Its that time of year!
When we feel all goose bumpy and charitable, and closer than ever to our families and friends.
When we also feel stressed, pressured, and torn between finding the best deals and finding the best gifts!
This year, more than ever... adding to the pile of emotions and decisions we are processing, is the growing awareness and commitment to buying Made in the USA products-- including from the good folks running smaller, more obscure businesses straight from "The Heartland ". You know...those businesses sprinkled all over the country with great products, low budgets, and dreams!
Dreams that come in all sizes!
To some- growing a small company into a successful enterprise that can support many other dreams is the end goal. To others making enough money to take care of themselves/ their families, fund vacations, medical bills or college tuitions is plenty to dream about. Others just have a great idea that they want to share with the world. For many, its all of the above!
These worker bees (like us!) are up early, up late- and working weekends in their shops, their offices, their basements/ kitchens/ garages, small factories and even their cars, (no texting while driving, people!).
No matter where we work from or what stage of growth we are in, we all have one thing in common though- we are all trying to bring our versions of the perfect holiday gifts to your door. To your loved ones!
And though there are many great products that are manufactured in many different countries, to us perfect starts with being made right here in our home country.
We believe that supporting our local affiliates, providing jobs for our community, and manufacturing our products with personal care and attention to quality and overhead, allows us to bring you the best possible product at a reasonable cost- with an acceptable profit for us.
Of course, we have a lot of other reasons we believe OUR product is a perfect holiday gift, but today this blog is not about just us-
----its about the leagues of businesses- from small to big- who are committed to bringing you quality products made by your neighbors, your friends and your families- right here in the USA .
There is so much involved in bringing a business to life in the US- to creating successes that will help us feed our families and nurture our communities.
Supply costs. Packaging and shipping costs.Taxes. Legal costs for filing and protecting trademarks and copyrighted designs. Possibly fighting infringements, patent pirates, and cheap copycats. Wages, energy and real estate- all cost more in the US. Government regulations are tougher. And then the fees, fees and more fees!
Advertising and marketing is a cost that most small businesses can't even consider because its very expensive... and often hit or miss.
(Yay for social networking- a time suck yes, but its free and connects us to our customers in a way no ad will - ever! )
In the end, most small or new businesses are just barely making ends meet, or worse- losing money - as they try to create success.
But they persist.
Its the passion and dedication to one's craft, or belief in one's product, that drives most of these businesses to continue!
And despite the numbers, you'd be surprised at how many give a percentage of their marginal sales to local, regional and national nonprofits, or donate product to local causes, schools and fundraisers.
(I am proud to say that since 2009, Mouthman has donated hundreds of our shirts to Parents of Autistic Children and K.I.D.S (Kids in Distressed Situations) Kids Are 1st, UNC Bears Athletic department (to support scholarship fundraising), Relay for Life , and many elementary schools, sick kids and Secret Santa requests. As well, a portion of sales go to Critter Pass Ranch and Make a Wish foundation.
So while you are challenging yourself to find the best Black Friday deals, or challenging yourself to create the most magical holiday for your family- please remember the incredible challenges these companies have to endure every day of the year to compete for a piece of the American Dream, and challenge yourself to at least spending a portion of your holiday budget on Made in the USA products. Bonus good juju for safe, eco responsible and ethically made!
To get started, click here to see our list of some wonderful and unique things we love. Feel free to add your comments, favorite products or links to other great lists! Check out places like Etsy or just google what you're looking for but add "made in the USA" to your search term and see what pops up! In other words, make your list if you have to, set your budget if you need to... then at least try to see if you can find those or comparable USA made products first.
When you do that, know that you are doing good for someone...and how wonderful that makes you feel too! And isn't that what having a magical holiday is all about?
Here at Mouthman I have accepted the challenge and vow to spend most , if not all, of my holiday spend on locally sourced, innovative and wonderful gifts made right here in my home country.
*Cue "Star Spangled Banner"! No wait ... "Jingle Bells'!......hmmm..
Okay, new challenge!
Someone please write a "Jingle in the USA!" song!
Happy Christmas , Merry Hanukkah and have a Joyful Kwanzaa too!
Best wishes to you all!
PS: Hope you all have Mouthman shirts to send a hug and a chomp or to hug yourselves with!
If not, heres a code to help you save some of your holiday dough- MADEUSA20. That will get you 20% off your entire order of 100 bucks or more!
Good through Cyber Monday. USA orders only.You can also accept your Shop USA challenge with one of favorite supporters right here!