I’m Dianna Huff. My passion is buying Made in USA items.
It wasn’t always this way. Up until 2013, I was oblivious to where stuff was made. Like most people, I shopped at places such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Depot and Target. And like most people, I had accumulated stuff — a lot of stuff.
But a few things happened that opened my eyes.
First, I came across Adam Minton’s Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion Dollar Trash Trade. My constant refrain as I read was, “O.M.G.”
Basically, we as a nation buy a ton of cheap crap from countries outside the U.S. When it wears out (rather quickly), we either throw it away or recycle it. Our trash is then taken to countries like China where it’s broken down, processed, and remade into more cheap crap that’s imported back into the U.S.
Around the same time, I discovered two books by the Alliance for American Manufacturing: Manufacturing a Better Future for America and Remaking America.
Both books detail the U.S. governmental policies and regulations that have led to the decimation of manufacturing in the U.S. Again I found myself with slack jaw — it was rather unbelievable what had happened to our country with regard to manufacturing.
I couldn’t find the exact quote, but someone wrote along the lines of, “If people knew what they were doing to their own livelihood when they shop at places like Walmart, they’d stop shopping there immediately.”
Imported goods keep prices low for us here in the U.S. But the toll for cheap goods is the loss of jobs — and not only in manufacturing.
The local businesses that support the manufacturing companies — the shops, the barbers, the gyms, the restaurants — they get hit, too.
For every dollar created by a manufacturer, $1.50 ends up in the local community.
Outsourced manufacturing means we subsidize the exploitation of people in other countries. One reason prices are so low for imported goods is because when U.S.-based companies offshore production, they don’t have to pay livable wages or health insurance or any of the other benefits we take for granted here in the U.S.
Foreign companies aren’t subject to OSHA or other worker safety regulations. Workers are forced to toil in conditions that would shut a manufacturing company down here in the U.S. Thus the competitive landscape isn’t level.
At some point during all this research, I watched the Million American Jobs Project video. The video’s message: If each of us spent just 5% on American made goods, we’d help create a million new jobs.
After watching the video, I decided to buy American-made goods whenever possible.
The process was pretty simple: I began reading the labels on everything.
The process was also pretty scary. I had no idea so much stuff was made outside the U.S.!
Fast forward to today, and I know where everything I buy is made. Do I have to make compromises? Of course.
As I say to people when they ask, I’m not a saint. I use a MacBook and iPhone. My TV isn’t US-made. It’s still hard to find clothes made in the U.S., although it’s become easier.
But the more I do my own research, the easier it’s become to buy US-made products.
I realized a few months ago that I’m doing something extraordinary.
I’m renovating my 1960 mid-century ranch house and using US-made materials and furnishings as much as I can (the vintage mid-century Danish pieces don’t count).
As I walk through the rooms and see the things I love, I feel happy and at peace.
We like to think the choices we make don’t make a difference. But they do.
Hence, this new blog. I want to encourage others to buy Made-in-the-USA by showing it’s not that hard. I want to showcase the companies handcrafting beautiful furnishings and other goods.
Most important, I want to show you the people who make the things we all use.
I would love for you to see why it’s so important we support US-manufacturing — because it means jobs, prosperity, and strong communities for everyone.
So we’ll see where this takes us. Thank you for reading!