American Made Matters

Please pardon me while I go on a tangent from my usual jewelry. I’m on a soap box and I need to clear this out. I’ll try not to make it long.

As we are heading into the end of summer, I’m finding myself having to recreate my fall/winter wardrobe. Most of the clothes, especially the pants, I wore last year are too big for me thanks to a little bit of weight loss. I don’t need much clothing, but as I am looking for the pieces I need, I’m trying to take a few things into consideration.

Look at the tags in your clothing. Hong Kong, Vietnam, various South American counties, and China are probably listed amid other countries excluding United States of America. It’s really sad to see what has come of the clothing manufacturing industry (and almost every other industry) in this nation. I would love for my clothing to be all American made, but in today’s market it’s almost impossible to do that. Even if you make your own clothing, the fabric comes from over seas. Luckily, there are options.

I’ll admit, one of my favorite companies is Bollman Hat Company in Adamstown, PA. It is an American made company which produces a huge number of hats of various styles. (If you know me personally, you know I have a small hat collection.) The president of Bollman Hat Company founded an organization called American Made Matters. Their website discusses the benefits of buying American made, and it also provides a list of companies whose products are made in America. Check it out!

One challenge I face as I go through the items many of these companies are selling is that they are much more expensive than the equivalent items which have been made overseas. I think this really keeps a lot of people from buying American made items. There are a few things we need to consider with this though. To start, the cost of living is obviously much higher in America than it is in 3rd world countries. The people making the items are paid more and the cost of running the company is more, therefore, the cost of the item is more. Then there’s quality. Generally, items made in America are thought to be of better quality. This ends up in the cost because you pay for what you get. Finally, because so many folks are buying imported items, the cost of the items made in America goes up because the companies are not selling as many items. I know we say if they lower their cost, we would buy more, but at this point, they have to do what they can to take care of themselves.

Now, going back to my clothing search… Since it is a challenge to find affordable American made clothing, I have found a different way of getting imported clothing which doesn’t directly support the overseas companies, and it puts money into the pockets of local folks. It’s good for the environment, too! Ready?

Consignment shops! I want to try to buy the majority of my fall and winter clothing at consignment clothing shops. This puts money into the pockets of the people who gave the clothing to the consignment shop, it puts money into the pockets of the local shop owner, and it keeps the clothing out of landfills. Plus, it’s cheaper than buying overseas made clothing new on the rack.

So, even though we might not be able to easily buy our entire wardrobe from Made in America companies, we can still support our local businesses and work to keep the local economies going.

By the way…did you know our nation used to put tariffs on incoming goods in hopes of forcing people to buy American made items?

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