Earlier in July, Made In Cookware reached out to us to introduce themselves. After chatting with them and looking at their website, we were quickly intrigued by this American made brand. We ordered some of their products to test ourselves and vetted their production process, and boy were we impressed. The heat control of their frying pans and the ability for their handles to stay cool during the cooking process really stood out to us (See: best cookware made in the USA). After our vetting process, we reached out to Chip Malt, their co-founder, to learn more about Made In. What unfolded was a great conversation about their founding, U.S. based production process, products, and the future for Made In cookware. As you’ll read, they truly listen to their customers – recognizing their pain points and working to resolve them. And did we mention they provide a ton of educational content? More on that later.
Below is our interview with Chip and Made In, a great American brand. Our questions are marked with “AAR” and Chip’s responses with “MI”. Enjoy!
Brief History of Made In
Made In was founded in 2016 by Jake Kalick and Chip Malt, two lifelong buddies who, as you’ll find out, have quickly taken off as one of the dark horses in the cookware industry, producing some of the best American made cookware out there. Here is their story in Chip’s own words.
AAR: Give us a flavor of the history of Made In Cookware in your own words.
MI: Jake and I grew up together since we were 5 years old in Boston and both of us always loved to cook. When we both moved to New York City after college, we’d host dinners at Jake’s apartment once a month to keep our friend group close amongst the NYC madness. Jake’s family has always been in the kitchen space. His grandfather started a commercial kitchen supply company about 100 years ago and most recently he was the third-generation family member to run it, so he knew the benefits of nice cookware and tools. I, on the other hand, did not have access to the same kitchen gear that he did, nor did I want to shell out the money for All-Clad pricing.
In the summer of 2016, we decided to found Made In to bring authentically sourced, premium kitchen tools to the masses by cutting out the middleman and delivering factory-direct. Cooking is very personal, people form an attachment to the kitchen, so we built Made In’s product sourcing with that in mind. We decided to name the company “Made In” since we believe that the best experiences are “Made In” our kitchens; whether that is exploring a culture through their cuisine, hosting a date night or dinner party, or mastering a recipe passed down through generations.
AAR: What made you want to get started?
MI: As I mentioned, cooking had always been a part of both of our lives and part of Jake’s family’s for literally a century. We didn’t just stumble upon the category of cookware and decide to start a company in the space. We realized that Jake knew of all these brands in the kitchen space, but that the majority of people couldn’t even name the cookware brand that they used 4-7 times a week. There was no brand affinity and that is because no kitchen company seems to care about the consumer. We decided we wanted to create a brand that inspired home cooks and made cooking and hosting fun again. We’re spending a lot of time and resources on brand-content that is both educational and fun to help home chefs understand that they can make restaurant-quality food in their own home (and then throw an amazing dinner party to show it off).
AAR: How many U.S. based employees do you have and in what locations?
MI: We are entirely U.S. based and have 5 full-time employees. Our factory is U.S. based as well and between them and some external contract and agency employees, we rely on another 30 or so employees.
AAR: Why do you choose to manufacture in the U.S.?
MI: We have built an amazing relationship with our factory. We have dinners with them, travel with them, and are at the factory or on the phone with them daily. As I mentioned, food and cooking are very personal. You and your family and friends ingest what comes into contact with our products. Because of this, we didn’t just want to outsource our production, send some money somewhere, and receive a product back in a few months. We wanted to personally know the people that were punching the cookware, polishing it, packaging it, and getting it safely to our customers.
It also allows us to listen to our customers and make product innovations quickly. The saucier pan is a perfect example of this. We launched without one and within a few months we had a ton of requests for a saucier pan. We worked directly with our metal suppliers and our factory to get all the parts necessary to produce one within a few months and get it to market. A traditional company, especially one that outsources everything, would take about a year (if ever) to make that product innovation.
Made In produces their cookware right alongside the third-generation family-owned business that Jake’s family has been running for 100 years. Here is a video straight from Made In that goes deeper on how they produce each one of their quality cookware pieces.
Made In makes all of the essentials you need for your kitchen: frying pans, sauciers, saute pans, sauce pots, and more. Here are some of their most popular products, along with a little description of each one straight from Chip.
12″ Stainless Steel Frying Pan (Best Seller)
MI: A kitchen is not complete without frying pans. Our 10 or 12-inch naked stainless steel frying pan is our overall best seller. It has a better balance and feel than some of the other premium brands and heats up very evenly.
Nonstick Frying Pan (Critically Acclaimed)
MI: People also love our nonstick frying pans. They’ve been critically-acclaimed in various publications. We triple cure them for longevity and durability and all the coating is safe and from the U.S.
Saucier (Also Very Popular)
MI: Lastly, our saucier is a top seller. It is an item that not many people naturally have in their kitchen, so we’re excited to bring it to our line.
Made In: Putting the Customer First
AAR: What do your customers love most about you and your products?
MI: We have a huge dedication to customer service. We always say that our relationship with our customers does not end, but really begins with our customers when they purchase. At traditional retail, All-Clad sells to Williams-Sonoma who then sells to you. All-Clad really has no way to directly communicate with the person that ends up buying the product, nor do they really care to. We want to create a relationship with our customers. We want to hear their feedback, product suggestions, help them through difficulties of cooking, and provide them with interesting and inspiring content. Amanda is our head of customer service and she genuinely cares about everyone who writes in. If you have ever contacted us, chances are you’ve heard from her quickly.
AAR: What makes your product unique vs. the competition?
MI: We interviewed 100 home chefs before launching Made In about what bothered them about the incumbents in the space. We heard things like that home chefs would always burn themselves on handles that heat up on the stove, that they had to buy full sets when they really only needed one or two pieces, and that lids were a pain in the ass. We took this feedback directly to our business model and have developed cookware that the handle stays cool, we’re launching a universal lid in the coming months, and have a-la-carte and bundle pricing to accommodate any buyer. We’re really trying to make the cookware buying process much more enjoyable and also develop products based specifically on the needs of the home cook, not Thomas Keller.
AAR: What gets you excited about the future of Made In? Where are you headed?
MI: We think we have a golden opportunity to create a new brand in a space that we think is pretty stale and hasn’t changed in the last few decades. We’re working towards offering core kitchen products across different types and have some pretty exciting new products releasing later this year and in early 2019. So stay tuned! We are also creating some awesome chef partnerships all with a focus of bringing fun, educational kitchen content to our customers.
We are extremely excited about the future for Made In – the sky is the limit for this awesome cookware maker. Thank you Chip for taking the time to chat with us and best of luck!