As a proud supporter for American Made Matters and their efforts to promote products made in America I would like to share a bit about why buying American made is important to me. Directly from the American Made Matters site:
By spreading the word about these businesses and products, the American dream is being strengthened more and more. AMM's website is steadily growing and offering a widening selection of products and services. The merchants listed on the site sell boots, clothing, tools, alcohol, luggage, jewelry, and art, just to name a few. Services you can find include printing, website and graphic design, accounting, consulting, video production, and financial services. American Made Matters makes it much easier to get connected with the terrific American entities that offer these goods and services.
Buying American helps the nation by:
- Stopping the rapid decline of manufacturing jobs in America.
- Promoting national security.
- Building a better future for our children.
- Protecting our environment.
Bear Paw Creek's Story
Founder of Bear Paw Creek, Janet Stephens, has been creating and designing creative movement props, musical instrument cases, and storage bags since 2000. What started out as a demand from music therapists, has grown to also fill a need for early childhood educators, librarians, music educators, eldercare, activity directors, and parents.
In 2012, Janet received a phone call from her longest wholesale customer saying they were going to be getting the stretchy band and hoop streamers manufactured somewhere else. With one phone call, half of her business was put at jeopardy. Through some phone calls, it was determined that there had been some misunderstanding about the products, and an agreement was made to come back to Bear Paw Creek once they were through the products they had purchased from overseas. This process took several years.
This experience could have resulted in the close of another USA based manufacturer. Instead, it became the fuel to rise above, enter new markets, and gain new wholesale customers. Janet also became passionate about learning more about USA based manufacturing and intentional about purchasing USA based supplies, whenever possible.
American Made Matters mission speaks directly to her heart, and she has been a proud member since 2012. She continues to strive to purchase American made materials and supplies whenever possible. She has a dream to have 100% of her products made with 100% American made materials. Currently there is one product, the Q Chord Gig Bag that is 95% made with USA materials. Their scarf line and chiffon streamers are 100% USA made and manufactured. 100% of the making of Bear Paw Creek products takes place in Missouri, USA by Janet, and her team of contract sewers.
As Janet has become more passionate about this subject, she is amazed at how much misinformation is out there. In working on figuring out where each component for Bear Paw Creek's products come from, she has come across interesting issues. Where someone says their material is made in the USA, with a little more digging, it is that ONE particular product is, while the majority are not. They still say ALL their products are Made in the USA. Without holding the manufacturer of products accountable, the consumer believes they ARE buying USA made, when really they are not.
You must become a detective and be intentional about where your money is going. Janet enjoys comparing products and finding American Made for her business and personal use, when at all possible. Some more information from the Made in America Movement site is helpful:
What exactly is Made in USA?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, a product is made in the USA if it is “all or virtually all” made in the USA. What does “all or virtually all” mean? That phrase “means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of US origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.” My interpretation is that, most importantly, you be honest. If it is made in the USA with domestic and imported components, say so. If it is manufactured in the USA and packaged in Mexico, say so. If it is designed and assembled in the USA but manufactured in China, say so.
Now on to the heart of the subject, why does it matter? Why should I care? I just want the best price … It matters more than we accept.
- The manufacturing powerhouse After WWII, the US was almost 50% of the global economy, bringing manufacturing to its peak. During America’s manufacturing peak we produced 80% of the world’s automobiles. Almost all of the products we used were manufactured in the US. We manufactured steel, textiles, furniture, planes, appliances, and shoes, to name a few. Well, since 2001 more than 56,000 factories have left the US. Now, I am not suggesting every single product we use needs to be manufactured here in the US, but we need to be and remain the world’s manufacturing powerhouse.
- Manufacturing employs people — At its height, US manufacturing employed more than 19 million people. Over the last couple of decades, along with losing our factories, we have lost our jobs. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manufacturing in the US currently employs just over 12 million people. Although losing more than 7 million jobs is alarming, what is more alarming is that, unlike the service sector, for every manufacturing job there are approximately 1.6 jobs created. For example, in the film, The American Made Movie, we see the Louisville Slugger, an American made product supporting a great American tradition. In order to create one baseball bat, there are: loggers to cut trees, truck drivers to deliver them to the mill, mill workers to create billets, truck drivers to deliver them to the factory to manufacture the bats, marketers to market them and retailers to sell them. Manufacturing employs people.
- Manufacturing keeps the US competitive — According to the NAM review of National Science Foundation reports, manufacturers in the US perform two-thirds of all private sector R&D in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector. Our engineers, techs, and science professionals keep us abreast of technologies, advancements, and developments.
Bear Paw Creek's hope is that this has given you some inspiration to become educated and use your money to support USA based local businesses and USA based manufacturer. Make sure to check into the details of WHERE the materials are coming from.
Here are a few more resources for you as well:
- Why Buying American Made Matters So Much
- 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy American-Made Products
- Made in America Movement