The co-founders of Maine-based clothing company Origin USA are celebrating more growth and success after betting on the U.S. supply chain and American pride.
"I can tell you the primary factor that's driving the success of this business is patriotism," co-founder Jocko Willink said in an appearance on "Varney & Co." Friday. "Americans love America, and they want to buy American-made products. And that's what we're making here, 100%."
Willink, a Navy SEAL veteran, and Origin’s CEO Pete Roberts have seen a 700% increase in sales over the last three years after expanding its operations and workforce within the U.S.
Origin makes everything from apparel to footwear, fitness gear and nutritional supplements entirely within the American supply chain, and went full steam ahead by doubling employee numbers and acquiring new factories during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think the pandemic exposed the weakness in the supply chain coming into America," Willink said. "So we were in a great spot where we have an American supply chain, we have it all here, and we kept going."
Roberts also told FOX Business’ Madison Alworth on Friday that the company operates on a "totally different" retail model they call "factory-to-consumer."
"It's about casting a light on the makers, like the American muscle behind me, making denim blue jeans in America. But it goes a step further," Roberts explained. "If you follow the box that you receive in the mail back to the source, you're going to end up in a field talking to a farmer. That's the American supply chain we're trying to reclaim."
The business leaders’ comments come just one week after a supply chain expert warned that more importers and retailers are signaling a shipping "decline coming about" and carrying into the new year.
"I went into a major retailer recently just to get a feel of the products in there, and I'm seeing summer goods when it should be fall and winter goods for children," Alba Wheels Up International founder and president Salvatore Stile had said on "Mornings with Maria." "So I really think that especially 2023 is going to be very dismal."
Origin’s CEO expanded on the importance of helping others recognize that the U.S. supply chain has been "lost," and teaching how to recreate it.
Estimates point to China currently controlling 70% to 80% of the rare earth industry, according to Australia’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor. Australia has some of the world’s largest rare earth reserves and announced last month four projects to tap into those deposits. However, China still houses almost all the rare earth processing centers in the world.
Experts say one of the most pressing needs for a domestic supply chain is in rare earth minerals. Those minerals are used to make 5G equipment, semiconductors and magnets for fighter jets, and are considered a key ingredient for the future of electric car batteries.
"We've got to restore the machines because they've been sold to the lowest bidder, China, over the past 30 years," Roberts said. "Then it's all about restoring our communities and really building that heartbeat of America, which starts in the melting pot of these factories like we have here in Maine."
FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence and Tyler Kendall contributed to this report.