What’s In a Brand Name?

I just bought a new winter coat. I’ve needed one for a while, as I’ve pretty much worn all my others to rags. Hazards of farm living, I think — everything gets worn out for farm work eventually.

The coat I bought doubles as a farm coat and an office coat. When funds are spare, you quickly learn to make your clothes multi-task. Thanks to a lovely Christmas donation from my sister-in-law (and a 15% manager’s sale), what I ended up with is a nice, heavy-weight coat from Tractor Supply.

For those not familiar, TSC typically deals in two brands of winter work gear — Carhartt and Schmidt. Now, I’m a fan of Carhartt. My in-laws gave me a nice set of heavy bib coveralls a couple of years back, and after wearing them for an hour or two of barn work in January, I’m typically drenched in sweat. Saying they keep me warm is a bit of an understatement.

The trouble with Carhartt is that all their stuff is expensive. They are to farm winter wear what Levi or Abercrombie are to blue jeans. This time around, I decided to go with TSC’s other brand, Schmidt. I picked the heaviest weight coat I could find and brought it home.

I’ve been exceptionally happy with it already.

Which begs the question in the title of this post — what’s in a name brand? If this sample is representative, then both Carhartt and Schmidt are effectively equivalent in terms of quality. The only difference I see between the two is the name of the brand — and the price tag. I don’t really think, given my experience so far, that Carhartt merits paying twice as much as for Schmidt products, but then again I also won’t pay twice as much for my blue jeans when a product half the cost will do just as well, especially since all my clothes end ultimately end up in the barnyard anyway.

There are some products in which I am name-brand loyal, but Carhartt is not one of them. I’d much rather make every dollar in my wallet as far as I can. Hopefully, this coat will last for several years — and I suspect my next cost will also be a Schmidt.

6 thoughts on “What’s In a Brand Name?”

  1. I see this is an old post but I wanted to add to it. I work in the weather as an HVAC tech so I put winter gear through its paces I am in the commercial side of it so lots of cold windy roofs and I have been loyal to carhardt for twenty years I received some C.E.Schmidt outerwear as a gift this ain’t the junky stuff I thought it was by a long shot durability is pretty much the same and I think the Schmidt gear edges Carhardt on warmth a bit the value of the C.E. Schmidt is outstanding and I am changing my preference

    1. I’m still using the coat I talked about in this post. It’s held up extremely well over the years, and I’ve put it through some brutal treatment and exceptionally cold winters. Schmidt still carries my seal of approval.

    1. I prefer to buy American wherever I can, too, but when the price point is as significant as it is between Schmidt and Carhartt for a product that’s effectively comparable, unfortunately, it’s cost that’s usually going to win out for me.

  2. Don’t fool yourself. Not all of Carhartt’s clothing is made in the USA. They have four manufacturing plants in Mexico making Carhartt labeled clothing. I have a pair of Mexico made Carhartt pants in my home. Other Carhartt clothing products are tagged made in China.

    1. That honestly doesn’t surprise me one bit. It’s hard to find products that are 100% American-made. When the bottom line is what really matters to most companies, you’re going to find a lot of production outsourced to outside the country. That’s just the way things are.

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