We Believe...

In a fair marketplace, where small businesses and small towns can grow and prosper. Our creative community contributes 14 billion to the US economy.

The 21st Century "Factory"

New producers just like other start-ups, don't launch in a big factory, they begin in garages and spare bedrooms. They start on kitchen tables.

Main Street & The Creative Community

Creative people are the pioneers in the building of the "new economy." From Seattle to Miami Beach and Portland Maine to San Diego culture is the magnet that fuels tourism and self reliance.

Are Manufacturing Jobs Coming Back?

Big factories are closing, but home-based and studio-based makers are filling the gap. President Obama, it's time to look beyond the high-tech sector... to mini-facturers.

The American Made Show

The largest wholesale show for authentic American products. Washington, DC January 15-19. Join 700 designer makers and 3,000 independent retail business owners.

Buy American

UNCLE SAM: We Want YOU to Buy American Made Good The dearth of American-made gift and souvenir products in the Smithsonian’s gift shops is an old problem that needs new solutions. ABC World News with Diane Sawyer reported that most items sold in the Smithsonian shops are made in China. The reporters would have found similar situations had they visited the gift shops of many national parks and historic sites. It’s not entirely fair to blame Uncle Sam: In many cases, these stores are managed by independent companies, contractors and concessionaires instead of federal agencies. Like all other retailers, they face price tag pressures. At the end of the day, imports are often cheaper than American-made products. At least the imports in the Smithsonian shops bear labels informing the consumer that the items are made in China. Less scrupulous retailers have taken to removing or covering country-of-origin labels, to dupe the shopper. Even more heinous are the collaborators who steal the designs of hard-working American artisans and manufacturers, commission knock-off goods overseas, and then send the look-alike products back into the U.S. market at prices that undercut the originals. Make no mistake: This robs us all. It ruins the market for American made products, it deprives the originators of the value of their creations, and it destroys jobs for American small businesses. That, in turn, hurts Main Street’s economy and the communities we live in. Senator Bernie Sanders ( I-Vt.) recently addressed this topic in a letter to Brent Glass, director of the National Museum of American History. The senator bemoaned the lack of American-made items in the museum store. He was correct when he wrote: “As a nation, we have all got to be aware that one of the major reasons unemployment in this country is so high is because it is increasingly difficult to find products in our nation’s stores that are manufactured in this country.” In other words, price point is not the only point that matters. These businesses should recognize the privilege and symbolism inherent in their unique locations at taxpayer-owned and federally funded institutions. It is more than reasonable that cultural travelers, school groups, tourists and federal workers expect to find American products in the stores inside American institutions. Outcry from policymakers and consumers will help, but we’ve heard it before. It’s going to take fresh ideas, collaboration and new policy to influence the stores to stock and promote more authentically American products. Policy writers and lawmakers: Fund access-to-market education for the small, studio-based makers who can fill Uncle Sam’s stores with affordable American-made products. Yes, these manufacturers do exist. Organizations such as our American Made Alliance can identify thousands of them. Many are home-based or studio-based small businesses that are already filling orders from retailers. Many are unfamiliar with the federal procurement system through which some U.S. institution-based stores must acquire goods. Most do not sell through distributors. They are poised to grow and even to create jobs, if only they could win more contracts and orders on a national level. It starts with education. Help us fight the retail fraud that steals the American maker’s living. We need enforcement of existing country-of-origin indelible marking laws, which require a permanent identifying mark on imported products. Enforcement would deter the use of paper stickers that are easily removed or covered by a price tag. The smallest of the small manufacturers, solo ventures and studio-based businesses with three or fewer employees, need a voice at the policymaking table. Stop treating them like hobbyists: they are micro-enterprises. Amend your classification systems to accurately count them as manufacturers and calculate their contribution to the economy. Our industry’s last comprehensive study estimated that craft workers made a $14 billion economic impact, and that was based on data from several years ago; an update is in the works. Retailers and concessionaires at taxpayer-owned institutions: Send your buyers to the wholesale trade shows that exhibit authentically American-made jewelry, home and fashion accessories, souvenir items and art works. Slapping an institution logo or label on a cheap imported souvenir does not transform it into an American product. Instead, buy from local artisans who can customize products for you. Our database lists 88 federally backed museums, sites and parks with gift stores. Of these, only 10 have ever visited the Buyers Market of American Craft, the premier wholesale trade show showcasing products by U.S. and Canadian artisans. Follow the lead of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which recently held an informative public seminar for small businesses, outlining its procurement rules and its needs. By mandate, the Visitor Center’s two stores seek American-made products inspired by the Constitution, the Capitol Building, the Congress and historic legislation that shaped America. Also desired: high-quality American-made gift objects that federal workers and lawmakers can be proud to buy and give as gifts. Know that our nonprofit guilds and associations will work with you on getting the word out. “I can’t find an American maker” is a weak excuse if you have not reached out to give small producers a chance to compete. Sell more than a gift, sell a story: In our experience, the consumer who cares about product origin also cares to know about the maker and his materials, skills and processes. With mass-produced imports, you don’t get that promotional bonus. (In fact, given the record of human rights violations and worker exploitation in countries known as sources of knock-offs, the stories behind some products on your shelves might not instill pride.) Artisans and small producers: Don’t be the needle in the haystack waiting for Uncle Sam to discover you. If you want to supply this market, study it and evaluate your product lines: Despite what you may think, you probably don’t have to paint your products red, white and blue to break in. Get involved in advocacy on behalf of small artisans and producers to learn about opportunities. Consumers: Shop local. According to The 3/50 Project and other organizations that support America’s brick-and-mortar retailers, about 60 cents of every dollar you spend in local stores stay in your community. When you visit the nation’s capital and historic sites, ask for American-made and locally made products. Let your purchases be investments in the American dreams of studio artisans, cottage industries, small independent manufacturers. Your dollars recycle on Main Street. Don’t settle for a knock-off. Be part of the solution. Wendy Rosen, Founder The American Made Alliance The American Made Alliance, a nonprofit trade association that engages in advocacy supporting fine craft artists and studios. She is the president and CEO of The Rosen Group, which produces the American Made Show wholesale trade shows of artist-made products. Kristi Halford 800-432-7238, ext. 212 (office) or 410.262.2872 (cell)

Event: The Summit

January 15, 2015 Join the American Made movement as we discuss future opportunities and obstacles for growth. Partners and presenters include: American Sustainable Business Council, National Retail Federation, Americans for the Arts, Arts Action Fund, Main Street Alliance, Women Impacting Public Policy, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and more!

News

Kristen Gillibrand Introduces Buy American Legislation

National Park Protest

Grand Canyon Protest 'Demand American-Made' Campaign to Launch at the Grand Canyon American and Native American artisans, entrepreneurs and advocates gathering May 27-28-29 BALTIMORE (May 19, 2011) -- When the concession-run stores in America’s national parks are sending thousands of visitors home with mostly Made in China souvenirs, who loses? “All of us,” says Wendy Rosen, a gift industry leader who will travel to the Grand Canyon this Memorial Day Weekend for the first in a series of protests calling on National Park Service concession stores to carry more authentic American-made products. The event is the kick-off of a national campaign to create jobs for American and tribal small businesses and studios that make gift, art and souvenir products. Artisans and advocates will leaflet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday through Sunday, May 27-29, outside the Bright Angel Gift Shop, at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. “National Park Service concessioners have won the privilege to do business on federal land,” Rosen says, “but they have turned their backs on hundreds of American and Native American enterprises that desperately need manufacturing work to sustain families and communities. At a time when unemployment for these entrepreneurs is at a record high, and some tribal unemployment has reached 50 percent, National Park concessions could be creating jobs by putting authentic American-made merchandise on their store shelves.” The demonstration is sponsored by the American Made Alliance and endorsed by the Council for Indigenous Arts and Culture and the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+). The American Made Alliance is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit trade association. Founded in 2005, the American Made Alliance engages in advocacy efforts supporting the start-up and growth of micro-enterprises in the professional craft sector. Through its campaigns, projects and partnerships, the American Made Alliance strives to open new market opportunities for American-made products; preserve the authenticity of American-made goods; prevent fraud regarding country of origin; and inform legislators and consumers about the importance of and economic impact of supporting American-made products and their producers. MEDIA CONTACTS: Wendy Rosen, founder, American Made Alliance, wendy@wendyrosen.com or call 800.432.7238. communications or call 800.432.7238, ext. 218, or cell 410.262.2872

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We Believe…

 We Believe every consumer has a right to know where a product comes from. In today’s global economy, domestic manufacturers are forced to compete in an unfair marketplace where most...

American Made, National Parks,

Gillibrand Introduces Legislation to Require National Parks to Sell Only American-Made

The Nearly 400 National Parks – 22 in New York State – Currently Sell Gifts Made in China, Indonesia, Other Foreign Competitors March 29, 2012   Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten...

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Demand American Made

Urge National Park Service concessioners to carry more authentic Made in America and authentic Native American souvenir and gift products. Rally on May 27-29, 2011.

President Obama

Made In America: Commentary

UNCLE SAM: We Want YOU to Buy American Made Goods BALTIMORE (Feb. 26, 2011) The dearth of American-made gift and souvenir products in the Smithsonian’s gift shops is an old...

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To Restore Sanity: Support the Creative Economy

BALTIMORE, Md. (October 27, 2010) – For small businesses in the arts, the recession has been no laughing matter. That is, in fact, why arts entrepreneurs are willing to risk...

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Advocacy Group Announces $2.5Million Award

In a challenging economic cycle, 50 artists received a welcomed year-end bonus for a job well done: each received a $50,000 unrestricted grant from United States Artists (USA). The advocacy...

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Finders Keepers: An Innovative Campaign to Promote Bead Art

Handcrafted beads are now being found in more places than jewelry boxes, thanks to an innovative marketing campaign sponsored by the International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Over the past year,...

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Free Museum Admission

Hundreds of museums nationwide are offering FREE GENERAL ADMISSION on Saturday, September 26 in celebration of Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day. Click here to find participating museums near you. Then, don’t...

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The Arts in the White House

White House Door Wide Open to Arts (6/19/09), The Washington Post

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