Promotional Products Home Promo University® Independent Study The Truth About Made in the USA Products

The Truth About Made in the USA Products

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

Made in the USA products increase manufacturing jobs, reduce the carbon footprint, and cut down production costs in the United States. It’s difficult to label anything as completely American-made since parts can still be imported, but there’s a variety of companies, brands, and products that qualify.

Do you want your products as American as apple pie and a good old-fashioned game of baseball? There are many items you can buy that have the “Made in the USA” label. Still, it’s not as cut and dry as you might think. Some items receive the label but still have imported parts, while others are 100% made in the country.

What qualifies as Made in the USA? Where can you find these items? Time to learn something new about the red, white, and blue as we dive into the full scope of American-made products.

Quote Icon

Certain American-made products have the magical ability to transport us back to our childhood in the twinkling of an eye, while others are so intrinsic to our everyday existence that life without them is barely imaginable.

– Nick Freeth, author of Made in America: 200 All-American Products

Popular Products Made in the United States

Next time you shop, be sure to check out some of these recognizable brands! They are all proudly made in the USA and are well-loved by American consumers.

Crayola
This brand of crayons, markers, and colored pencils has been coloring our world since 1903. Two cousins started the company in Peekskill, New York, but their line is now manufactured in Eason, Pennsylvania.

https://www.myorganizedchaos.net

Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson was the only surviving motorcycle manufacturer in the United States founded before World War I. Some of their most notable bikes include the Softail and Fat Boy.

https://www.hemmings.com

Zippo
Forget tanks and helmets, the Zippo was the most valuable item on the battlefield during World War II. The company started in 1932 in Bradford, Pennsylvania where it still stands today.

https://www.pinterest.com.au

Post-It Notes
3M started offering Post-Its in 1980, and since then, they have sold an estimated 1 trillion pads. Art Fry created this office staple because he wanted a better way to mark his pages during church services.

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com

Wilson
Wilson, founded in Chicago at the start of World War II, is a leading manufacturer of sports equipment in the U.S. They’re known for high-quality tennis rackets, baseball mitts, and forming friendships, such as the one Tom Hanks found with their volleyball in the movie Cast Away.

https://coinsandmoreonline.com

Weber Grills
Serve hot dogs and burgers at your Independence Day barbeque by using a Weber Grill. Aside from their gas models, all their products have been manufactured in Palatine, Illinois since 1952.

https://www.homedepot.com

Igloo Coolers
The classic Igloo cooler is essential for beach trips, tailgates, and other outdoor events. The brand started as a metalworking shop in 1947, but now offers 500 plus products at hundreds of retailers around the world.

https://www.ebay.com

New Balance
Founded by William J. Riley, New Balance walked into the heart of Boston, Massachusetts in 1906. This brand has been manufacturing athletic footwear since the beginning of the 20th century.

https://jeracgallero.wordpress.com

Pyrex
The Pyrex brand was born in New York in 1908. Whether you need a place for your Thanksgiving leftovers or a measuring cup to bake your grandma’s recipe, you can rely on this all-American kitchenware.

https://www.target.com/

Martin Guitar
Rock out with a Martin Guitar, an American manufacturer founded in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin. John Mayer, Elvis Presley, and Eric Clapton are a few who turn to the classic acoustics.

https://www.martinguitar.com

A Brief History of American-Made Products

Americans have valued products made in our own backyard throughout history. In fact, at the peak of the Revolutionary War, the Homespun Movement encouraged women to make their own yarn, textiles, and clothing. During the Industrial Revolution, products were almost all exclusively made in the United States. However, that all changed in the 90s when the state of manufacturing had reached an alarming decline. Companies were forced to move their factories to places with cheaper labor around the world.

Although many products are produced overseas, all fifty states are responsible for producing at least one American-made product. Alaska creates exclusive driving mittens that are designed for snow machines, Wisconsin serves as the headquarters for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and Pennsylvania continues to be the leading manufacturer of Zippo lighters, a company that began in the historic town of Bradford during the Great Depression.

http://pinterest.com
Did you know?

Treasure Craft Pottery was a notable producer of salt and pepper shakers in the United States from the 1940s to the late 90s. They made every shape imaginable, including shakers featuring popular Disney characters.

The Fast Road to Success: Luke’s Toy Factory

Luke’s Toy Factory, a family-run organization in Connecticut, sells completely American-made eco-friendly toy trucks. James Barber and his son Luke started the company in 2015. James and Luke were inspired to start their company from Luke’s days playing with imported toys as a kid. James heard a story about toxic paint being used on the Thomas the Tank Engines his kids were playing with and was fearful that this was harmful to their health.

https://www.instagram.com/

By the time Luke was grown-up with a college degree, he started creating 3D prototypes of toy trucks in an abandoned warehouse. The first toy was a firetruck and it took Luke only a week to finalize the design. Like all the trucks they offer, it contained 30% sawdust and 70% plastic. This makes the products last longer as the sawdust doesn’t have to heat up or cool down and acts as a strong adhesive during injection molding. Furthermore, James and Luke don’t have to import their parts from overseas. By keeping the materials close to home, they’re able to make sure things are done safely. There’s no need to worry about the same toxic paint found in Thomas the Tank Engine!

Each truck comes apart like a puzzle and is easy enough for kids to assemble on their own. This makes them great for the playground and classroom as they are designed to improve problem solving, motor skills, and creativity in young minds. The team, including Jim, Luke, and another father-son duo, Mitch and Evan, do everything themselves from managing the Instagram account to taking out the trash to welding the axles and wheels onto their toys. These humble beginnings translate to the way they do business, supplying more than two-hundred Mom & Pop toy shops around the country with their unique trucks. At the end of the day, Luke’s Toy Company was built from the ground up and shows true American craftsmanship at work.

https://www.instagram.com/
Quote Icon

We work together and do whatever we have to do to complete our orders. The thing about making our products in the U.S. is we can control much more closely what goes on.

– Jim Barber, founder of Luke’s Toy Company

What is Made in the USA?

If you want to offer your own American-made products, it’s important to become familiar with the Federal Trade Commission, an organization that protects consumers against deceptive business practices. They define what constitutes a product that’s made in the United States.

According to the Federal Trade Commission:

"For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. The term “United States,” as referred to in the Enforcement Policy Statement, includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and possessions.”

To make matters even more complicated, there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to claiming a product is made in the United States. In fact, you can make both qualified and unqualified claims.

Unqualified:
This relates directly to the ”all or virtually all” element of the FTC’s guidelines. Products that have their main components assembled in the United States would qualify. However, small details of the product can still be imported from other countries to warrant the Made in the USA label.

All of the main parts of a grill are put together at a factory in North Carolina, but the knobs and tubing are imported from Mexico.

Technically, this product is “Made in the USA” since the majority of the product, or its main components, are assembled in the country.

Qualified:
Some products will feature a label that is specific about where the product is designed and assembled. The design may have been done in the United States, but the final product was assembled overseas. In this case, the product would have a qualified claim.

If you look closely at Apple’s products, you’ll see the packaging reads: “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China.”

The message here is the functionality of your iPhone was done by employees in the country, but the product itself was put together elsewhere.

Both the grill and iPhone can claim to be “Made in the USA.” Being knowledgeable about the difference is important as both a business and consumer. Companies can use a patriotic logo or pull their slogan straight from the Pledge of Allegiance, but they still might not offer products that are made in the United States. Do your homework if American-made products are important to you.

Quote Icon

American-made products are valuable because of higher quality and access to the manufacturer if there is a problem. Such products also strengthen the U.S. economy.

– Harry Moser, Founder and President of the Reshoring Initiative

What Items Are Made in the United States?

From your home to the office, there are plenty of American-made products on the market. These elegantly designed items are usually a bit more expensive, but well worth the extra price if you want quality items made in the United States.

Furniture
Couches, tables, and nightstands made in America tend to be more expensive than foreign imports. Many furniture makers, like Vermont Woods Studios and Online Amish Furniture, craft their pieces by hand from solid wood or other natural materials found on U.S. soil.

https://vermontwoodsstudios.com/

Clothing
Companies like Levi’s and L.L. Bean offer products made in the USA. This adds a designer touch that costs a bit more. For example, a pair of American-made Levi’s runs for over 15% higher than other brands, while a tote bag from L.L. Bean costs anywhere between $35 and $50.

https://www.urbanindustry.co.uk

Appliances
It’s possible to find refrigerators, dishwashers, grills, and other household appliances that are made in the United States. Check with the store to confirm whether or not the appliance has the label. Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and GE are a few brands that produce American-made products.

https://www.whirlpool.com/

Electronics
Motorola smartphones made before 2014 were manufactured in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s still possible to buy these refurbished phones online. You can also find televisions, headphones, and music amplifiers that are made in the United States.

https://techatlast.com

Cars
Cars.com has made it easy to find automobiles that are proudly made in the USA. By shopping through their “American-Made Index,” you can find cars that contain 75% American-made parts. The Toyota Camry and Honda Odyssey, though they are Japanese automakers, assemble their cars at plants in Indiana, Kentucky, and Alabama.

https://www.toyota.com
Did you know?

Chrysler is proud of their American roots. The company changed their slogan in 2014 to “America’s Import.”

Quote Icon

Products made in the USA are valuable because they contain the values of good wages, environmental quality, worker’s rights, safety and consumer protection.

– Joel Joseph, Chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation

Patriotic Promos

Aside from furniture and Zippo lighters, there are many other items out there that are made in the USA. Take for instance American-made promotional products like custom pens and tote bags. A huge selection of these advertising giveaways is made right in our backyard. You can use these items to both market your business and support the economy.

Tote bags
Reusable bags have always been one of the most popular giveaways. You can use totes made in the United States to hold your groceries and for essentials as you commute to and from work.

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com

Fidget spinners
Sometimes we all need a little distraction. Fidget spinners, the most popular toy in 2016, provide just that, giving American professionals and students the opportunity to increase their focus and learn some pretty nifty tricks.

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com

Water bottles
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from American-made water bottles. Staying hydrated is extremely important in this busy, fast-paced country.

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com

Golf tees
At this point, a good game of golf is as American as eating peanuts and Cracker Jacks® at the ballgame. It’s important to come prepared for tee-off, leaving you focused to outshine your boss on the course.

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com

Air fresheners
If your car smells like sweaty socks and moldy cheese, you’ll need a way to cut through all the stink. Air fresheners made in the USA smell like the sweet scent of freedom.

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com

Garyline, a productional products vendor in the industry since 1963, offers a variety of Made in the USA products including ice scrapers, water bottles, and bag clips. Their plastic is made in house so they don’t have to get orders shipped overseas. This reduces their carbon footprint, significantly decreases waste, and cuts down production costs.

Just like electronics, appliances, or anything else in the marketplace, promotional products can be assembled all over the world. Be sure to do your research before purchasing if the “Made in the USA” label is important to you as a consumer.

Quote Icon

We like to support the country by making our plastic water bottles right here. You’re not buying something that was shipped halfway around the world, so you are lowering your company’s carbon footprint.

– Paul Hanney, Sales Manager at Garyline

The Move Toward Made in the USA

Major brands are offering “made in the USA” categories on their websites, while others are investing in the future. For example, General Electric spent $41 billion in revitalizing its U.S. appliances in 2014. It’s also possible to find entire companies dedicated solely to American-made goods like the Made in America Company, an independent organization established in 2013.

Many non-profit organizations, such as the Made in the USA Foundation and Reshoring Initiative, are trying to increase the number of American-made products in our country. They’ve made it their mission to strengthen the economy in the United States through community outreach and innovative programs. For instance, the Made in the USA Foundation is organizing a program called FUTBAL, aimed at convincing the NFL, MLB, and NBA to sell more “made in USA” souvenirs and uniforms. Meanwhile, the Reshoring Initiative takes their efforts straight to the capital as they lobby for more manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Stats for Success

78% of Americans prefer to buy a product made in the USA.

60% of consumers will pay more for a product if it’s made in America.

80% believe buying American keeps the economy strong.

$179,000 earned from American-made products adds one more American manufacturing job.

The Bottom Line

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to the products and services you choose. It’s easy to furnish your house, commute to and from work, call your friends, and promote your business with American-made items. All it takes is a little research and patriotism to keep the flag flying!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a super cool Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. She’s a fan of diving into the history of some of the earliest promos on the planet. If you need her, you’ll find her buried in research, in the middle of a phone interview, or singing way off-tune in her office.

References

Consumer Reports. (2013, February). Knowing Which Products are Truly Made in America. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/02/made-in-america/index.htm

Livingston, A. (2018). Products Made in the USA – Reasons to Buy American-Made Goods. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.moneycrashers.com/products-made-usa-american-made/

Popular Mechanics. (2017, June 29). Made in the USA: One Awesome Thing Built in Each State. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/a26870/made-in-the-usa/

Snaveley, B. (2014, June 7). Chrysler Changes Slogan to Launch New 200 Sedan. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/06/07/chrysler-200-americas-import/10166151/

Kennedy, M. (2017, July 18). White House Highlights “Made in America” Products From Each State. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/18/537897405/white-house-highlights-made-in-america-products-from-each-state

Idacavage, S. (2017, July 7). Fashion History Lesson: The Evolving Concept of ‘Made in the USA.’ Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://fashionista.com/2017/07/made-in-the-usa-american-clothing-history

American Marketing Association. (2018). Consumers Will Pay More for a ‘Made in the USA’ Label. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.ama.org/publications/JournalOfInternationalMarketing/Pages/pr_jim.10.0140.aspx

CBS Money Watch. (2012, July 3). Made in USA: 10 Great Products Still Made Here. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.cbsnews.com/media/made-in-usa-10-great-products-still-made-here/

Chandra, S. (2017, August 16). The Stuff Still Made in the USA. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-08-16/the-stuff-still-made-in-the-usa

Wee, H. (2013, March 6). Made in the USA: More Consumers Buying American. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://www.cnbc.com/id/100519468

Brown, C. (2017, April 18). Here are 100+ Brands that are 100% Made in the USA. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://clark.com/shopping-retail/american-made-in-the-usa/

Rindskopf, J. (2018, April 12). 50 Products That Are Still Made in America. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://blog.cheapism.com/products-made-in-usa-16283/

Razoczy, C. (2017, May 9). These 10 Top-Rated “Made in America” Products are High-Quality – and Let You Buy Local. Retrieved June 18, 2018, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/09/these-10-top-rated-made-in-america-products-are-high-quality-percent-u2014-and-let-you-buy-local.html

Freeth, N. (2005). Made in America: 200 All-American Products. St. Paul, MN: Colin Gower Enterprises Ltd.