The Nearly 400 National Parks – 22 in New York State – Currently Sell Gifts Made in China, Indonesia, Other Foreign Competitors

American Made, National Parks,

American Made, National Parks,

March 29, 2012   Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today introduced the American Parks, American Products Act to the Senate. The bill would require all items sold by National Parks Service gift shops to be produced in the United States.

“This is commonsense legislation to stamp products sold at America’s National Parks with the words ‘Made in America,’” Senator Gillibrand said. “The pride of our National Parks goes hand in hand with the pride of American-made products and our strong manufacturing tradition. The American Parks, American Products Act has the potential to support manufacturing jobs, and showcase American craftsmanship.”

Initially introduced into the House of Representatives by Congressman Steve Israel, the American Parks, American Products Act would require all gift shops operated by the National Parks Service to sell American-made products exclusively. Currently, there are nearly 400 National Parks throughout the United States that welcome 800,000 visitors daily. In New York State alone, there are 22 national parks that greeted over 16 million visitors in 201, and generated nearly $500 million for local economies in 2010.

The National Parks Service Commercial Services Program has more than 500 concession contracts that generate over $1 billion annually.   More…

What is the future of micro-enterprise in America? When will the U.S. create and implement a manufacturing development plan? How can the White House support Made in America? Bring your ideas and suggestions to share. Join us Feb 18-20 in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  Co-Sponsored by the Buyers Market of American Craft.


Join the American Made Alliance this coming May 27-28-29, 2011

(Friday through Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend)

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day outside the Bright Angel Lodge Gift Shop,

Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim

Our nation’s most creative resources have been outsourced:

When National Park Service concessions are selling mostly “Made in China” souvenirs,

authentic American and Native American artist/designers are the losers.

In fact, the tribal organizations and the Main Street communities all across America

are the  losers, too.  They’re being deprived of the economic investment that American artists

could be recycling in their communities … in our communities.

So before you make a purchase, SHOP SLOW:

Take a look at the tag. Ask where the product was made.

Ask for authentic Native American arts and crafts. Skip the imported look-alikes.

Ask for “Made in America” gifts and souvenirs by local and domestic producers.

Urge the National Park concessioners to buy more Made in America gifts and souvenirs and more authentic Native American products.

FOR MORE RALLY INFORMATION:  Contact Wendy Rosen at or 800.432.7238, ext. 226

UNCLE SAM: We Want YOU to Buy American Made GoodsPresident Obama

BALTIMORE (Feb. 26, 2011) The dearth of American-made gift and souvenir products in the Smithsonian’s gift shops is an old problem that needs new solutions.

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer reported this week that most items sold in the Smithsonian shops are made in China. The reporters would have found similar situations had they visited the gift shops of many national parks and historic sites.

It’s not entirely fair to blame Uncle Sam: In many cases, these stores are managed by independent companies, contractors and concessionaires instead of federal agencies. Like all other retailers, they face pricetag pressures. At the end of the day, imports are often cheaper than American-made products.

At least the imports in the Smithsonian shops bear labels informing the consumer that the items are made in China. Less scrupulous retailers have taken to removing or covering country-of-origin labels, to dupe the shopper. Even more heinous are the collaborators who steal the designs of hard-working American artisans and manufacturers, commission knock-off goods overseas, and then send the look-alike products back into the U.S. market at prices that undercut the originals.

Make no mistake: This robs us all. It ruins the market for American made products, it deprives the originators of the value of their creations, and it destroys jobs for American small businesses. That, in turn, hurts Main Street’s economy and the communities we live in.

Senator Bernie Sanders ( I-Vt.) recently addressed this topic in a letter to Brent Glass, director of the National Museum of American History. The senator bemoaned the lack of American-made items in the museum store. He was correct when he wrote: “As a nation, we have all got to be aware that one of the major reasons unemployment in this country is so high is because it is increasingly difficult to find products in our nation’s stores that are manufactured in this country.”

In other words, price point is not the only point that matters. These businesses should recognize the privilege and symbolism inherent in their unique locations at taxpayer-owned and federally funded institutions. It is more than reasonable that cultural travelers, school groups, tourists and federal workers expect to find American products in the stores inside American institutions.

Outcry from policymakers and consumers will help, but we’ve heard it before. It’s going to take fresh ideas, collaboration and new policy to influence the stores to stock and promote more authentically American products.

Policy writers and lawmakers:

  • Fund access-to-market education for the small, studio-based makers who can fill Uncle Sam’s stores with affordable American-made products. Yes, these manufacturers do exist. Organizations such as our American Made Alliance can identify thousands of them. Many are home-based or studio-based small businesses that are already filling orders from retailers. Many are unfamiliar with the federal procurement system through which some U.S. institution-based stores must acquire goods. Most do not sell through distributors. They are poised to grow and even to create jobs, if only they could win more contracts and orders on a national level. It starts with education.
  • Help us fight the retail fraud that steals the American maker’s living. We need enforcement of existing country-of-origin indelible marking laws, which require a permanent identifying mark on imported products. Enforcement would deter the use of paper stickers that are easily removed or covered by a price tag.
  • The smallest of the small manufacturers, solo ventures and studio-based businesses with three or fewer employees, need a voice at the policymaking table. Stop treating them like hobbyists: they are micro-enterprises. Amend your classification systems to accurately count them as manufacturers and calculate their contribution to the economy. Our industry’s last comprehensive study estimated that craft workers made a $14 billion economic impact, and that was based on data from several years ago; an update is in the works.

Retailers and concessionaires at taxpayer-owned institutions:

  • Send your buyers to the wholesale tradeshows that exhibit authentically American-made jewelry, home and fashion accessories, souvenir items and art works. Slapping an institution logo or label on a cheap imported souvenir does not transform it into an American product. Instead, buy from local artisans who can customize products for you. Our database lists 88 federally backed museums, sites and parks with gift stores. Of these, only 10 have ever visited the Buyers Market of American Craft, the premier wholesale tradeshow showcasing products by U.S. and Canadian artisans.
  • Follow the lead of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which recently held an informative public seminar for small businesses, outlining its procurement rules and its needs. By mandate, the Visitor Center’s two stores seek American-made products inspired by the Constitution, the Capitol Building, the Congress and historic legislation that shaped America. Also desired: high-quality American-made gift objects that federal workers and lawmakers can be proud to buy and give as gifts. Know that our nonprofit guilds and associations will work with you on getting the word out. “I can’t find an American maker” is a weak excuse if you have not reached out to give small producers a chance to compete.
  • Sell more than a gift, sell a story: In our experience, the consumer who cares about product origin also cares to know about the maker and his materials, skills and processes. With mass-produced imports, you don’t get that promotional bonus. (In fact, given the record of human rights violations and worker exploitation in countries known as sources of knock-offs, the stories behind some products on your shelves might not instill pride.)

Artisans and small producers:

  • Don’t be the needle in the haystack waiting for Uncle Sam to discover you. If you want to supply this market, study it and evaluate your product lines: Despite what you may think, you probably don’t have to paint your products red, white and blue to break in. Get involved in advocacy on behalf of small artisans and producers to learn about opportunities.


  • Shop local. According to The 3/50 Project and other organizations that support America’s brick-and-mortar retailers, about 60 cents of every dollar you spend in local stores stay in your community. When you visit the nation’s capital and historic sites, ask for American-made and locally made products. Let your purchases be investments in the American dreams of studio artisans, cottage industries, small independent manufacturers. Your dollars recycle on Main Street. Don’t settle for a knock-off. Be part of the solution. Don’t know where to find American-made products? Start here:

WENDY ROSEN is the founder of the American Made Alliance, a nonprofit trade association that engages in advocacy supporting fine craft artists and studios. She is the president and CEO of The Rosen Group, which publishes AmericanStyle magazine and produces the Buyers Market of American Craft wholesale tradeshows of artist-made products.

Communications director:
Jean Thompson, 800-432-7238, ext. 218 (office) or 443-845-6130 (cell)

IMG_0723BALTIMORE, Md. (October 27, 2010) – For small businesses in the arts, the recession has been no laughing matter. That is, in fact, why arts entrepreneurs are willing to risk a few puns and punch lines, and join the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington on October 30.

Saving jobs and spurring growth in the creative economy are so important that the message must be carried to Washington by any means necessary, says Wendy Rosen, a national arts advocate and organizer of a group of art-industry rally-goers from the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Maybe a little humor will help deliver the message: It’s Not My Hobby, It’s My Job!” Rosen says about the rally sponsored by Comedy Central, and merging events called by The Daily Show’s host Jon Stewart and political satirist Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.

“Supporting artist studios and small shops that carry local and handmade items is the best way to help the local economy, and rebuild communities for a more sustainable future,” Rosen says. “History has shown that many small towns have become top arts destinations because artists have built creative communities and districts that attract cultural tourists. It starts with these smallest of small businesses and then the restaurants and inns and bigger businesses follow. We need Washington to understand the importance of Main Street and to support economic development initiatives that make opportunities for artists’ businesses.”

The issue is employment, Rosen says. As designers and makers of home, fashion and gift products, arts entrepreneurs often are self-employed or employing fewer than 25 workers. Their jobs depend on a robust economy in which their work can sell on Main Street. Yet their needs as small businesses too often fall below the radar of federal agencies that could lend support.

“When the Small Business Administration is focused on the needs of the smallest – the art entrepreneurs and the studios that are micro-manufacturers – then we’ll see a different type of economic development model, one that restores beautiful Main Streets and builds communities,” Rosen says. “Right now, jobs are being created by the smallest of small businesses –not those with a government-defined size of up to 500 employees, but those with fewer than 25 employees.”

Congress should rewrite the government’s definition of ‘small business’ so that these artisans and art dealers can be included and can benefit in programs to aid job creation and recovery, Rosen says.
Rosen is founder of the American Made Alliance, a nonprofit trade association that advocates on behalf of makers and retailers of handmade artisan products. Her company, The Rosen Group, publishes AmericanStyle magazine, for cultural tourists and art collectors.

Contacts: Wendy Rosen, American Made Alliance,, 800-432-7238, ext. 226.