I really want to be more responsible with my purchases. I see people everywhere struggling to find work, unemployed, or just barely making it.  Now I’m going to get up on my soapbox and lecture for a minute. STRUGGLING IS NOT NECESSARILY A BAD THING! It teaches us to be fiscally responsible, frugal, and cut unneccessary expenses from our living. For example: Do I really need the delicious Almond Joy bar staring at me in the grocery store checkout? Nope. Do I really have to have the latest skinny jeans? Again, nonotreallyatall.

Speaking of having things, sometimes my phenomenal husband just drives me nuts, and I hear his voice ringing through the house: “Hun, where’s the  (insert ANYTHING we own rightinhere) ?” I get it. I stay home with the girls, I know where it’s all kept. But whatever he’s looking for is usually right there if he’d just look. American consumers are the same way. We know what we want, but sometimes we don’t know where to look. That’s where I’m hoping this blog will come in. I’ll do the legwork to spotlight different American companies that are hopefully not too expensive.

So I’m going to make a promise to you, my reader. I’m swearing off my favorite store for a year, the Gap. Their sales are great and their clothing fits me well. But nothing’s locally made. Instead, I am going to purchase only US made clothing, clothing from yard sales (because even if it’s foreign made, the money still goes directly to an American) or clothing I’ve made.

I’m going to do a little price comparison between another store I like, American Eagle, and American Apparel stuff from Etsy.com.

You’d think they both manufacture everything in the US since the FIRST word you see is “American”, right?

Negative. Only one does. In fact, American Eagle doesn’t sell a SINGLE item that I’ve seen produced here in our country…So you can spend 19.50 + shipping on this: http://www.ae.com/web/browse/product.jsp?productId=2301_3485 and get a shirt that’s cute, but not made in the US–it’s creating jobs somewhere overseas…

or you could spend 12.50 + 2.50 shipping on this:

And contribute to the local economy TWO ways: First, you’re supporting a local artist who hand-screenprints these shirts, and second, the shirts themselves are made in the US by a California based company called American Apparel who is sweatshop-free and creates lots of American jobs. I think that’s a much more win-win situation, don’t you?

 Picture uploaded and linked with permission from Adam at Elementalshop. Take a look at their Etsy page, they have more than just this and it’s all US made and very reasonably priced! http://www.etsy.com/people/elementalshop#

 Now I realize that people have different tastes – there are lots of different styles on Etsy. This scarf by Zenthreads is breezy and could probably coordinate with anything. Click on the scarf and it’ll take you right to the Zenthreads wesbite, which has pillows, shirts, dinner napkins, and other fun stuff.

On the American Apparel website, there’s a link that demonstrates how to wear this scarf ten different ways. You can use it as a headwrap, a shirt, etc. Pretty versatile if you ask me! I love the fact that it reminds me of an old farmhouse (home, perhaps?).

The great thing about Etsy is that you can choose colors of the fabric and the screenprinting. Most of the shop owners are extremely friendly and helpful, and always willing to help you figure out sizing

 

Ok great, but nothing to wear for a night out on the town? Look at this cute dress from flytrap on Etsy!

  

 The point is, there’s tons of American made clothing out there if you look hard enough. Etsy is a great source for lots of it, and has a feature where you can enter your zipcode to get even more local.

Where/When was the last time you actually saw a piece of clothing made in the US? I’d love to hear your comments!

 

Putting in the disclaimer that I wasn’t paid or compensated in any way to post the info about any of the clothing that I posted . I just think it’s cute and affordable.

So somehow we’ve ended up with only one sheet set in the house, and of course last night that sheet set ended up in the laundry. Ok, we only use the fitted because my hubby thrashes around in his sleep and gets the flat sheet all bunched up, and what’s the point of even having it if you’re going to find it jammed in the footboard by morning? I’ve long given up on folding and neatly tucking the edges hospital style. A perfectionist, I’m not.

Anyways, I decided today that I would venture out after church to attain a new sheet for our bed. That should be fairly simple, right? Once you get used to lugging two children around it becomes a nonissue. I wanted bedding We needed bedding so off we went, the girls and I.

 Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to bedding–my only preference this time? Made in America. Between national and local economy issues and being married to a man who is PASSIONATE about his family business, I decided that I’d make a real effort to buy American made products as much as possible without breaking the bank. The national news had a few stories too, where they cleaned a house out of everything not made in America- the family was left with a vase, and something else I forgot. It spoke to me.  So I picked up the phone to call a few stores in the Portland area before wasting the gas to get out there.

 60 Minutes later: no gas wasted. no fussing from the girls. no American-made sheets.

I called ten stores (got put on hold for 13 minutes by one place as they hand-checked the entire stock) with no results. J.C. Penney, Sears, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Mills & Co, America’s Mattress, Cuddledown, L.L. Bean, Target, Wal-Mart, and Marshalls all had nothing to offer me.  I ended up bartering with a manager at Marshall’s to get a clearanced Ralph Lauren fitted for ten dollars. Bartering works wonders in the stores- don’t be shy, just be friendly and ask. The worst they’ll say is no, and then you can either buy it or put it back. Anyways, now that I’m home I’ve found a few brands that carry American made sheets. Not in my budget, but maybe in yours:

  • Heart of Vermont
  • Native Organic
  • Cozytown Linens
  • Celia Rachel
  • KellyGreen

What about you?