With the holidays just around the corner, I want to challenge everyone to spend their gift giving money on America. Not just in American stores, but on truly 100% American made products from artists and craftsmen around the country who put their years of training and love of their craft into every item they make. Think about it: for every crappily made sweater that you spend your hard earned dollars on at Walmart, American Apparel, Kmart, Target or wherever, the result is the same. You get an inferior product made in Malaysia, Tawain, Bangladesh or some other sweat factory located around the world. That money that you just spent goes to another country and stays there. You are supporting a global machine that oppresses millions of people into working for slave wages so that you can have that inferior, cheap product that will end up in the bottom of someone's drawer eventually or in the Goodwill store. (But it did have a nice label didn't it?) And once that money goes oversees, it doesn't come back. That job that you lost recently? It's because too many folks are feeding the machine.
The solution? Start with buying American made art and fine craft. I bet almost everyone knows an artist or a jeweler or has attended a craft show in their neighborhood or on vacation. Start to think about the people on your shopping list and the kinds of things that they might like that would be a true treasure for them, that they would keep for years and years. Are you shopping at the box stores for low prices? Artists and crafts people have low prices too. They also have high prices. They can offer you all the quality, variety and pricing you want to fit you budget. You just have to look for the right ones to fit your budget.
The artists at Stormflight Designs have gorgeous American handmade silver and glass jewelry starting as low as $12.99 and up. Can you get that at Sprawlmart? NO!
Do you have an occasion coming up like a wedding, special birthday, or do you just like dessert? Should you run out to Target and get those mass produced ceramic plates that will chip the minute you put them in the dishwasher? Maybe you should visit Hulls Happiest Days Designs for your adorably customized serving plates, cups, platters and cake plates with items starting at $17.99 and up.
Do you still enjoy the art of letter writing? Would you like to encourage someone (maybe your kid) to write to you? Enjoy for yourself or give a subtle hint with the gift of hand crafted note cards by Bella Card Creations starting at just 3.95!!!!!! People, if you are going to spend $3.95 on a card, should it be on a massed produced generic greeting from Hallmark that 10,000 people in America are also getting????
Or do you really care enough to send the very best, something special and unique that shows that you thought about who you were buying for and wanted to give them something as special as they are? I mean how friggin cute is this card? This woman has had 3 kidney transplants so buy her cards!Ok , almost off my soap box. Bottom line. Buying your stuff from American Artists and Craftspeople is just the right thing to do and here's why:
1. All the reasons stated above
2. Most people treasure handmade items and will keep them
3. Handmade items can be more affordable than you think
4. Artists who live in America will take the money they've earned and put it back into America buying goods and services that may be in the industries that support you, your husband , your kid or your neighbor. So go and buy from these people, the ones I've mentioned or the ones in the art fair around the corner or in the gallery down the street.
Lastly, (shameless self promotion here) you can always buy from me. A signed copy of my children's book "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" is $17.95. It is 40 pgs, full color hardcover and priced under many kids books on the market. Newsflash here: A Scholastic Book that they push on you at your kids book fair is not necessarily better than my self published one. Yes, they do publish a lot of wonderful books, but mine is pretty wonderful too.
And if you are in the market for something for the wall... you can always buy a print from me starting at just $30 or for the more elaborate gift for that special person in your life, an original ranging from $85 to $900. www.karenolonehahn.com.