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Posts Tagged ‘American made’

Oakley Sunglasses 2The warm weather has finally arrived, and it’s time to start spending more time outside. Whether it’s at the beach, in the backyard, or at a baseball game, a good pair of sunglasses is a must-have this time of year.

If you are looking for a new pair of shades be sure check out Oakley sunglasses. Not only does Oakley make many of the coolest sunglasses ever designed, they have superior eye protection, they’re competitively priced, and most (if not all) of their shades are made right here in the USA.

I’ve been a huge fan of Oakley ever since I was a kid. During the mid-nineties, there was a period when it seemed everyone in my entire high school was wearing Oakley sunglasses (or Oakley knock-offs we called “Foakleys,”). The brand had recently introduced their iconic e-wire design and the trend (in Miami, Florida, anyway) was to wear sunglasses indoors on your forehead as you walked around from class to class. It seems a little silly now, but at the time, that was the thing to do.

Ever since that time, Oakley has consistently been a leader in the sunglasses industry. The company, headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, has been a frontrunner in eyewear innovation and currently holds more than 600 patents for eyewear, materials, and performance gear. They have had design after design become best-sellers, and they have earned their position as one of the most recognized and coveted brands in the industry.

I recently entered the market for a new pair of shades when I broke the sunglasses I had been wearing for several years.  Having never even researched sunglasses since committing to buy American a little over three years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. Would I even be able to find American-made sunglasses? And if so, would they be reasonably priced and look good? I was ecstatic to find that Oakley – my favorite brand of sunglasses – are made right here in the USA.

In my research, I could not confirm that all Oakley sunglasses are American-made. Many accounts online suggest that all their sunglasses are made in America, but others say that a few of their designs are imported. Nonetheless, the brand has many different styles that are manufactured domestically (in California), and you can identify them because the words “Made in U.S.A.” are stamped in raised letters on the inside arms of the frames.

In my search, I considered many different Oakley styles, and the decision on which pair to go with was tough. In the end, I chose a pair of polarized Oakley Pit Bull sunglasses.  They look and feel awesome, and they can be purchased for around $130. I’ve had these glasses for a few weeks, and I absolutely love them.

By the way, the fact that I’m from Miami and I bought “Pit Bull” glasses is purely coincidental.

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

Randy

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What I LearnedFor the last three years I have been fully committed to buying American. That means barring certain circumstances when buying American is simply not possible, I have purchased nothing but goods made in the USA.

I started buying American as New Year’s resolution in 2010 and have been doing it ever since.  After doing a bit of research, here is the buy American program I chose to follow.

I must say, this experience has been extremely rewarding because I know every time I make a purchase I am doing my part to create jobs in America at a time so many are in need of work.

Here are three surprising things I learned in my experience buying American:

  1. Buying American Saves Money – I never would have believed it before I started buying American, but faithfully buying made in USA absolutely saves money.  Mind you, not every item is less expensive, because sometimes you do have to pay a bit of a premium, but on the whole I have saved money by buying American.  There are two main reasons for this.  First, buying American cuts down considerably on the purchases you make of things you don’t need.  You save money because you make fewer impulse purchases.  Second, buying American forces you to do more research on the things you do buy.  Once you’ve taken the time to research where to find a certain good that is American made, it’s a natural next step to find that same good for the best price possible.  I find better deals now than I ever did before I started buying American.
  2. Buying American Does Not Require Deprivation – I never would have believed this before either, but buying American does not leave you feeling deprived all the time.  Practically everything I buy is American made, and my experience has been so good that I have no plans to change that.  But the key to avoiding the feeling of deprivation is to allow for the purchase of a few imported goods when the right circumstances call for it.  The whole point of buying American is to use your buying power to support jobs here in America, but there is no need to refuse necessities – like cell phones for example – that simply cannot be found made in the USA.  The buy American program I follow allows for several key exceptions to the buy American rule.  Those exceptions make staying on a buy American program possible.  Going cold turkey won’t work.
  3. Buying American Becomes Easy to Do – In the first couple days of a strict buy American program, it can be difficult.  It’s similar to cutting out carbs or gluten from your diet for the first time (if you’ve ever tried that).  At first, it is a real shock.  But after a while, you get the hang of it.  At first, you go to stores and it seems like everything you plan on putting into your cart is imported and off-limits.  But after a little while, you cycle through all the regular items you have to buy frequently, and you just know which brands are made in USA and which aren’t.  I didn’t know at first, but I now know I buy certain batteries, sponges, socks, etc., all that are American made.  Once you’ve done the research the first time, which often requires nothing more than looking at the fine print on packages, buying American becomes simple.  Buying American doesn’t start out easy, but it definitely becomes easy before long.

Please consider joining our growing Buy American Movement.

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

Randy

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Christmas Wish: Find WorkWhen shopping this holiday season, don’t forget that for millions of unemployed Americans, the most important gift you can give is a job.  And you can make a real difference for people struggling to find work in this country by simply making an effort to buy American during the holidays (and beyond).

Most people don’t really consider themselves job creators, but the truth is every time we spend our hard-earned money, we are creating jobs – somewhere.

Decades ago the vast majority of goods consumed in this country were made in the USA, so pretty much however one spent his money, there was a good chance most of it was going toward American job creation.

But over the years, the percentage of goods found in stores that are made in America has decreased dramatically.  When we buy goods from overseas, that’s where the money goes, and that’s where the jobs are created.

So nowadays, we can’t just buy things with no regard for where they are made.  Unemployment is too high for that.  We need to pay a little more attention and make an effort to buy things that are made in USA whenever we can, especially when we can find items of equal or better value comparably priced.

Little by little those made in USA purchases add up, and they turn into jobs for Americans who need work.

It saddens me to think of all the parents out there this time of year, who want nothing more than to provide a joyous Christmas (or other holiday) for their children, but don’t have the means to provide it because of joblessness.

Even if it’s only for a few weeks around the holidays, try to make an extra effort to buy American.

If enough of us will do it, we’ll have more work to go around in this country, and a few more smiling children on Christmas morning.

Take the Buy American Challenge today.

Happy Holidays!

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

Randy

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In all the hoopla surrounding the Republican presidential primaries, the release of President Obama’s 2013 budget, the Grammy’s, and the tragic passing of Whitney Houston, a truly significant report about America’s relentlessly growing trade deficit has been given very little media attention and is in danger of going unnoticed by the American public.

On Friday, February 10th, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the U.S. trade deficit for goods and services was $558 billion in 2011, a 12% increase over the trade deficit for all of 2010.  Over half of the U.S. trade deficit (53%) was due to a $295.5 billion trade deficit with China, a staggering sum which stands as the largest trade deficit between two countries in history. (full report)

As our country’s job-stifling trade deficit continues to expand rapidly, and our inability to get it under control is without a doubt undermining our economic recovery.

Let’s look a little closer at why the trade deficit grew in 2011.  U.S. exports experienced strong growth in 2011.  Exports increased by $265 billion for the year, an 11.4% increase over 2010.  However, these strong gains were more than offset by $324 billion increase in imports, a 13.8% increase over the previous year.

What does this mean? Even though we are making significant gains by increasing exports, which is creating jobs, we are simultaneously costing ourselves jobs by continuing to increase our consumption of imported goods. 

While some of the simultaneous increases of imports and exports are due to imported materials being used to make goods in the U.S. for export, the vast majority of our trade deficit is due to the trade imbalance we incur in consumer goods and automobiles. 

In 2011, the U.S. imported $768 billion worth of consumer goods and automobiles.  However, we exported just $309 billion in these same categories.  Overall, the U.S. experienced a $459 billion trade deficit in consumer goods and automobiles, which accounted for 82% of the overall U.S. trade deficit for 2011.

What does that mean for American consumers?  It means we have the power to control our collective economic destiny by adjusting our consumer behavior.  If enough of us will commit to buying American, we have it within our power to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit, which will keep more than a half-trillion dollars circulating in our economy, and will create jobs – probably millions of jobs – here in America.

That is why I am buying American.  I am determined to do my part to get our country back to prosperity.  Will you join me?  Take the Buy American Challenge today!

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

Randy

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Two years ago I made a New Year’s resolution.  I had been thinking about the high rate of unemployment in this country and how our economic troubles are made so much worse by the enormous number of goods we import each year.  We would be so much better off if we created jobs by making those goods here in America.  We just need more Americans to demand goods made in the USA.

So I said to myself, I might not be able to change the way Americans shop, but I can certainly change the way I shop, and I refuse to continue to contribute to a problem that is causing so much economic pain for so many. From now on I’m buying American!

That was the New Year’s resolution I made to myself two years ago.  I originally set out to do it for one year, but once I completed the first year, I didn’t even consider stopping there. I found out that once you buy American for a few months it becomes second nature.

While this experience hasn’t been easy, it has been very rewarding.  I feel good knowing I am doing my part to create jobs when I buy the things I need.  From shoes, to clothes, to furniture, to cars, practically everything I buy is made in USA.  Those purchases are creating jobs in Virginia where I live and in places across the country.  Looking back, deciding to buy American is one of the best decisions I have made.  I do not regret it at all.

My New Year’s resolution this year is to make a concerted effort to get more people to commit to buying American.  I know there are millions of Americans that are willing to do it.  We just need to find those people and ask them to join our growing buy American movement.  If we get enough people to do it, we can make a real difference by creating jobs at a time that so many Americans need work.

I may have already asked you in the past, but if you are reading this I am asking you again right now.

Please consider taking the buy American challenge.  Buying American is the one thing you can do every day to help create jobs for Americans.  What better time to begin than at the start of a new year?

If you will do it, you will be doing your part to get our country back on the right track.

Commit to buying American this New Year.  It is a resolution you won’t regret making.

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

Randy

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(This is a repost from an article I wrote several months back, but since Christmas is around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to repost it.)

Buying American when gift-giving presents an interesting dilemma.  A person may be passionate about buying American when purchasing items for their own use, but how does that apply when buying gifts for others?

I have been in this place many times in the last year, and my advice is to use your best judgment and err on the side of buying gifts that the gift-recipient(s) will actually enjoy above gifts you might buy because they are made in the U.S.A. 

The guidelines of the Buy American Challenge say that buying American only applies to you.  It does not apply to friends and family you might be buying gifts for.  So, if your nephew asks for certain pair of imported sneakers for his birthday, just get them and don’t even worry about it.  Refusing to buy gifts that are not made in the U.S.A. has the potential to anger people who do not particularly care where the things they want are made.  Although I do not share that point of view, I respect people who have it, even if they are a brother, daughter, or significant other.

This changes when the gifts are intended for you.  If you would only buy goods made in the U.S.A. for yourself, why shouldn’t you ask the same of people buying gifts for you?  When I have a birthday coming up, and I know people will be shopping for me, I always circulate a list (electronic list with links) of American-made things I would like to receive as gifts.  Not only does this make things much easier for friends and family buying gifts for you, but it also ensures you will get the American-made things you really want.  It also allows you to price-shop online ahead of time to save those buying gifts for you some cash.  Most importantly, it is a great opportunity to educate the people in your life about all the great things that are made in the U.S.A.  In my experience, people are generally happy to buy gifts that you have suggested for them to buy, and they are generally pleasantly surprised at all the high-quality, reasonably-priced, American-made things on the list. 

Actually, regardless of whether you buy American or not, I suggest sending gift wish-lists out. Putting out a list of potential gifts is a win-win for everyone.  Nobody likes to wander through the mall, picking things up, and trying to find something you think a person might like.  A list takes all the guesswork out of it.  Just be sure that it is clear your list is of options for potential gifts, and not a list of all the things you expect to get for the occasion.   My first list I sent to my family raised eyebrows when they thought I expected to get every gift on the list, and I had listed about 20 things listed. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that American-made goods sometimes cost more than imported goods.  You may have received a $30 pair of jeans in years past from a certain person.  If you send them a list of American-made gifts, make sure the list consists of items in the $30 price-range.  Don’t send them a link to $100 American-made jeans and expect them to buy those for you.  By the way, this is just an example of the kind of predicament you might discover.  In fact, American-made jeans can be found for $30.  Here is a link to beautiful pair from a great company called All American Clothing: http://www.allamericanclothing.com/products/AA301.html

One time you should go ahead and buy a gift made in the U.S.A. for someone else is when no specific gift has been requested and you are reasonably sure that an American-made gift will be liked just as much as an imported good.  I don’t think my dad particularly cares what brand of jeans he gets as a gift.  So if I know he wants jeans, I would absolutely buy a pair of American-made jeans for him.  This is another great opportunity to show those around you what great American-made products there are available.  Maybe some of these gifts will turn into brand loyalty and/or increased interest in buying American.  Don’t miss the opportunity to give American-made gifts when the chance presents itself.

Here is one final thought on buying American with regard to friends and family.  Sometimes those close to me buy imported things that they are very excited about, especially if they spent a good deal of money on the item, like a fancy jacket or watch.  When this happens, I make it a point to show exactly the same enthusiasm I would have shown if I didn’t care about buying American.  Remember, buying American only applies to you.  That means not judging others when they get things they want.  Show those around you the respect of sharing in their excitement as you would if buying American was not a priority of yours.  It will be appreciated. 

I hope you will find this gift-giving advice useful.  I would love to hear what you all think about these guidelines for American-made gift-giving.  Have you ever been in one of these gift-giving scenarios?  What did you choose to do?  Were you pleased with your choice afterward?

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

Randy

P.S. If you are looking for a great American made clothing brand, check out Made in USA Threads!

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Christmas is just around the corner, and every day millions of Americans are hitting the malls, shops, and websites searching for gifts to give friends and family. Even if this Christmas is leaner than some in years past, for many it will still be a time of much celebration.

But for many of the millions of unemployed or underemployed this season, Christmas will not be a time for celebration at all. In fact, Christmas is the hardest time of year to be unemployed because it is the time when financial obligations are the greatest.

When I’m shopping this Christmas season, I am doing everything I can to make sure the things I buy are made in USA, and I’m letting those around me know if they are buying me gifts, to please make sure they are American made.

That’s not to say every gift you buy for ever person should be American made, because sometimes a person wants a very specific item, or sometimes an American made version of what you want to get for someone is simply not available.  Check out my advice for buying American while gift-giving.

Here are a few examples of the things you can do to buy American this Christmas season: 

Buy a real Christmas tree. The fake ones are usually made overseas while the real ones are almost always grown right here in the USA.  I have always insisted on real Christmas trees because I love the smell of a real tree, but they are also a great way to buy American and create jobs. If you do prefer an artificial tree, a company called Christmas in America makes theirs in the USA.

Buy American made candles. People tend to buy a lot of candles around the holidays, and generally American-made candles can be found very easily at retail stores near you.  But the imported ones are on the shelf right next to the American-made ones.  The imports generally aren’t any better or cheaper.  Make the right choice. 

Buy American wine.  People buy more wine around Christmas than any other time of year.  Thankfully some of the greatest wine in the world is made right here in states like California, Washington, and New York.  Don’t feel the need to buy an imported wine for a gift because it might look it like a better wine.  The comparably priced American wine is probably better, and you’ll be helping create jobs here in the USA if you buy American.

Buy American clothing.  We buy lots of clothes around Christmas time, and there are lots of great options that are American made.  Check out the Made in USA Clothing Company for a great American brand of polo shirts and sweatshirts for men and women.  Check out All American Clothing for some more great clothing options including jeans.  Check out Todd Shelton for a true American made designer brand. 

Finally, check out www.AmericansWorking.com for a great directory of American made products.

Every time we buy American made we are doing something – our small part – to create jobs for Americans. This is so important when millions of Americans are out of work. 

This year, in the spirit of Christmas, please buy American.  I am.

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

Randy

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