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When "Made In America" Became a Family Mission

Posted on 06/29/14 in Made In The USA Promotional Products
Made in AmericaHow often do you check products before purchase to find out where they were made? If the answer is "not that often," you may be surprised by what you find.

To keep production high and costs low, an increasing number of companies are moving factories to third-world countries, where regulation and pay differ significantly from what we experience in the United States. The reality of overseas labor often includes unsafe working conditions, low product quality and safety standards, and fewer American manufacturing jobs.

But what can the average American do? Here we examine three stories of families that attempted to run their households exclusively on products made in America.

The Usry Family: Buying American in the Public Eye

In 2011, Jon and Anna Usry agreed to participate in an experiment for "World News with Diane Sawyer" in which they would replace all imported items in their house with those made in America. They discovered that many of the products their children prized, from video games to American Girl dolls, were made in China and other countries.

The Usrys did not manage to eliminate foreign-made products completely from their home. However, by the time the story aired, about 50 percent of the items they owned were made in the U.S.

The Bongiornis: Boycotting China

Because the majority of imported items in the United States come from China, author Sara Bongiorni wrote a book chronicling her family's efforts to avoid the country's products for an entire year.

That year, Bongiorni discovered how pervasive China has become in the American economy. From children's sneakers to replacement parts for household appliances, non-Chinese products proved in short supply. Even items labeled "Made in America" often contained Chinese components.

By the end of Bongiorni's "year without China," she had learned that although it is possible to find alternatives to products made in China, compromises are sometimes necessary to living a practical and affordable life.

The Fortmans: One Week of American-Made

Joey Fortman, a mother and blogger, recently endeavored for one week only to purchase items made in the U.S. While she succeeded in locating fresh local produce and other nationally-sourced foods for her family, she received a shock when shopping for clothing and toilet paper. It was virtually impossible to find these items without any production roots to China.

Similar to the Usrys and Bongiornis, Fortman learned that American families can reduce the number of imported items they purchase, but to eliminate them completely might be too impractical.

The Takeaway

The experiences of these families should inspire their fellow Americans to learn more about the products they purchase. By checking labels and making our best efforts to support companies that manufacture in the U.S., we can help create more domestic jobs and support our local economies.

Author: Robert Stillman CEO

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