Last weekend, I had the honor of attending the Martha Stewart American Made Summit in New York City. Martha Stewart has been holding this summit since 2012, highlighting some of the countries most unique, passionate and American-Made companies. This is the very first summit I have attended and I could barely contain my excitement. The thought of being in a room with individuals and companies who had the same sincere desire to design, make, manufacture and buy USA made goods was too good to be true! The summit lived up to my expectations and provided me with so much more.
The day was filled with panel discussions with people from all different industries and successful individuals who have made their mark on the world. As I was jotting my lecture notes down in the little notebook they provided us from Field Notes Brand (another American Made company), I found myself writing words that seemed to resonate in every panel presentation or speaker lecture. Those words that were repeated regardless of the person speaking or the type of company or industry being represented. As I looked back through my notes, I saw one word on almost every page. That word was "story". "Tell your story, have a story, connect with your story, be passionate about your story". Story by defination is "an account of past events in someone's life or in the evolution of something'. But when starting a business it is what makes you stand out from the millions of other start-ups. Whether it is funding your project, marketing your service/product or the actual selling of it, those companies that have connected with their audience through "their story" have proven to be more successful.
So let's talk about the story of American-Made, because it's a good one. What many don't realize is how just a little effort into buying American-Made products can have a huge impact on so many other important factors that affect us as country, a community, a family and an individual. Buying American does more than just grow the economy although that is a very important aspect. It allows the consumer to take part in something bigger than just a purchase. For example, the city of Detroit is experiencing what many call a "renaissance" of sorts. By all accounts, the off-shoring of production has had an immense negative effect on what was once one of America's largest manufacturing hubs. It sent thousands of workers into the unemployment lines and poverty, which has led to the slow deterioration of what was one of the great indutrialized cities of America. Now enter some who saw something different than a wastland, far too gone for help and not worth the effort. Shinola Watch Company - a past American Made honoree, was one of the first to bring their business to Detroit followed by so many others.
Each and every one of their "stories" is beyond compelling and truly inspiring. One of the honorees from this year's summit, was a young woman who has started a program called The Empowerment Plan. Veronika Scott started as a student coming up with a school project that turned into something so much more. She now employs homeless women from shelters to make her invention, a winter coat that turns into a sleeping bag for homeless people.
This is just one of the many ways in which American-Made can make a difference. Boosting the economy, creating jobs, touching lives, giving hope, keeping a close eye on the environmental impacts of fashion (which is a whole other story), creating sustainability and supporting this new crop of amazing entrepeneurs are all positive effects of buying American-Made. It sometimes seems futile to think that your little purchase will have any impact on this vast country but I am hear to say, that every effort counts and it truly starts with you. Start your American-Made story today!