Sunny lifestyle, good design, quality workmanship, a healthy environment—customers react positively to the California brand. That is what local manufacturers told us in focus groups, as part of LA Mayor Garcetti’s MAKE IT IN LA study.

Many manufacturers include California in their brand identity because of the positive feelings it conjures. And as of this August, the Governor’s office has a new program that allows products substantially made in the state to use an official “CA Made” brand. This licensing program was ratified by the legislature earlier this year and is overseen by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

“The California brand is so strong–overseas in particular,” explains Jesse Torres, Deputy Director of GO-Biz. “It’s like a guarantee of quality that resonates globally.” His is eager to get great manufacturers signed up in the new year, to help expand the brand’s momentum around the world.

Is your company interested in pursuing this designation? Here are a few things you might want to know:

  • The label is awarded on a product-by-product basis.
  • Products with the label must be “substantially made” in California (at least 51% of wholesale value added) and lawfully able to use the “Made in the U.S.A.” label, as described here.
  • Your product must get certified through a third party, after which time you can apply for the designation with the state. Certification must be done every three years. The process is explained here.
  • Applications are accepted continuously; there is no deadline.
  • The brand is aimed at a wide range of products, including apparel, furniture, software, art, household goods, handmade items, and toys. The exceptions are food and agricultural products, which are licensed under the CA Grown program.
  • The licensing fee ranges between $100-150 per company depending on number of products licensed, and does not include the certification fee.

The Governor’s office is eager to hear from manufacturers to learn how the state can make the program more valuable to them. CA Made is partnering with MAKE IT IN LA and other organizations around the state to reach out to constituents, host focus groups, and get feedback on the program. The state is eager to hear input, such as:

  • What do you think of the program?
  • What would make it easier to participate?
  • Is there value to you?

If you are a manufacturer and want to be invited to a roundtable about CA Made and other policy issues, email us. Let us know what your company manufactures and we’ll put you on the invitation list for the next event, tentatively scheduled for February 7. (If you also have thoughts on the program right now, feel free to include your ideas in the email and we’ll pass along the information in the meantime.)

“We are looking for companies who are committed to manufacture locally, and to broaden the number of California-made products they produce,” says Torres. “We hope this licensing program will help California companies grow their business, and they will carry the logo with pride.”