You step inside a quaint mountain-town gift shop. It smells great, the owner smiles from behind their desk. You pick up an item with the town’s name on it, turn it over and are slightly taken aback—it’s made in China. It can be hard to find gifts made in the USA in some places, but here’s why it’s important.
A 2015 Consumer Reports survey found that almost 8 in 10 American consumers say they prefer buying American-made products over imported ones. Since many companies source and manufacture their products overseas and sell them locally, it can be hard for consumers to know what’s imported and what’s not. It’s clear they prefer authentic, “Made in USA” products, though.
There are so many amazing crafters, artists and innovators in the US. While most have to charge a higher price because costs here are more, the experience is much more genuine and eco-friendly.
The search for cheaper labor and materials costs has caused many companies to source and manufacture products from countries like China or Mexico. While this results in a cheaper product for the end-consumer, it doesn’t bode well for American jobs or the environment. Shipping has been projected to account for 17% of global emissions by 2050. Buying local can help reduce this number.
For something to be called “Made in the USA”, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that the item must be made with the USA from “all or virtually all” American parts. American Giant clothing is a great example of a company that sources and produces apparel in the United States.
You can check a manufactured item for its “Country of Origin” mark to determine whether it’s made in the USA. Customs and Border Protection require this mark on all imported products. Companies like Resource Revival don’t necessarily source original materials from the USA. We actually recycle what’s already been made, saving it from the landfill.
Some shoppers are looking for a bargain, but many enjoy bringing back mementos of their trips that tell the story of where they’ve been. You can provide an authentic experience for these customers by supporting local businesses and artists.
Use signs and other marketing materials to share with customers and locals that you sell items that are made in the USA. If you sell gifts sourced from all over the world, include a “Made in USA” or “made locally” section in your store to showcase these items. Some gift shop owners even use Made in USA stickers.
At Resource Revival, our goal is to recycle what already exists to lower impact on the environment. We collect used bike parts from hundreds of bike parts throughout the United States, and all of our products are handmade at our studio in Mosier, Oregon. Check out some of our handmade, Made in USA gifts.
A visually appealing gift shop display can sell items for you. When people are shopping on vacation or looking for a birthday gift for a friend, they’re not only looking for products. They’re looking for experiences.
We’ve all been here: you walk into a cluttered gift shop. You don’t really know where to start so you decide to start at the front and work your way to the back. About halfway through you’re overwhelmed with choices, so you give the shop owner a kind “thank-you” and leave.
Contrast that with how you feel when you walk into a gift shop with attractive, neatly arranged displays. Immediately you feel like you’re in an art gallery.
As a gift shop owner, you’re a curator. You have collections of products you know your customers will like. Make it easy for people to find what they want using visual merchandising, displaying items in ways that entice shoppers to enter your store and buy.
The first step to creating a display that appeals to your customer is knowing who they are and what they like. What do you already know about the people who buy from you, in terms of age and interests?
For example, someone interested in picking up a Resource Revival bike chain and bamboo coaster set is likely a cycling enthusiast who want to have something “their style” to place a nice, cold post-ride beverage on.
An important part of visual merchandising is creating a full sensory experience (known as sensory branding). People love to interact with products before they buy them. You can also build atmosphere using music your visitors will enjoy and even using scents strategically. Using a pine or clean-scented diffuser near a display of bike-related items can remind a visitor how it feels when they’re out riding their bike.
Look at your gift shop and each display as if you were a customer. A display should have a sense of balance—not symmetry but a logical placement of items, such as putting larger pieces down first as focal points. Other ways you can improve your displays include:
Try different arrangements and take note of what products you sell the most of from each display every week. Moving an item to a different area or combining it with a different set of items can change the way it catches someone’s attention—and boosts your sales!
Would you like to display handmade, eco-friendly Resource Revival products in your gift shop? Browse our items.
Running out of gift ideas for the cyclist in your life who has everything? Cyclists can be hard to buy for. They may have everything they need already and they travel light.
At Resource Revival, we specialize in handmade gifts for cyclists. We craft everything here in our Oregon shop and source our recycled bike parts from bicycle repair shops throughout the US. Here are some of our gift recommendations for the cyclist in your life.
Bicycle chain bracelets are not your average Tiffany’s pieces–they’re pretty badass. Made from used, cleaned, and polished bike chains, these bracelets look great on men or women (and are available in two sizes). They’re not heavy, but they’re strong, just like a good touring bike.
Share cycling memories with friends with a trip photo in a bicycle picture frame, or jazz up an otherwise boring office. The round bicycle chain picture frames are sleek and minimalist, while the 4” x 6” picture frames are a little edgier—perfect for an autographed photo of your favorite cyclist!
Cycling and coffee go well together, and an ice cold beer never tastes as good as it does after a full day of mountain biking. Bike chain and bamboo coasters look great on the patio, in the man-cave, and in on your coffee table. We do all the engraving here, and each coaster in a set of four has a unique bike shape.
If Friday bike-and-brews is a well-honored tradition in your house, then a bottle opener keychain that your cyclist can attach their bike lock keys to is ideal. Won’t lose the bottle opener, won’t lose the keys. The keychains are small and light enough to still fit in a jersey pocket. They’re great for bike touring trips!
Run a bike-friendly bed-and-breakfast? Add some style to your themed accommodations with a bicycle chain bowl, made completely from recycled bike chain, cleaned and manufactured right here in our Oregon shop. These are also great for your entry hall table.
Looking for something else? Check out other unique gifts for cyclists in our online shop.
Giving eco-friendly comes in one of two ways: either you do it because you want to, or you do it out of guilt. Yes, household waste increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, yes climate change is a real, but doing things out of guilt never feels good and gift-giving should always feel good.
At Resource Revival, we’ve seen firsthand the impact gift-giving has on landfills. Prior to starting the business, owner Graham Bergh worked in recycling education. On his way to work one day, he got a flat tire on his bike, and wondered what would happen to his popped inner tube. And he did something about it. Resource Revival upcycles tons of used bike parts into unique, handmade gifts people love.
We all aim to please. We love to watch our friends and family light up when they’re handed a gift from under the tree. But, does it matter whether that gift is the latest gadget? How many people do you know who have actually started exercising more because they received an activity tracking watch?
When someone receives a gift, like a new iPhone or toy, where does the old one go? Electronics are often thrown away or taken to recycling facilities. Some electronics are refurbished or recycled locally. Some end up overseas, where unprotected workers strip them to sell the valuable metals, like the gold, silver, or platinum. A lot ends up in the landfill. In 2009, 2.37 million tons of ewaste ended up in the landfills. Only 25% of that was recovered and recycled.
Giving gifts that are easier on the planet feels better. Instead of worrying whether you bought something in the right color or the newest model, you can give something with a story, something that supported a local family, or something that someone put a lot of effort and love into building.
If you’re strapped for time, don’t stress yourself out trying to make a ton of homemade gifts because you want to give eco-friendly. There are several ways to give eco-friendly gifts this holiday season.
Local handmade items crafted from recycled or eco-friendly materials make thoughtful and environmentally conscious gifts. Check out local craft markets, gift shops, and food stores. Depending where you live, you can find everything from sustainably-sourced clothing to handmade soap to picture frames made from recycled bicycle chain.
Gifts don’t have to cost a lot to impress the receiver. Gifting movie tickets, cooking classes, or other local experiences gets your friend or family member out into their community. If your friend is a busy single parent, offer to babysit. Teach someone how to do their own taxes. There are many ways to give that don’t involve physical products.
Fair trade products ensure that items are sourced from somewhere where workers are paid and treated fairly. Buy cosmetic products that contain organic ingredients and aren’t tested on animals. Read a company’s social and environmental responsibility policy before buying their products online. Look for the fair trade symbol on coffee and chocolate.
There is such a competitive feeling during the holidays. Family members aim to out-give each other. Everyone wants to have the most-prized gift under the tree. It detracts from the real meaning of this season: spending quality time with family and friends, celebrating each other, and being thankful for what we already have.
Don’t feel the pressure this season. Instead of focusing on the amount you’ll spend or whether you’re getting the newest model of something (let’s be honest, it’ll be outdated next year anyway), gift something unique with a story. Gift something that you can feel good about, knowing that people who made it and the environment were treated fairly.
Check out our eco-friendly handmade gifts. Reduce, reuse, rebike!