Saturday, March 22, 2014

11 Reasons to Buy American-Made

Where to begin?!  There's been a lot of talk recently about buying American-made and why consumers are picking up on the trend...  Here at Angela Friedman Inc., every one of our pieces is designed, sourced, manufactured, and sold from New York City.  That's something that I'm extremely proud of, and that I continue to stress as an integral part of our sustainable and ethical practices.

It's not an easy task to manufacture locally in the USA.  It comes with its own problems - limitations on production lot size, sourcing manufacturing in a decreasing labor pool, an increased price point that uneducated consumers may not understand or less-affluent consumers may not be able to afford...  I can't tell you how many times I've been "advised" that I could halve my price point (or more) and increase sales exponentially simply by manufacturing in China.  I've said it time and time again: If I were in it for the money, I wouldn't be a designer!

It may not make my job any easier... But despite the challenges, I will continue to insist that my favorite part about my business is that we manufacture in the United States. No part of the process is outsourced overseas, and no part of the process will ever be outsourced overseas.  (Yes, you can quote me on that!)  This is not to say that there's anything wrong with manufacturing in the UK or France or Australia, etc etc etc.  What I am talking about more than anything else are unscrupulous business practices in Bangladesh, and American corporations that take advantage of third world countries' labor and natural resources. (Ahem, Nike, Coca-Cola, Zara...)

So here's my personal list of 11 reasons to buy American-made.   (I just couldn't stick to 10!)

  1. Job creation. Buy locally, and you'll support your fellow American workers and reduce unemployment
  2. The local economy, and supporting businesses that employ local workers, as well as keeping money in the local economy
  3. Human rights.  Made locally, you know that your products are made with ethical business practices such as fair pay for workers, health and safety standards, no child or wage-slave labor
  4. Environmental Sustainability.  While America's manufacturing environmental standards could be a lot more strict (and should be!), they certainly surpass the standards by most developing countries (as in, that there even are standards).  Additionally, by creating in America, we're reducing the need for around-the-world shipment of products, lowering our carbon footprint.
  5. Testing and safety standards.  In the US, we have some very strict laws about labeling products honestly so that the consumer can be protected from ingredients and materials that might hurt them.  While imports are also subject to inspection, any problems are more difficult to catch, and it's near impossible to prosecute the offenders.
  6. Tax revenue.  More American revenue means more tax dollars to support American infrastructure and programs, rather than sending that money to overseas governments, corporations, agents, and middlemen.
  7. Small business support.  Products manufactured in the United States are more likely to be produced by small businesses than the multinational (multi-billion dollar) corporations.
  8. The Domino Effect. Buy locally, and the money stays in America, paying the wages of the people that are directly or indirectly responsible for creating your product. Then, each of those people can spend this money on goods (hopefully American made) and local services, and the effects continue on. The more you buy locally, the more the local economy is stimulated, and the more local jobs are created.  (And as an added bonus, American companies and workers pay taxes on the revenue, stimulating the economy further.)
  9. Relationships.  When the companies are right here in your neighborhood, you can get to know the people making your products.  You can ask them questions, learn about the history of the business, even ask for customization!  What a great way to feel good about where your dollars go!
  10. Keeping manufacturing here in America.  to help keep (what's left of) the manufacturing industry right here in America, rather than sending jobs and money overseas.  For example, New York's garment district has only about 3% left of what it was in the 1980s before trade quotas with China, India, and Latin America were changed to allow huge percentages of imports.
  11. Quality!  American-made products are frequently at the forefront of high-quality testing and ingenuity.  With very selective consumers and a generally higher price-point, it's pretty safe to expect a high level of quality control and consistency in many American-made products.  (Especially true in the garment industry where many factories have been in continuous operation for almost 200 years.)

What do you think of the list? If you have a suggestion to add, I would love to hear it! Please let me know in the comments section below.

Wishing you silk, lace, all things lovely, and lots of American-made goodies!


  1. I particularly like #9, Relationships. "Know your designer, know your clothes" is similar to "know your farmer, know your food" - you are in clothes 16 to 24 hours a day! It's great to know someone personally who can make that omnipresent experience into something comfortable AND beautiful AND fun.

    1. Yes! I love the parallel between the ideas of "farm to table" and my work... Perhaps we should call it "atelier to closet" fashion? Thanks for your thoughts!

    2. Absolutely love this article. Keep up your high standards.