I keep reading on blogs that Made in the USA is trendy. There are all sorts of negative connotations that goes along with the word “Trendy”. There’s the Lindsey Lohan Mean Girls fake sense of the word. It also implies that it’s temporary. I like to think of Made in the USA as being sustainable and lasting. Made in the USA is more than a Trend; It’s a Movement.
There are the Trends that I’m noticing within the Movement:
Markings: I’m seeing a lot more companies prominently stamp “Made in the USA”, “American Made”, “Product of the USA” on products as well as websites and marketing materials. I don’t know if more companies are actually making products in the US, or if more companies are just marketing that they are. Either way it seems more and more companies are promoting themselves to be American Made. It takes out the guess work and the research about where the products are made. It also alleviates uncomfortable conversations with store clerks, “Do you know where this is made?”
Established in: I’m also seeing a lot more of “Established in such and such year”. Classic companies that have been around for decades like J.W. Hulme (est. 1905) are proud of their history and traditions and they want you to know about it. As well as new companies like flash site Made Collection (est. 2012), and Flint and Tinder (est. 2011) want you to know they are laying down roots and plan to stay around a while. Seeing that, customers can feel like they are a contributing to growing a brand beyond its infancy. They can say with pride “I knew them since they started on Kickstarter in 2011.”
Handmade: A term that is frequently interchanged with Made in the USA are terms like “handmade”, “artisan made”, “individually crafted”. What used to be looked down on as “crafty” is now respected. Part time Do It Yourselfers had more time to devote to their craft during the down economy, resulting in more of an appreciation for the handmade. Websites like Etsy are brimming with handmade items made in the US. Indies flock to juried craft shows like the Renegade Craft Fair, and Unique which have shows all over the country throughout the year that feature local artisans selling straight to their customers. These craft fairs give emerging artists an opportunity to grow a customer following. At the same time you can be proud that your purchase directly impacted their own economic growth.
Direct-To-You Selling: A direct to you model (rather than through typical retail paths) is not just for small independent craftsmen, bigger companies are following this trend as well. I don’t know if this is so much of a trend rather than a necessity. Purchasing direct from the manufacturer cuts out the middle man and reflects savings that typically get put on the consumer, and ensure high end goods at reasonable costs. Companies like American Giant admittedly state on their website “Making apparel in the United States does cost more, but it need not negatively impact the quality or price of your clothing. To offset this cost, we eliminate all the costs that aren’t directly tied to building great product — big advertising budgets, fancy retail stores, and expensive wholesale partners — clearing a path to bring you American made craftsmanship at a great value, made right here.”
What just 4 or 5 years ago was a challenge, it’s now easier than ever to find American Made. It’s exciting to see so many are starting to get on board with the trend / movement (whatever you would like to call it). If you’re one to follow trends and buying Made in the USA to be cool, I say – “Thank you!” It IS cool! Reading labels and caring where your products come from make you a conscious consumer. What could be cooler than that? Everyone from Teenagers to Grandmas, from Republicans to Democrats are raising their personal cool factor and joining in. Making it in America, supporting U.S. manufacturing and buying American made is one thing we can all do to help keep the American dream alive. It’s a trend that we can all stand behind.