When listing the selling points for your handmade work, Made in America matters.
Google searches for the term “Made in America” have soared over the past few years. People are interested in learning about and supporting products made domestically, and their online shopping habits support this. Whether as a response to the economic downturn or to the millions of jobs lost to overseas manufacturers, it is a rallying cry to those of us who want to change those trends.
The “Made in America” store chain opened in New York State in 2010 as a response to this interest, and subsequently has expanded to five locations. Owner Mark Andol says he opened his first store on the theory that people care enough to specifically seek out and buy goods that are made in this country. The reaction has proven him right, creating not only a demand but a huge media buzz.
Busloads of shoppers from as far away as Iowa have come to the Made in America Stores to purchase items that are 100% made in the USA. They consider it not only a way to support their country with their wallets, but a patriotic act as well (and the store capitalizes on this feeling through their message and store branding). Online sales account for a large portion of their sales, sending merchandise throughout the US and abroad.
As a creative entrepreneur how will promoting Made in America affect your own handmade goods? It may not be the primary reason for the purchase, but it adds one more benefit to the list. Supporting Americans and their small businesses is a reason to buy, and even pay a bit more, for many of these shoppers. It dovetails with the “buy local” movement as a way to lift up their country, their community and their neighbors with their shopping choices.
There is also the perception of greater value. “The term ‘Made in America’ translates to ‘quality’,” says Andol. “This is a label respected around the world. We have to produce more than we consume – every economy is built on that. This is actually about our children’s futures.”
He recalls comments made by those shoppers on that bus from Iowa. “Thank you, you give us hope.” they said. “This is the way it should be.”
As far as selling points for creative entrepreneurs, Andol suggests tying in the local economy with your sale as well. He adds, “You might affect 10 to 20 people through this ‘spiderweb’ effect of keeping money in the community which keeps it strong. Raising awareness is important, because we have gotten out of balance in this country.”
And the result? He says, “We call our stores “Happyville” because shoppers know their money is going in the right place.”