Why I Commit to Manufacturing My Decks in the USA

Why I Commit to Manufacturing My Decks in the USA

For the past five years, I've partnered with a U.S.-based printer to produce my decks, Shuffled Ink. They are a small family-owned business. Although this choice costs me four to five times more than printing them in China, the benefits greatly outweigh the expense, even though I still price my decks similarly to those printed in China to compete and keep my work accessible. 


Here are some of the main reasons why I chose American manufacturing for my indie decks:


Intellectual Property Protection: A primary reason for my commitment is to safeguard my artwork. So far, I have found three of my mass-produced decks counterfeited and sold online through "bargain" sites. I believe most of the artwork thefts started at the factory level in China—copies of my Wise Dog Tarot were found online before the official launch of the U.S. Games. In contrast, by sticking with U.S. production, I significantly reduce the risk of such infringements. The temptation to cut costs is real, especially because it would allow me to add little extras like gilded edges, but protecting my work is paramount.


Direct Communication, No Middlemen: Working with Shuffled Ink eliminates the need for intermediaries like those necessary when printing in China. This direct line not only simplifies communication but also speeds up the process. I can call or text my contact, who is often onsite, ensuring that my decks are printed exactly to my specifications. Also, I like knowing I can visit Shuffled Ink pretty easily; it may be a long flight from Seattle, but it is not as long going overseas!


Stringent Quality Control: My U.S. printer sends hard copies for my approval—sometimes two or three—to ensure everything is perfect. On the rare occasion, if there is an issue, replacements are quickly printed and sent out. This level of quality control is something I can consistently rely on.


Faster Turnaround: Domestic production means no overseas shipping delays or customs clearance issues. Customs delays can add weeks to a project! My decks ship directly from the U.S. to your doorstep—no container ship needed! Also, there is no risk of an entire print run of decks being damaged or lost at sea! 


Supporting Local Economy and Ensuring Ethical Labor Practices: By manufacturing in the U.S., I avoid the risk of any unethical labor practices or involuntary labor that can occur abroad when you don't know who is doing your printing.


And finally, 


Environmental Responsibility: The U.S. enforces ecological regulations, ensuring that my decks are produced according to EPA laws. You may have noticed that my decks ship free of plastic. I made that choice because they ship directly from the press floor (or from me) to you. Anything I can do as a producer that limits the amount of plastic put into a landfill somewhere is important; every little bit helps!


Although the temptation to increase my profit margins is real, especially during tight months, the risk of losing my work to counterfeiters plays a more significant role in my decision to keep printing in the U.S. Sure, printing in the U.S. does not guarantee my work won't be stolen. Still, if there is anything I can do to make it harder on those who steal from artists, I will do it. 






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