Why do you manufacture in America?

Buying American made has become such a part of my life that I’ve found myself struggling to explain myself – I tend to be incredibly inarticulate about things I am passionate about and frequently end up stumbling all over my explanation. Not ideal. Thankfully, many of my favorite makers were far more articulate when I asked them why they chose to manufacture in America.

It is so satisfying to be able to provide jobs and keep people in business. We love to support our local economy and fellow artisans. We appreciate the ability to oversee our manufacturing and quality. Also, the relationships we’ve made are the best part of what we do – there is a human side of manufacturing, and we believe that is translated into what you wear.
The Podolls

We wanted to keep our ethics in tact. We don’t take the easy route. We had to try it – and make it work. People are starting to care about made in the USA. We can make a difference. We care about what we buy. We believe in a local economy and less environmental impact. America is young and quilts are a deep part of American history. Our families have quilted for generations. Staying here felt right. It also allows us to make sure our products meet our standards – quality control would be incredibly difficult overseas. We like to see the people we work with – we get to know them and build relationships with them.
Hopewell Workshop

To me there is no other choice. I believe in the country and as we grow, we give many people opportunities here. I’ve seen too many people lose their jobs, end up in a rut and see their futures get whittled down. A little bit of effort can help people make a better living and live better lives. Why wouldn’t we try 100% to do that?
Conway Electric

Too many reasons to mention – but mainly because I can guarantee the quality of everything I produce locally. Every product I sell is sewn here in LA, either by me, or by my sewing assistant who works from her sewing studio just a few miles away.
Cotton & Flax

I believe in keeping the production of P&O items American-made to help our local and national economy and I am able to control the quality of my goods by keeping them local. If everyone spent 5% more on US made products, we could create 1 million jobs.
Preston & Olivia

We’re proud to support our domestic garment industry.

For every $1 OF GOODS produced in the USA, an additional $1.43 is generated for the economy. It can be really, really hard to produce in America, but it’s easier to create beauty products than some other products. The more we support domestic production, the more it will grow.
One Love Organics & S.W. Basics – Why beauty products should be American Made

A New Year, Some Old Advice.

I spent the last few weeks thinking, and reading, and talking, and spending very little time on the internet. I didn’t answer emails, I didn’t check twitter, and I didn’t work, even when the urge struck. I spent much of 2014 feeling like a hamster on a wheel, always working but seemingly getting nowhere, and I needed a break. I needed to allow myself to be bored.

After two weeks off, you’d think I’d be ready to get back to it – the first Monday after the new year seems to be the true New Years Day when it comes to resolutions, doesn’t it? But I’m feeling a bit slow today and judging from my instagram feed, I am not the only one. I spent some time looking back on the last year of posts this morning… and found myself scrolling through the maker and brand interviews to get to the advice. I’m feeling a little more motivated, and I hope you’ll feel the same. Happy New Year!

“School, workshops, and internships are great as a jumping off point but there is no substitute for getting out there and doing. You’ll fail often that but that’s when you’ll learn the most.”
CAM Jewelry

“Making is great but if you want to make a living you must find a market that wants what you’re making and you have to figure out how to get your stuff to that market. If you can do that you will be more successful than your wildest dreams. If you’re out there struggling, reach out to people and ask for help. People want to help and want you to succeed.”
Conway Electric

Don’t listen to the naysayers. If you believe in your idea and think you have what it takes to get it done, go for it! But be prepared because once you launch, your business is your baby – it’s wonderful, but it will take everything you have.”
Common Good

You have to be ok with carving your own path. Responsible production takes a lot of constant assessment, you are constantly making and remaking a commitment to yourself.”
Heidi Merrick

“Find a group of supportive makers and creatives, and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Other makers in your community have a wealth of knowledge, even if they are working in an entirely different medium than yours. Finding a like-minded group of creative friends can be a life-saver when you run a creative business, and most people are more than happy to lend a hand when they can.”
Cotton & Flax

“Take a leap of faith. It’s what life is all about and even if something does not work out, you will have learned from it and that means you’re growing and changing. If we’re stagnant, we’re nothing. Your instincts are usually right.”
Pierrepont Hicks

“Listen to your gut and do what feels right to you – never lose sight of your vision.”

“‘Don’t give up’ covers a lot… Sometimes you just have to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and that can truly help.”
Maison du Soir

Giving Tuesday: Our Approach + gifts for good

In light of Giving Tuesday, I wanted to share The American Edit’s approach to charitable giving – and to also share some of my favorite charitable products!

Obviously, I realize that purchasing American made is discretionary – given my efforts to show the best designed, highest quality products, price points on this site tend to be somewhat high. And I believe in buying better, but buying less, and support many of the brands I share, but I’m not fooling myself into thinking that what I post here is accessible for all (including me!). But I do believe that if you are fortunate enough to consume products that fulfill more than your basic needs, you are responsible for knowing what you buy and doing the best you can with the dollars you spend.

Similarly, I believe I am responsible for doing my best not only in my purchasing and my actions, but also with the money TAE makes via agency projects and affiliate income. As stated in the disclosure, TAE does utilize affiliate links, which means that a small commission may be received if you purchase a product from a contextual link within this site or related social channels. I didn’t realize how this had worked till I was a blogger – when I found out, I wished I’d known so I could have thoughtfully supported bloggers I followed as opposed to my last indiscriminate click.

When I left my corporate career, I realized that I had to hold myself to the same standards and values that I had loved and respected in my previous employer. Namely, charitable giving. Many Minnesota companies, including my former employer, are a part of the Keystone Program and give away 2-5% of earnings to charitable organizations each year. When I started TAE, I pledged to do the same and am proud to donate 5% of all earnings each year. For me, it was important to do this from the beginning – to build the idea of giving back into the foundation of my company. TAE is still incredibly small, I know I’m not solving all of the problems with this donation, but sometimes the idea of giving back ends up being a more powerful motivator to grow my business than revenue alone.

Though personally I believe in giving locally, nationally, and internationally – and giving time as well as money – it is important to me that TAE’s donated dollars are kept in America. Deciding where and how to donate money may be even more difficult than deciding where and how to spend money, but this year I’ve chosen to donate to Feeding America. At the end of the day, we all have to eat. Every dollar donated allows Feeding America to secure and distribute 20 meals in virtually every community in America and the charity is highly rated by all accreditation organizations. Going forward, as this business (hopefully!) grows, I hope to learn more about smaller organizations that make sense for TAE to support.

I also want to make it easier for YOU to support charitable and philanthropic brands that make products in American so I have added a Charitable categorization to The A-List. Go the the A-list, dig a little deeper, category: charitable. Please share more American made charitable products in the comments!

Thank you today and every day for your support!

[image by Melissa Oholendt, styled by Wit & Delight Studio for Be the Match]