Here at The Grommet, we are constantly meeting new people who are passionate about shopping by their values. More and more people are realizing what products they choose to support, makes a difference in the world (a term we call Citizen Commerece
). We're creating a place for people who want their purchases to have meaning -- to support what matters most to them: whether it's technical innovation, green or social enterprises, the creation of jobs, domestic manufacturing, or the preservation of craft. And when we meet other folks who are passionate about helping these types of products succeed as well, we get excited.
We recently met Sarah Wagner, founder of USA Love List
and her story struck a cord. Sarah is from the Detroit area so the idea of buying American and supporting the businesses that support our communities is not something new or trendy for her but rather a part of her consumer DNA. We recently sat down with Sarah to get to know more about her and her site USA Love List.
Can you tell us a bit about why and how USA Love List got started?
The site itself was inspired by a cross country RV trip with my family. Driving through towns and cities across the country, I noticed that the presence of manufacturing was often the key that allowed small towns to remain vibrant communities where people want to live and raise their families. On the trip, we went on several factory tours and was inspired by the pride, even LOVE, expressed by the people who were still making things in America. The site was launched with the idea of making lists of the items we loved, made in the USA.
Here at The Grommet, we are on an ever-constant search for the best, new, innovative products with an extra antenna up for those made here in the USA. How do you find the Made in the USA products that you share with your community?
When we started USA Love List, we thought it would be hard to find products we really loved that were Made in the USA. People say they don't make anything here anymore. But it's not true. We used to go looking for them, but now brands find us or we get suggestions from our readers. Honestly, to us, it feels like there is a river of fantastic products and companies coming our way every day. But the irony is that it is still difficult to find those products when we want to buy a unique birthday gift or new pajamas for our kids. Making it EASIER to buy American is one of our primary goals and we absolutely love it when we find sites like The Grommet that boast special sections for American-made products.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to finding and supporting products made here in America?
When USA Love List started, we didn't know where to go to find interesting, stylish, high quality products made in the USA. There were sites that attempted to list everything, from pipe fittings to lawn chairs -- too many products and none we wanted to buy.
From the beginning, we have shared a curated collection of products with a very simple filter, it has to be "stuff we love". We find "stuff we love" from all kinds of sources: directly from the brands where they can only be purchased online, at major retailers like Amazon (which doesn't do a great job of labeling by country of origin) or Nordstrom (which does do a superb job), and even right under our noses at the grocery and big box stores.
We think marketers and brands have no idea how fervently Americans want to support their homegrown businesses. We'd like to see more labeling and clearer labeling. Brands are proud to put a leaf on their package to show that they are looking out for the environment or a pink ribbon to showcase their efforts in support of breast cancer research. Why not add a little flag and clear labeling about the origins of the product? With concerns rising about carbon footprints, contamination, and fair treatment of workers, that's something our readers, and many, many Americans would like to see.
Sarah, thank you for stopping by The Grommet today and sharing a bit about USA Love List. We look forward to seeing more American Made products rise to the top. And will be sure to check out your holiday guides this season.