On a mission to shake things up, Made In cookware launches today. The premium, direct-to-consumer cookware company was founded by Boston-based Bradford “Chip” Malt and Jake Kalick to offer everyday cooks with high-quality equipment at affordable prices. The other significant mission was to provide people with only what’s necessary—no huge sets of multiple pans if you just need one. Products can be purchased individually, in kits or in customizable “Build Your Kitchen” sets.
All products are manufactured in the USA at a family-owned factory, made from American-mined materials. Kalick says, “Authenticity is important to us, so the fact that Chip and I were able to sit down with multiple generations of the factory-owners over dinner and strategize together how to get an amazing new product to market was a great experience.” Their approach was to perfect their product first, and then have the company grow around that. “We needed a manufacturer that understood what we were trying to do—take the whole premium kitchen tool industry, innovate on it, and move it online—and that was met with a ton of resistance for the most part,” Malt says, “Our American manufacturing partners were really the only ones to get what we are trying to do, so we give them a ton of credit for their forward thinking.” Not only that, but each product is crafted using environmentally responsible methods.
Kalick’s experience in the industry led to a unique take on their business model; his family had been in kitchen design and outfitting for some time so he understood the mark ups from manufacturer to seller and everybody between. As he explains, “These items would need to be priced to cover the overhead costs of things like physical real estate storefronts that are insanely expensive, and these expenses get passed on to the consumer.” But the direct-to-consumer model, of course, allows them to lessen those mark-ups. “We took the money that traditionally gets pocketed by retailers and put more money into the product construction, such as premium American metals that resist rust and corrosion and also give a lot of that savings back to the consumer,” Kalick says. Thus, Made In sells their wares at 52% of competitors’ prices.
Made In is passionate about pleasing their customers and listening to their feedback, and the close connection between brand and client makes this possible. The brand connects directly through “a feedback loop between Made In and its consumers through reviews, customer service inquiries and social media. Traditionally, retailers operate on a buying schedule, which means that they have already bought most of their 2018 products. We’ll be able to take feedback from our consumers and turn iterations of our product two or three times faster than traditional retail can.”
Of course, none of the aforementioned factors amount to much if the product isn’t premium. And as Malt explains, “There is a reason why you can find a ‘stainless steel cookware set’ for dirt cheap from big brands. It is because those manufacturers are using cheap metal and manufacturing techniques, which creates cookware that you’ll need to replace in a year.”
Made In’s products are constructed of five-ply metal composition (stainless and aluminum), which as Malt says “combines the durability of stainless steel with the heat retention properties of aluminum. We use three layers of thick aluminum, which means we’ve created a pan that will maintain its heat when you drop a cold steak on it, resulting in a perfect crust.” This composition has usually been available in premium and high-end cookware. After surveying home cooks, Made In came up with several more important goals they wanted to reach to make their product practical. For city-dwellers, they found that being able to stack their cookware was important. The solution according to Malt was to design the fry-pan handles “to arch up to reduce their stacked-footprint, and our stock pot handles allow the five-quart to nestle seamlessly into the eight-quart.” We’ve been testing the cookware for several weeks and have been very happy with its performance, especially having handles of hot pans that are merely warm to the touch.
Another finding from their studies was that home cooks oftentimes complained of burning their hands on their frying pans. To fix that issue, Malt says, “We engineered our long handles in a way in which the majority of the handle dissipates heat and stays cooler while on a burner.” Finally, based on feedback, Made In wanted to address making non-stick and stainless steel surfaces dishwasher-safe—a mission they are proud to have successfully conquered.
Launching today, Made In cookware is available online, with prices ranging from $69 to $149.
Images courtesy of Made In