Interest in US manufacturing is growing, and not just from voters and the government, but also private investors. Miguel McKelvey, the co-founder of WeWork, has purchased a controlling stake in clothing brand American Giant with the goal of supporting American manufacturing.
The inspiration for the $10 million investment came after McKelvey toured a manufacturing facility in the US and was surprised at the dark and depressing environment. Having come from WeWork, a light and bright co-working space for remote workers, McKelvey understood the type of environment that people like to work in. And as an American entrepreneur, he understands the importance of “Made in the USA.”
McKelvey’s Ability to Connect Need with Action
WeWork, the co-working space that took the nation by storm, was founded in Manhattan in 2010. Customers of the space mostly included startups, students, and remote workers. Miguel McKelvey already had the experience of starting a company, as he founded a digital business called English, baby!, early in his career. It’s a still active website aimed at helping users learn English by connecting them with fluent speakers.
In 2020, McKelvey founded the company The Proto Collective, a producer of responsible sneakers led by a team that’s mostly made up of women or BIPOC. The majority of their shoes are manufactured here in the US, aligning with McKelvey’s interest in American-made goods. What McKelvey has understood through his various endeavors, like WeWork, is that design matters, community is powerful, and American manufacturing is critical.
It’s clear through his historical business quests that McKelvey values the American workforce. Add a background in architecture and an interest in human connection, and McKelvey makes for the perfect interest point in improving American manufacturing from a startup perspective.
Connecting with American Giant
McKelvey spreads his investments out among a diverse range of brands and businesses. He’s got a lot of ideas, and they all coalesce around the commonality of supporting people through community with a side fling interest in American manufacturing. This led him to invest $10 million in the USA-made apparel company, American Giant. The investment granted him a controlling stake in the company and led to an interesting proposition from Bayard Winthrop, American Giant founder.
Winthrop suggested that McKelvey become involved in the leadership team of his company. So he did. Here’s the thing, McKelvey doesn’t just want to fund American manufacturing. He wants to make it better. From that early inspiration, while touring a facility that was dark and dismal, came a desire to improve the environment for the people who work in manufacturing.
In an interview, McKelvey stated, “The environment where people are working just isn’t great. From a design, ergonomic and human perspective, facilities are of the lowest possible standard, and it makes sense because you have to compete with really cheap labor across the world. But in the US, in the future, we can create jobs and places to work that are much better. I think that is one way we can unlock a new future for American manufacturing.”
Things Look Good For The Future of American Manufacturing
American manufacturing is the backbone of our nation. Bills and Acts to support federal projects buying American goods are great, but what can add to that is making jobs in manufacturing covetable. Employees at production plants should be just as comfortable in their workplace as a remote worker is at WeWork. Perhaps this is the secret to unlocking another level in the field of American manufacturing. Hopefully, McKelvey can be the guidepost to lead the way. To quote McKelvey himself, “I like to build spaces that are good for people.”
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