- January 23, 2017

This Austin-Based Shoemaker Wants To Change The Whole Manufacturing Industry


Joshua Bingaman is a recognizable name around town. Footwear from his company, HELM Boots, dons just about every well-dressed Austinite from musicians to execs, each making a statement that says: these boots are more than just a pair a shoes, they’re a lifestyle.

HELM Boots was founded in 2009, and while production originally took place overseas, Bingaman moved his company stateside in 2012. Unfamiliar with the state of America’s manufacturing industry at the time, Bingaman says the move opened his eyes to the importance of locally made goods.

In an op-ed recently published in Forbes, Bingaman reflects on what the incoming administration’s agenda to “put America first” might look like for his company. He wrote:

“I don’t have a solid answer [for how it will look]. But I do know this: In order to ‘put America first’ and provide more jobs than any other president since World War II, our political system needs to stop looking to the past.”

In his essay, he encouraged the President-elect and his administration to reconsider their opinions on NAFTA, stating such programs and trade deals are “worth embracing,” as they allow companies like his own to buy and sell to America’s neighbors. He writes that such interactions “strengthen our economy” and allow for more jobs.

Bingaman’s final push is a call to action for Washington, urging our political leaders to pass bills that invest in early education and to build pride amongst our nation. He concludes with this:

“If we truly want to empower our country and invigorate what’s left of American manufacturing…the hard work worth doing must be done in a place we’re proud to do it, with a government we’re proud to do it with.”

You can read Bingaman’s op-ed in its entirety here.


Featured image courtesy of Facebook.