Manufacturing in Washington State

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After California, Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States. Washington State is home to the headquarters of many large corporations like Starbucks,, and Microsoft. However, many people may not know that the state is also a leader in manufacturing.

State Of Manufacturing

Shipbuilding and aircraft were the first large manufacturing industries in the state. For a long period, Seattle was the primary port for trade with Alaska and the rest of the country, resulting in a large shipbuilding industry. When the U.S. entered World War I, Boeing manufactured and shipped Model C planes to the Navy. During World War II, the state became focused on production for war industries. Boeing produced many of the nation’s heavy bombers, and four cities hosted ports that were available for warship manufacturing.

Boeing B-17E

Today, transportation remains the top industry with aerospace, ships and airplanes bringing in more than $30million annually. As this industry is constantly growing, we can see how it is affecting other industries within the state. There are many Washingtonians that are joining the Maker’s Movement by creating, developing, and producing their products locally. Resources like Maker’s Row are helping these leaders launch and grow their business.

A Part of Washington’s Maker Community

Zoe Sherman is the founder of The Draft Shop, a goods development and production company based in Seattle, WA. She shared with us her inspiration for starting The Draft Shop and the climate of manufacturing in Washington.

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“When I was young I thought I wanted to create a clothing label of my own. I took time away from work, had a tiny studio and I buckled down to get on my way. I quickly realized I was way over my head and didn’t know where to turn for help. So it didn’t work out. I went back to work determined to absorb and learn as much as could.”

“The more I thought about it the more I realized that that hidden and closed door policy of the sewn industry was archaic.  I started The Draft Shop because I see a real need for change in this industry on so many levels. One of the first ways I thought I could bring about some change is by helping to bridge the gap between people with ideas and the people who can make those ideas a reality.


“I still have a lot learn. With every new project comes new challenges and new skills. I believe that by fostering an open dialog with our peers in the industry that we all become able to overcome these challenges. The manufacturing industry in Seattle feels like it’s on a tiny up tick. I’m proud and excited to be a part of it and hope to help it grow and advance even further in the coming year and years to come.” 

Consider supporting the Made in Washington Movement by working with the apparel and furniture factories.  Message The Draft Shop or browse the 139 manufacturers based in Washington.

Did you know if you submit a project, Maker’s Row will help you find a factory match for free?

makers row projects

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