Holiday shopping season is upon us again.
As we mentioned earlier in the week, one of the earliest trends this year is buying American-made products. For example, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's organization, Patriot Voices, announced a "Made in USA Christmas Challenge" yesterday.
However, many of our Facebook fans have expressed concern over how to find American-made products. Their point is understandable, since it seems retail stores sell so many imported items.
Below you'll find some ideas on how to buy American-made products, but this list is by no means exhaustive. If you have tips to share please include them in the comments, tweet them at us, or post them on Facebook.
- Internet research. Google can help you find American-made versions of anything you’re looking for, assuming that those items are still being produced domestically. A simple Google search for “American-made (name of item here)” should get you started. Not looking for anything specific? That’s fine too. There are a number of sites that exist solely for the purpose of cataloguing American-made products. Two such sites are USAonly.US and Americansworking.com, but there are plenty of others. Just remember, some sites are updated more frequently than others. Be prepared to find manufacturer’s websites have moved, changed, or in some cases, the companies may have gone out of business.
Check out websites that are devoted to shopping for American-made goods.
-KeepAmerica.com functions more like a typical shopping website. Launched because of one father’s frustration in not being able to find American-made toys for his kids, this site offers a wide array of items and should simplify shopping.
-Proud American Trading Post. This site features items of all kinds, specifically from companies that may not yet be big enough for national, chain stores.
- Keep it local. This doesn’t necessarily mean shopping at locally-owned stores. While that’s a great thing to do, remember that even “mom and pop shops” sell products made overseas. So check those labels! In this case, to keep it local, visit crafts and art fairs that happen this time of year. Don’t have anything like that in your area? Check out Etsy where literally thousands of people and companies sell items they’ve crafted. Sellers have profiles which include their location and there’s a way to contact the sellers through the site if you have any questions.
Keep up with blogs dedicated all year long to highlighting American-made products. Many of these kinds of blogs have existed for years and there are plenty of archival posts for you to weed through. Again, with some research you could certainly find many blogs dedicated to this topic, but here are a few to get you started;
-Made in U.S.A. Challenge. Sarah Mazzone, who runs the site, has been posting about American-made products individually and also has posted some gift guides. Her site features an option to see a master list of all products she’s written about.
-The Modestics Blog. This site is not yet a year old, but already is full of info about American-made products. Like Made in U.S.A. Challenge, this site also has gift guides.
Use your words – keywords that is. Any shopping site you visit probably has a search bar. In that search bar you can put the words “Made in USA” or something comparable. (Mix it up, try variations.) Products with that phrase in their description will pop-up. Similarly, if you use social networks like Tumblr and Pinterest (and if you do, you should follow us!), you can search the tags on those sites for “Made in USA” as well. One important tip – corroborate. If you see an item labeled as “American-made” on a shopping website or social network but you suspect it may be a mistake, go to the manufacturer’s website and check. Can’t find it there? Call them and corroborate.
Recently, at AAM we found an item labeled as “Made in the USA” on the website of a major retail store. When we called the company that manufactures the product we learned it’s actually Made in China. Verify.
- Let us help you. Each day from the Friday following Thanksgiving to December 24, we will post a gift idea on our blog. Sometimes they’ll be age- or gender-specific, and the price ranges will vary, but we hope when the month is over, we’ll have posted something of interest to everyone.
Good luck with your shopping. And if you find any great items or sweet deals, don’t hesitate to tweet them at us, or post them on our facebook wall!