We live in Oregon, which like many parts of the country has been hit hard by the recession. The recent decision by Intel to built another plant, or fab in Intel speak, in the Portland Metro area was welcome news. A new plant means thousands of construction jobs and over 1000 permanent jobs; folks who will pay taxes, buy sandwiches for lunch etc. The whole eco-system of interdependent services that goes with manufacturing.
The Intel news, the importance of domestically made product and the fact that the rainy season has started in Oregon made me think of Rite in the Rain waterproof notebooks, because generally we have notebooks on our brain. Rite in the Rain’s company history shows, that manufacturing in the USA requires different ingredients to come together to be successful; the will to manufacture where you live, perseverance, intellectual property, an efficient set up and having a unique product.
In 1916 a printer, Jerry Darling, started a company to supply paper notebooks to loggers in the Seattle Washington Area. Loggers were outside no matter what the weather and the enterprising J.L Darling company invented an oil based coating, that when applied to regular paper made it waterproof. Its waterproof paper gave the company a leg up over the competition and Rite in the Rain products became well known to anyone who needed to take notes outdoors.
Scott and Todd Silver, the current owners, grew up with the J.L. Darling company, which their dad joined in 1958 as employee number 3. Scott & Todds father grew the business and eventually became part owner. In 1994 their Dad asked them to join the company and Todd, a marketing major and Scott, a federal bank examiner knew a good thing when they saw it. A niche company with a secret water proof sauce. They became owners of the business in 1995 and set out to work. The brothers are both avid outdoors men with an interest in environmental science. They loved the business, but the oil based secret sauce bothered them. Determined to change the companies dependence on an oil based coating, they set out to invent a water based solution to make their paper water proof. (Very zen if you ask me… fight water with water). In 2005, 9 years later! They had it figured out and patented.
Now Rite in the Rain paper is made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified pulp with a water based coating and is fully recyclable. Their factory prints with soy based inks and cut offs are recycled back into the manufacturing process. The bright yellow polydura covers are made in the USA too from 100% post consumer plastic, like empty shampoo bottles. Scott and Todd were able to put their companies environmental practices on a sustainable footing. The companies environmental record now speaks as much to their love of the outdoors as its notebooks do.
Todd and Scott’s excellent adventure gives us some great journals and writing pads. Todd send us the attached image of the dumpster behind their 33,000 square foot facility in Tacoma Washington. This dumpster gets emptied once a week and is contains the grand total of non-recyclable garbage of the entire factory. Todd proudly noted that last week it was only 2/3 full.
Winter is the time for mostly very wet outdoor fun and if you are looking for gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list, Rite in the Rain journals are sure to be well received.