Made In the USA Equals Sizzling Sales
Swap meet and flea market vendors from across the country are starting to get tuned into the “Made in USA” message. What’s behind this growing merchandise trend? There are any number of reasons why shoppers are choosing to seek out and buy Made In the USA products, and as savvy vendors know, the merchandise follows the money.
Defining Made in USA
The US Federal Trade Commission states that a product may be labeled as “Made in America” if at minimum 75 percent of the finished product is “US content.” This includes parts and labor, and is based on total cost of the goods sold. The product must also be final-assembled in America, meaning that it cannot be made overseas and shipped back to the US. On the surface this seems simple, but this odd definition can lead to some confusion in the marketplace. For example, many Japanese and European brand name cars are manufactured and assembled here in the United States, as are American brand-named vehicles, and ALL can be considered Made In the USA.
But don’t despair. If you really want to know if a product is made in the USA, you can always consult the experts like the Made in the USA Foundation. This organization runs a large certification and labeling program for manufacturers of all kinds.
Co-founder and chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, Joel D. Joseph, has been quoted as saying that virtually any product can be sourced in America, and the foundation is well-placed to help wholesale buyers like market and swap vendors find America-made products.
Sticker Shock Rumor
A long-running rumor and misperception about American-made products is that many shoppers, and wholesale buyers, believe that American-made products are more expensive than those sourcedoverseas. In the 1980′s this was certainly the case, but with the increases in technology and productivity in all aspects of manufacturing, this is just no longer true. Especially over the past few years, the cost of doing business with Chinese manufacturers has risen sharply, and together with shipping delays and trade embargoes or tariffs, American made products have come into their own and are now very competitively priced with overseas imports.
Buying American made products is also better for the overall environment. Environmental scientists have shown in their research that the carbon footprint associated with American-made products is much smaller than it is for comparable merchandise made overseas. Consider the simple savings on the cost and tremendous exhaust fumes from a cargo ship travelling all the way across an ocean to carry an overseas sourced product. With a USA-made item, none of that is an issue.
With growing interest and availability of American-made products, market vendors need to sit up and take notice when placing your upcoming stock orders. Your first order of business is to find American-made products, and then once you have them in stock, make it clear to your shoppers that they are Made in the USA. Booth signage and stickers right on the products will help you to make that message clear.
Additionally, the Made in the USA Foundation and other advocacy groups can help you with your signage. A $50 foundation membership entitles you two decal-style door signs that announce, “We stock American-made products.” Product shelf tags are also available, and as a membership bonus, your market business will also get a listing on the organization’s website identifying you as a source of American-made products. When it comes to Made in the USA, you, and your customers, deserve the very best.
For more information on the Made In The USA Foundation, visit www.madeusafdn.org.