Looking to Buy “Made in the United States” Products?

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What if you wanted to buy products manufactured in United States? How can you find products that are U.S. made, or list your U.S. made products or learn if something is U.S. made…and what does that mean in the global environment today?

Use of the term “Made in the United States” is regulated and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Their website includes definitions and who must disclose their U.S. content and under what circumstances can a manufacturer make an “Unqualified” or “Qualified” Made in USA claim. Use this definition as a guide.

A number of websites and businesses have attempted to aggregate U.S. made products for sale. Each seems to have their own method of validating the claims of a manufacturer, and many are focused primarily on consumer or retail products. If you search online for “Made in the U.S.” a number of these sites will pop up. There’s even a movie titled American Made Movie about opportunities in the U.S.

One particularly useful website that aggregates a lot of information about Made in the U.S. websites is clothingmadeinusablog which includes directories, products, search engines or blogs for Made in the United States. The author lists over 100 different sites that might be worth looking into. The list appears to have been updated in each of the last two years, most recently March 14th of 2014.

So how does one find industrial products Made in the U.S.?

One solution is to look at any number of the MEP websites. Several Centers have established “Made in STATE” websites that include more industrial products. Examples include Made in Washington, Made in New Jersey, or Made in North Carolina. In several of these cases joining the web site connects you with many local potential suppliers through events, plant tours and other networking activities. Many states also have their own web sites as well such as Made in Montana seeking to foster greater sales within and across a state. Be aware, each has their own approach to validating the “Made In…” label.

There are a smaller set of industrial and wholesale web sites which feature industrial products, including; TopTenWholesale.com, Go4 Made in America or the America Made Matters websites and of course the older standbys of Dun and Bradstreet, Manufacturers’ News, Inc., or Thomas Register more traditional database approaches. The latter websites offer information about the location of manufacturing but not necessarily Made in the United States validation. Another resource is the MEP Supplier Scouting program.

If someone is interested in more early stage ideas inventors, another option is Edison Nation and similar websites. Here’s an interesting New York Times article that describes how creative U.S. inventors and manufacturers can connect.

So the next time you think about trying to buy something Made in the United States, take a look around and see if those needs can be met via one of these web sites above.

About Author

Tab Wilkins

Tab Wilkins is Regional Manager for Strategic Transition and Senior Technology Advisor at NIST MEP, primarily supporting Centers in the western US. Prior to joining NIST, Tab helped establish and run two MEP centers and has a varied background in non-profit management, leadership development and technology-based Economic Development.

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