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.