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Made in USA DVD.pngMade in USA: The 30 Day Journey,” Josh Miller’s new documentary is an inspirational reminder that the words “Made in USA” still matter. While Americans from Main Street to the halls of Congress struggle to cope with our sputtering economy, Miller reminds us that the answer to reclaiming a prosperous future may lie in the long-forgotten rallying cry to “Buy American.”

As Miller demonstrates in his month-long trek across the United States, a sure-fire way to create American jobs is to stimulate demand for American-made products. While conventional wisdom once told us the jobs that left our shores would never return, as is so often the case, that conventional wisdom is now being turned on its head.

The film shows that in many industries, companies that stuck to their American-made roots are now thriving, while firms that made the decision to off-shore are realizing the advantages of sourcing from low-wage countries like China are being eaten up by rapidly increasing wages in those countries. Once you consider the other disadvantages of off-shoring, such as increased shipping costs, higher inventory costs, and extended time to get products to market, in many industries the benefits of overseas production are now being outweighed by the costs. As a consequence, America may be primed for a serious jobs recovery.

In the film, Michael Araten, CEO of the toy company K’Nex, whom Miller interviews, makes the most compelling case that the U.S. is poised for job creation in the manufacturing sector and that the Buy American Movement can help facilitate it. “What I see happening is that consumers care more and more where stuff is made; businesses react to consumers,” explains Araten. “As demand picks up for [American-made products], then [businesses] will find more ways to [fill that demand].”

The economics of it are truly very simple – consumers demand American products, and companies hire American workers to produce those products. While few would question that basic premise, many would question whether promoting the concept of “Made in USA” is worthwhile. Jobs, after all, will come back when the economics demand it, not likely before then. But in the film, Miller makes a compelling case that buying American is effective enough to be worthwhile and is the patriotic thing to do by interviewing those that have been laid off due to factory closings. We are reminded that every time a factory is shuttered, it is real American families that suffer, and Miller lets us hear from these folks. But the film doesn’t just highlight this problem; it also gives us a solution – we can reverse this disturbing outsourcing trend by using our collective purchasing power to create jobs here in U.S. The film makes it clear that America needs to get serious about buying American right now, before another factory closes and another small town, like the one Miller grew up in, is devastated.

One aspect of the film worthy of applause is the non-partisan approach to the topic that Miller maintains. The importance of buying American resonates with people from all kinds of political backgrounds. As divisive as politics can be, Miller was smart to steer clear of any overtly political messages. It would have been very easy for Miller to let some of his personal political views creep into the film. In my view, that would have only been a diversion from the true message of the film: Our economic future is in our own hands, and we can have a better future by buying American.

I also love the way the film ends (I’m not giving anything away here) – with unique question that Miller poses to the audience. His question strikes right at heart of the problem the Buy American Movement has struggled with for years. The American people are as patriotic as they have ever been, but even the most patriotic people often don’t make an attempt to buy American, even though it will help our country to do so. When it comes to patriotism and consumer behavior, the rhetoric and the actions are simply not aligned.

Here is Miller’s question: We’re willing to die for our country, but are we willing to buy for it?

If more people would ponder Miller’s question seriously, I think we would see the Buy American Movement really take off in this country, and that could lead to the economic recovery in America that we have all been anticipating, but have yet to experience.

Made in USA: The 30 Day Journey is a must-see film. You can get a DVD for $19.99 by going to the website for the film: http://www.usa30days.com/

Get your copy today.

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I’ve made several posts this year about a documentary film project called “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey,” a film about a regular American guy (Josh Miller) who sets out on a 30-day journey across the country to discover what “Made in USA” means and what impact it has for the future of our country.

Just weeks after filming has wrapped up for this ground-breaking film, Miller and the rest of his production team have released a film trailer. 

Check out the film trailer here:

This is a great preview of the film, which is expected to be released a few months from now, although a release date has not yet been set. 

I have been doing all I can to support this film because this project has the potential to reach millions of Americans with a critical message:  The future of our country depends on each of us doing our part to buy American.

At least that’s what I think the central message of the movie will be based on the trailer and all I know about Josh and his project, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  I will be waiting with eager anticipation to see what Josh and his crew discovered on their journey.

You can find out more about the film here.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Recently, I decided it was time to buy some new suits.  When I made that decision, I had a feeling that these were going to be costly purchases.  You see, I am committed to buying American, and I thought I might have to pay a substantial premium to get quality suits that are made in the U.S.A.

But I am glad to say that my preconceived notion about the cost of buying quality American-made suits was completely wrong.

After a brief internet search I came across an American-made brand of suit called Hardwick, an extremely high-quality suit that, get this, can be had for under $300.  Reviews online for Hardwick suits were great, so I bought one immediately.

It just goes to show you that American workers can still compete in industries that many have long given up on.  Let’s not continue to make that mistake.

Let there be no mistake about this: Hardwick suits are extremely well-made.  They are easily the full equivalent (if not the superior) of imported suits I have purchased in years past from fine department stores and men’s clothiers – suits for which I’ve typically paid as much as $400-$500.

The Hardwick suit I purchased is beautiful charcoal grey made of 100% worsted wool, and you can just see and feel the quality of the suit when you put it on.  I’ve worn it just a few times, and I get positive comments every time I wear it.

Hardwick’s quality comes from over a century of experience in the industry and superior craftsmanship of their suit-makers.  Founded in 1880, Hardwick is proud to be the oldest private-held apparel manufacturer in the United States.  They make all of their fine men and women’s clothing in Cleveland, Tennessee. The company performs all cutting, sewing, and distribution from this location where they employ about 400 people (seen below).

Kudos to Hardwick for remaining loyal to their workers in Tennessee.  Their product is of better quality due to the fact that it is American-made.

So where did I actually buy my Hardwick suit?  I got it from an online retailer called MensSuitSeparates.com.  This retailer had the best deals I could find anywhere for Hardwick suits.  They’ve also got good deals on American-made Neil M shoes and American-made Gitman Brothers shirts.  MensSuitSeparates.com is one-stop shopping for a professional man’s wardrobe needs.

After I found MensSuitSeparates.com online, I called them up with a few questions and got all the information I needed with quick and friendly customer service (Thanks again, Carl!).  I placed my order, and had my suit delivered to my front door in just a few days. There was no charge for shipping, and the online retailer offered me 100% money back for returns in case there was any problems (there weren’t any).

I really like Hardwick suits because in addition to being really well-made and sharp looking, they offer suits sold as separates – which means you can get the specific size of jacket and pants that fit you best, instead of getting the right sized jacket with pants that are way too big.  the suit I ordered fit so well when it arrived, the only tailoring I needed to have done was to hem the pants.  I’ve found buying suits as separates will save you a lot of money in tailoring.

This was the first suit I have ever purchased online, and I have to say, it was a great experience. In the past, I always bought suits in stores because I thought it was necessary to try suits on before I bought them.  But then I realized this really is not necessary.  I buy the same size suit every time anyway, then I take the new suit in to my local tailor for small alterations.   When you buy suits this way, there is literally no difference between buying a suit in a store and buying them online.

No wait.  Actually, there is one difference.  You can get better deals online.

My experience was so good with MensSuitSeparates.com and Hardwick that I have just put an order in for two more suits.  I can’t wait until they show up.  For the first time in my life, I am going to have a rotation of American-made suits.

Maybe it’s just me, but that makes me proud.

If you are in the market for a new suit, consider buying a Hardwick, and give MensSuitSeparates.com a try.  You can find the link to MensSuitSeparates.com on this site at all times under “Good Vendors.”

Hardwick suits are simply a cut above the competition.  You could not find a better suit for a better price anywhere.  And when you buy a Hardwick, you will be putting Americans to work at a time our country needs jobs the most.

Let’s spread the word about Hardwick suits and see if we can double their business.  With 10.1% unemployment in Bradley County – the county in which Cleveland, Tennessee is located – the people living in this area of the country could sure use 400 new jobs.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Against all odds, the American Made Chic tour hits the road first thing tomorrow morning.

I say against all odds because the lead up to this bus tour has been Murphy’s Law at its finest – that’s the law that states anything that can go wrong will.  For the AMC Tour, seemingly anything that could possibly have gone wrong has.

Just weeks from departure, what seemed like a plan that was being perfectly executed began to unravel.

The biggest obstacle to overcome was acquiring a vehicle.  Originally, the Chic Tour ladies were told that a vehicle would be donated to the project, but just weeks from departure it became clear that the bus they were anticipating would not be pulling up to take them to Kentucky and beyond.

What a setback! The vehicle was a key component of their promotional strategy.  They absolutely needed a bus or a very large Winnebago on which to display the logos of their sponsors.  The bus tour was the whole idea – no bus, no tour.

So, not having planned or budgeted for the purchase of a vehicle, the ladies hit the market for used Winnebago; one they could transform into a traveling advertisement for all things made in USA.

After hours and hours of fruitless searching, which spanned hundreds of miles up and down Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Julie Reiser, the lead on this project, considered folding up the tent.  The show simply could not go on without a vehicle, and they didn’t have one.

But instead of allowing this setback to shoot down this dream that was three years in the making, Julie stiffened her upper lip and decided that failure was not an option. 

Her relentless search for wheels continued.  That’s when she found a 1997, Coachmen Mirada RV being housed in Miami, Florida that was for sale.  This vehicle had some quirks, but it would fit their purpose, and best of all, the price was right. Julie shot down to Miami and came back with the land-yacht that will ultimately serve as the epicenter of the American Made Chic Tour this summer.

The trials and tribulations didn’t stop there. Sponsors fell through. Goods that would be sold on the tour never showed up. The wrapping of the vehicle with all the logos turned out to be another enormous, yet unavoidable, expense.  Thing after thing went wrong.  But on the eve of this historic journey, every leak in the dam has been patched, and the show is ready to hit the road.

Me (Randy of Buy American Challenge) and Chic Ladies Julie Reiser (right) and Kim Gregory (left) pictured here on April 12th. We met up in South Florida to plan for the big tour over a bottle of California's finest.

As they do, the Chic trio is hoping to pick up additional sponsors. The unanticipated expenses have put this project in the red, and while the AMC Tour is all set to go to Kentucky, they are still trying to figure out how they are going to find money for the gas they will need to get home. But they’ve come too far to turn back now; the tour will continue as planned.

Thinking ahead, Julie and company left open space on the RV siding so that new sponsors could be added as the tour gets underway.  If you know of any business that might like to sponsor this tour, send me a quick email, and I’ll pass it along to Julie.

Or if you would like to make a small personal contribution to the tour, you can make it here (all major credit cards accepted).  The sole purpose of the AMC Tour is to promote “Made in USA.”  These ladies are out there fighting the good fight so businesses that create jobs in America will succeed, and our country can lift itself out of the economic doldrums we’ve been stuck in.  Even if it’s just a few dollars, please consider making a little contribution to support their effort.  I am.

Now, just hours from departure, the vehicle is ready, the bags are packed, the reservations are made, the events are planned, and the three powerful and stylish ladies are enjoying one last night at home before the traveling circus begins.

With these three fabulous and chic ladies, it’s bound to be a wild ride.  One you won’t want to miss.

You can follow the American Made Chic tour at these sights: AMC Tour Facebook Page, AMC Tour Twitter Page, AMC Tour Live Blog

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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The buy American movement is growing, and this summer it may reach new heights thanks to a promotional bus tour that that will embark in a matter of days to promote American-made products and services.  This tour is called “American Made Chic,” and it will set out on April 28, 2012 to change the views of Americans and shed light on all things made in America.

Led by three incredibly talented, smart, and chic American business women, the tour will travel across the country in a red, white, and blue motorhome creating high impact events and awareness for jobs, manufacturing, and products Made in the U.S.A.

American Made Chic will be filming “out takes” and taking photographs for their live streaming interactive blog.  They will be showing the beauty and history of our amazing country while weaving in stories highlighting exemplary manufactures, producing products right here in the U.S.A.

Social media has created a way for fans, and followers to interact in real time, joining the Chic Tour in conversations, real time contests, and being a part of the summer fun allowing everyone to join the Chic ladies on the road this summer, creating a 3-D fan experience while giving hope to Americans for a better future of our country.

Below is the schedule for the first leg of the American Made Chic tour which takes place in Louisville, Kentucky.  If they are coming to a city near you, please show them your support.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

American Made Chic Tour Schedule for Louisville, Kentucky

April 30, 2012

6:00-11:00 a.m.

Kentucky Derby Museum (704 Central Ave, Louisville, KY)

Meet and Greet AT&T Press Morning and kickoff of Derby festivities.

May 1, 2012

6:00-9:00 p.m.

Avalon (1314 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY)

Celebrating American Made Products Happy Hour Event featuring American Made Products provided by AMC official Sponsors. AMC Tour will be presenting an award to a company or individual in the Louisville area highlighting their desire to strive for excellence in community, economy or new product development in the female category given by Women Impacting Public Policy.

May 2, 2012

10:00 a.m.

Louisville Slugger Hillerich & Bradsby Factory (800 West Main Street, Louisville, KY)

AMC Ladies will be behind the scenes touring the manufacturing plant of the highly renowned Louisville Sluggers.

6:00-8:00 p.m.

The Green Building (732 East Market, Louisville, KY)

AMC Tour will be presenting a custom-created masterpiece by R.S. Owens & Co. (Maker of the prestigious Oscar awards) to a company or individual in the Louisville area highlighting their desire to strive for excellence in community, economy or new product development.

May 3,2012

10:00 a.m.

Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center (1311 Gilkey Run Road, Bardstown, KY)

1:00 p.m.

Maker’s Mark (3350 Burks Spring Road, Loretto, KY)

AMC Ladies and Adam Johnson, Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, will experience firsthand the smelling of the sour mash, seeing and hearing a column still and encounter the heavy redolence of aging Bourbon and oak in a warehouse that takes our senses to a new level.

May 4, 2012

10:00 a.m. (All Day)

Kentucky Oaks (Churchill Downs 700 Central Avenue)

AMC Ladies will experience a Louisville tradition by sipping on Oaks Lily Cocktails and watching the lilies for our filly crowning.

6:00 p.m.

Expo Five (2900 7th Street Road Louisville, KY)

The AMC Ladies and Expo Five Center will highlight American Spirits while enjoying an evening of entertainment with Derby Fans.

May 5, 2012

5:00 a.m. (All Day)

Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs 700 Central Avenue)

AMC Ladies will be at Churchill Downs behind the scenes watching the sun rising over the track, the glistening of the dew on the grass and the horses being prepped for one of the most exciting American Traditions the Run for the Roses.

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In parts one and two of this series we talked about the men behind the project that could make the Buy American movement go viral, and how their project is exploding into a firestorm of Buy American enthusiasm. Today, in the final chapter of this series, we will talk about how to bring that flame to every man and woman who loves this great nation.

That is where you and I come in.  When I heard this project was afoot, I immediately contacted Josh and offered him my assistance.  I asked him, “What can I do to make sure this ground-breaking project is a success?” Then it dawned on me: The key to making this small project being orchestrated from a kitchen table in West Virginia is to spread the word. 

Right now, this is the project of just a few thoughtful individuals.  But why not make this America’s project?  Why not spread the word, and make this small budget film America’s big chance to bridge divides, both politically and socioeconomically, that have not been bridged in years?  Why not take this opportunity, to forcefully remind ourselves that we are not powerless to control our economic futures, but empowered by our buying power to control our own collective destiny if we will each do our own small part by buying American more often?

Keep this in mind.  The average American adult is responsible for over $700 in imported goods per month.  With just a small change in our purchasing behavior, we could substantially reduce the U.S. trade deficit, and that would create millions of good-paying American jobs.  We can do better.

So, this is what I am doing, and I sincerely hope you will join me:

  1. Forward this story to everyone you know.  Put this on Facebook, Twitter, and email it all around.
  2. Go to:  http://www.usa30days.com/.  When you get there, make a contribution if you can, but more importantly, email Josh and tell him your thoughts about this project.  He wants to hear your thoughts and stories for the film, and it will just be immensely important for the success of this project.
  3. Like this project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.  If the project gets 2000 Facebook fans and 2500 Twitter followers by April 30th (only a few days away!), Josh and company are going to select a Twitter finalist and a Facebook finalist (at random) and draw the winner between the two finalists. The winner (and one friend) will be flown to one of the filming locations of their choosing to spend one night and one day with the film-makers all expenses paid by them!
  4. Finally, if you have a high-profile contact that you know might want to appear in this film or help promote it when it’s done, please contact them and ask them to volunteer to be interviewed for this film by sending an email to Josh.  We want Josh to be interviewing the best experts out there.  If this project is going to make the most convincing case possible, Josh is going to need the best group of economists, politicians, historians, politicians, etc. he can possibly get involved.  Just a little tweet can mean a lot for a film like this.  Let’s use all our contacts to give this film the attention it deserves.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  I’m through hoping for better outcomes for our country, when the status quo isn’t bringing them, and there is something I can actually do to make a difference.  Don’t we owe it to ourselves to try to do our part to get our country back on the right track while we still can by buying American?

Our country needs a thriving buy American movement.  Please join us.  And please spread the word about the 30 Day Journey. 

Let’s make this America’s project.  Let’s have this project be the spark that make this buy American movement go viral.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Every once in a while, you are just at the right place at the right time. Every now and then, an idea that has been stewing for years reaches a critical moment when a spark is lit, combustion occurs, and BOOM, next thing you know, it’s everywhere. 

In many ways, the Buy American movement is just such an idea.  It could be an idea that’s time has finally come.

In the last post we introduced you to filmmaker Josh Miller, the man behind the documentary that will bring the Buy American movement to every home. This post is the story of how Josh intends to do just that.

Hear it from Josh first-hand here:

Josh and his two companions, producer Ron Newcomb and a cameraman Justin Moe, never anticipated their project would ever grow to the size it already has. The threesome initially set out to make a small film with a meager budget of just $5,000; seed money they hoped to raise online, but were unsure they could.  But they figured they had the recipe for an intriguing story, and if need be, they would find a way to fund the project on their own if the fundraising efforts came up short.

The plan was originally for Josh, who has the double-role of co-producing and serving as the on-camera talent, to spend 30 days relying on and buying nothing but American-made goods.  The crew would hit the road, visiting cities and towns that either impact, or have been impacted, by America’s tendency to buy what they want, with little regard for the effect those decisions have on the greater health of our country. 

Along the way, Josh planned to interview business leaders, labor leaders, economists, politicians, historians, and regular Americans to hear their views, and hopefully,  make some sense of the multi-decade rise, fall, and mini-resurgence of made in America enthusiasm in this country.  In Josh’s own words, he wants an explanation for the seemingly conflicting exhibition of American patriotism displayed by so many when he asks rhetorically: “We’re willing to DIE for our country, but are we willing to BUY for it?”

It turns out that this just may be the case after all. For Josh and company, they are fast realizing that their project may be the spark that turns American patriotic spending from a notable consumer trend, into a full-fledged cultural revolution.

Josh and his team quickly surpassed their fundraising goal, raising nearly three times their original target. This concept clearly struck a chord with many Americans who have already heard about the project, and the reality is starting to set in that this project is bigger than just them.

So how do we do our part to bring this revolution to the masses? Find out in the third and final chapter of our series tomorrow.

Check out more about the film at:  http://www.usa30days.com/

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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