out, the rubber duck was actually invented in the USA.  However, today every rubber duck was now being made overseas. Three years ago CelebriDucks made the decision to bring the whole rubber duck industry back home to be only ones making them in America once again.  They’ve actually come full circle by making them in New York City where as it turns out some of the first rubber ducks were invented in the 1800’s.

There is so much in the news today about industry returning to America. However this can be quite misleading. People might see bigger molded plastic parts and such coming back here and more robotics and so forth, but the small hand-painted toy industry which uses rotational molding is virtually gone and is NOT easily coming back at all. It is just too much hand work to do the painting of small toy like items plus with all the EPA regulations, most of the rotational molders could not survive. Still, there are a small number of companies still trying to make it work in the USA for smaller labor intensive products and CelebriDucks is one of them.

In the Made in America section on their website, people can read more about their bringing the industry back home. They always knew from the start that it would be a very expensive and big risk, but even they never fully realized just how many of the technical skills had been lost here and how much work it would take to get it all re-established.  Re-creating the industry began with so many  tremendous difficulties it initially seemed destined for failure.

The company made a choice to look at the long term picture and not worry about maximizing profits in the short term. But they knew in the long run, it should enable them to meet deadlines and do smaller production runs that their competition could not duplicate.  Plus the quality and safety of their items enabled them to produce some of the finest rubber ducks in the industry.  It ended up putting them in an excellent position by owning their niche knowing full well that no-one would be able to easily duplicate what they had accomplished.

wizard of oz group

In terms of other benefits, they now have companies from Harley-Davidson to The Future Farmers of America wanting them to make ducks  for them in America and they are getting tremendous worldwide PR for their efforts. This has been very emotionally rewarding for everyone working there and their USA made line is now some of their most successful products. A national TV show just shot an episode of how a rubber duck is made which is currently airing worldwide to millions of people. A clip of that can be viewed at the top of the Made in America section on their website.  They are currently starting production at their second factory in Michigan making the world’s safest PVC rubber ducks out of food and medical grade materials which is the only rubber duck a baby should ever teethe on.  Even overseas manufacturers cannot duplicate what they are doing with their new PVC free “Good Duck” line in the USA which launches in December.

The company has learned a lot of good lessons, key of which is that nothing is impossible if you really hang in there and have faith in your vision. It was without a doubt the most stressful and financially difficult venture they had ever attempted, but they have no regrets in choosing to do what is right and look at a bigger picture. CelebriDucks chose to embrace change and never look back…..or as it says on the hang-tag on their new 100% made in America Pork Chopper biker duck….”live free, float free” Out of the embers of one’s failures can come amazing things…..CelebriDucks is one them!

49 COMMENTS

  1. What an adorable collection this would be! I love that they are so much like the characters too! The company’s vision is definitely admirable. It would be nice to have locally made toys and goods.

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