The Modern Factory: SFMade Brings Manufacturing Back to San Francisco

Posted by MacKenzie Fegan

For the past three weeks, the Edge of Progress tour has traveled across the country, interviewing innovators in New York, Chicago, Austin, and Los Angeles. This is the final interview.

For most Americans, working in factories was so 50 years ago. Today only 10 percent of the workforce is employed by the manufacturing sector, as compared to 34 percent in 1950. Some might see this as progress, especially since factory work is often associated with long hours, mind-numbing assembly line work, and windowless facilities.

But SFMade promotes manufacturing of a different kind, and it's on a crusade to bring those jobs back to San Francisco. Companies in the SFMade network see their workers as artisans, not cogs in a machine, and their craftsmanship can be seen in products ranging from small-batch chocolates to sturdy-yet-stylish messenger bags.