Posts filed under US Flag

Always Buy American Made USA Flags!

When discussing my business to someone unfamiliar with the flag industry, I am often asked, “what issues do you face in your business?”. I know this is a fishing question to determine if our businesses can somehow work together. Issues in the flag industry are similar to most small businesses, but a major issue right now is: the sale of counterfeit United States Flags online.

What on earth is a counterfeit US Flag? A counterfeit American Flag is a foreign made US Flag that is not labeled. Labeling laws require the Country of Origin and Material Content on the product until in the hands of the end-user.

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Why is this important? There are many online retailers that are using deceptive words to disguise the “country of origin” when adverting a United States flag product. They are not labeling the flag with the country of origin or material content, which is against the law.

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Did you know, $5,973,000 in US Flags were imported in 2017? That number is anticipated to increase in 2018.

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This deceptive behavior impacts so many individuals and businesses:
*The end-user believes they are showing their patriotism by flying a United States Flag that is made in the USA.
*The material and workmanship of a counterfeit flag could impact the reputation of manufacturers located in the USA.
*Retailers, like myself, cannot compete, price wise, with an online, illegal imported flag.
*US manufactures are in a very difficult position as their brand is being compromised. Plus, with almost $6 million dollars in imported flags coming into the US, sales are impacted, which results in a loss of American workers.

 Custom Flag Company is dedicated to selling only AMERICAN MADE US Flags. We belong to two organizations who sole purpose is to promote United States flags that are manufactured in the USA.

**National Independence Flag Dealers Association (NIFDA): ALL members must abide by a Code of Ethics where flag dealers will strictly adhere to a policy of selling US flags that are only Made in the USA.

**Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA): As a Retailer, our company agrees to only distribute US flags that are Made in the USA and include FMAA’s “Certified Made in the USA” logo.

What can you do? Next time you order an American flag online, look for the county of origin on the listing, check the flag for labeling. Is there a label ON THE FLAG stating the country of origin and material? If not, it is counterfeit. Send it back and write a negative review.

Most importantly, when ordering a flag online or in person, confirm the flag seller is a FMAA Retailer or a NIFDA Member. You will have the peace of mind knowing your United States Flag is MADE in the USA.

Here is a great article discussing this very important issue.

This is what the article discusses:

Flag Sellers Are Likely Violating Rules To Trick Americans Into Buying Chinese-Made US Flags

  • Major sellers of American flags get their products from China, an audit found.

  • The flags, in some cases, are marketed as being made of U.S.-made nylon, but are actually made of polyester typically produced in China, two labs determined.

  • The flags don’t include label that show their country origin or material content, which is required by law.

  • The Flag Manufacturers Association of American (info@fmaa-usa.com) says the flags are being sold illegally and has requested the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launch an investigation.

THANK YOU FOR READING! Again, please buy American Made USA Flags!

Posted on November 12, 2018 and filed under Flag Facts, NIFDA, Sale, US Flag.

Custom Flag Company Celebrates 20 Years!

Today marks our 20th year in business. I purchased Custom Flag Company with my dad 20 years ago. We acquired the company from a sweet couple, Don and Pat Starr who ran CFC for 15 years. Wow, how times have changed.

We began the journey in the living room of my house.  With a computer, a yellow page listing, and a brick that we called a mobile phone and started doing business. It was just me and my pops. I remember the first day, Pat Starr teaching me the world of flags. It was that day I found out a truck is not a one you drive, but a part on the top of a flagpole. I also found out the United States of America flag was only a small part of the flag industry, there are so many parts, fabrics, and pieces. I also remember our accounting system, Pat was training me to track expenses on a green ledger page. That weekend I purchased our first computer and accounting software.

Since US flags are flying at half staff today, I am reminded of our first flag lowering. The Columbine High School massacre occurred less than six months into our ownership on April 20, 1999. The tragedy hit hard as it was just 20 miles away for us and our first lowering, we are hired to lower flags and raise flags, when ordered by the President or Governor. Each and every lowering since that April day is emotional. As each flag is lowered, we are reminded of tragedy, life, death, family. Lowering flags to half-staff represents loss. Each life matters. Each flag matters.

As business grew, we hired a part-time service tech.  We are blessed to have amazing employees, now and then. Our employees become a member of the CFC family. My personal mission as a business owner is provide employees an environment for growth, professional and personal. Each employee leaves a mark here, a legacy we do not take for granted.

September 11, 2001, the next huge milestone. How does the Alan Jackson song go? Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day? As owners of a flag company, our world completely changed that September. Words cannot describe the days, weeks, and months following the terrorist attack. My life was blur for the next several months. Overnight we went from a staff of 2.5 to six employees. As businesses around us were suffering, our business was booming. Everyone wanted an American flag. Our nation was painted in red, white, and blue.

It goes without explanation that we outgrew my house pretty quickly after 9/11. The search began for a new home for Custom Flag Company. We found the perfect building, renovated it, and moved into our current headquarters in 2004. At the time, the place was huge, so much room! Now, we get creative with space for a functional work space.

2004: Installing flagpole @ CFC. Our sign had not been installed. Look at the size of the aspen trees behind the flagpole.

2004: Installing flagpole @ CFC. Our sign had not been installed. Look at the size of the aspen trees behind the flagpole.

2018: Custom Flag Company Office

2018: Custom Flag Company Office

Over the years we have encountered strong economic conditions, the great recession, and everything in between. The rock that’s been our foundation are our customers. Today I looked back at our very first invoice, a home builder, who is still our client today. The loyalty and professionalism of our client base does not go unnoticed. We appreciate you! THANK YOU!

Today, like your kids’ birthday you relive their birth story, I am reflecting on the last 20 years:
* My dad retired in 2014 and I was able to purchase his share of the company.
* I used to be the young one in the company, now I am the old one.
* DEX Yellow pages are gone, now our advertising budget consists of digital advertising. 
* We did not have a website in 1998, now our website is our major lead generator.
* Our email account was dial-up via AOL and rarely used. Our primary communication is email.
* We used to attend networking events, now we connect via social media platforms.

Change makes us strong. Change keeps us fresh. Change is good. Could you imagine if we resisted change and we still did our accounting on a green ledger page, invested in yellow page advertising, and resisted a website? We wouldn’t be where we are today.

With all the changes in 20 years, some things do remain constant:
* We value our customers and are committed to exceptional customer experience.
* Our American Flags are 100% Made in the USA.
* We strive to make a difference in our community.
* We believe in open, transparent communication, to our customers, employees, suppliers, and trade partners.

Thank you for helping us reach our 20-year mark. We look forward to an exciting future!

Kim

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Posted on October 30, 2018 and filed under CFC Staff, Events, Flagpole, US Flag, Uncategorized.

National Independent Flag Dealers Association Convention Recap

Last month Custom Flag Company attended the annual National Independent Flag Dealers Association (NIFDA) convention in San Antonio, Texas. NIFDA’s mission is to promote American made US flags. This is an opportunity for flag dealers, like ourselves, to take a few days to rejuvenate and focus on our industry.

 

The three-day convention provided a platform for us to network with our peers and suppliers. We learned about new products, techniques, and issues in our industry. The education was outstanding and this year’s focus was leadership. We heard from excellent speakers that gave us insight on leadership and provided us with hands on tools to bring home and use in our business.

 

Other highlights included a forum of Flag Manufactures of America Association (FMAA) members. They made us aware of an issue with counterfeit US flags listed on Amazon and let us know how we can help bring awareness of falsely advertised flags. Other speakers included best practices for hiring new employees and how to protect our business with a sound succession plan.

 

Our final session was truly inspirational. Retired Major General Angela Salinas, the current CEO of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, spoke of her journey in the Marine Corp. She expressed how much she respects the American flag and what it means to her and those who serve our country. We were reminded that that our work does matter.

 

Each year I am in awe of the flag industry. The caliber and ethics of the membership, the willingness to open up and share with each other, and the respect we share of the American flag truly makes our time together meaningful. 

Posted on October 22, 2018 and filed under US Flag, NIFDA, Misc-, Flag Facts, Events, Custom Flag Company News, CFC Staff.

When Should A US Flag be Retired?

I am sure we have all seen it before: A torn up, tattered, and faded US flag flying “proudly” in a highly visible location. What was your reaction?

Personally, when I come across such a situation I have to hold myself back from removing the flag. When a United States flag gets to the point of being tattered, faded, and torn it does not represent a proud, American attitude.

When your flag is tattered, you have choices:

  • Properly dispose the flag and purchase a new one

  • Clean and Repair the flag

  • Ignore the flag

Here a few guidelines Custom Flag Company uses to determine if an American flag should be retired:

Color

  • Is the RED dull, light red, or pink?

  • Does the WHITE look grey or have pollution streaks?

  • Is the BLUE starfield dull, almost grey?

  • Are the STARS fading into the blue field?

Length

  • When folded at the end of the BLUE field is stripe length shorter than the blue field?

  • Is the flag a square?

Fabric

  • Is the fabric thin?

  • Does the flag look transparent?

  • Do the fibers of the fabric look open?

  • Does the flag feel very soft?

Answering YES to any of the questions above would indicate the flag may need to be destroyed. This is not an exact protocol but a guideline. Ask yourself, would you want THIS flag hung outside your place of business? Does the tattered represent your business? Does it portray the American spirit you wish to display?

Flags that can be cleaned & repaired:

  • The color is vivid.

  • The blue has a dark blue appearance, the red is vibrant.

  • Stars look clean & bright. There is plenty of length on the fly end of the flag after the repair.

  • The fabric is thick, strong and not transparent.

Each flags life will end at some point so make sure you provide it a proper retirement. Drop if off at a local organization that retires flags or contact Custom Flag Company for more details.