There is nothing more unifying in America than our love of storytelling. We sit around dinner tables and campfires, telling tales about our travels and experiences, talking about our pasts and the pasts of those we love the most. These stories unify us in community and country and give us a pride of place.
The stories about the goods still manufactured here are fascinating because the people making these goods are fascinating. We can learn so much about each other, and ourselves, by tuning into and passing on these stories, generation to generation.
We, Max and Joe, are Americana enthusiasts. We love traveling to factories across the country to observe manufacturing techniques and meet the talented people behind the goods made right here in America. In partnership with Maxwell House, a brand built on passionate and dedicated coffee-makers, we'll bring those stories to life for you with our online show, "Made Right Here."
Here are five reasons for buying American. Some just may surprise you.
1. Americans increasingly want to meet the people behind their goods.
Our country has been revolutionized in recent years by a renewed desire to connect with the people who make the things that they purchase and consume. Now, more people than ever before deeply care about where goods come from and how they are produced. They want to meet the artisans, craftsmen and factory workers who actually built and made those items, and learn exactly how these creations made it into their homes. In particular, they want to hear about the thoughtful, hands-on practices and skills involved in making those goods a reality.
Why is this? It’s because the things that we use, day in and day out, have a tremendous potential to connect us as individuals and as a community. This is what “Made Right Here” is all about. Introducing Americans to the people behind the products in their world.
2. More does not equal better.
In times of economic prosperity, excess comes easy, and America enjoyed many years of plenty in the 20th century. We became accustomed to satisfying our needs immediately instead of thinking deeply about what we buy for ourselves and our families. The stuff quickly piled up, and we became hooked on convenience and a satiation of "want."
But lately times have been tighter, and our wallets aren't quite as heavy as they once were. We're being more thoughtful about our spending.
This presents a great opportunity for us, as a country, to take a closer look at our purchase decisions. Why buy five pairs of shoes that are poorly made when you could invest in one or two pairs made locally and from sturdy materials - and actually have a say in how they were made? They'll last you for years and years, and you could even pass them down to your children.
Having a bunch of things that are not made well, without a personal connection, fuels a disposable society. It's not sustainable.
Our motto is, "Buy once. Buy right."
3. We can wait.
We live in a world where we want everything delivered to us as fast as possible, for free. The idea of "getting it yesterday" is often made possible on the backs of low-income workers in foreign countries, working around the clock.
Rather than championing a service that puts unnatural pressure on people and resources, we choose to celebrate and shine a light on people who make great things and make them better. It may cost a little more, and it may arrive a bit more slowly. But taking the time to learn about the manufacturers of our goods creates a symbiotic economy in which we can meet each other's needs and deepen our connections to one another.
4. Your neighborhood and community are worth the investment.
The two of us take it personally when we talk to people in their 70s and 80s, and they say, "Your generation doesn't have the same set of values as we do." We want to be able to look these individuals in the eye and know that we've done all we can to support the people and places in which our country is rooted.
Through "Made Right Here," we are not pursuing the "days of old" but a greater appreciation for those who have come before us - for those who diligently work hard to make a good life. We want American manufacturers and their employees to be engaged and successful in meaningful jobs.
One of our "Made Right Here" episodes took us to Jacksonville, Fla., to a manufacturing facility for Maxwell House Coffee. The workers there were extremely passionate about keeping jobs in their community and proud of their company's heritage.
We’re committed to investing in these employees’ lives – emotionally and financially – and in American products like Maxwell House coffee, which are made by people who share our pride of country, work, family and friends. They’re worth it.
5. Story matters. A lot.
Bringing back a bottle of wine from a trip to Italy and sharing it with your friends over dinner used to be the quintessential example of sharing a story in relation to hospitality. Today, Americans are proud to serve their friends beer brewed in their father's basement made with hops acquired from local community-supported agriculture. There is nothing more personal, and pride-inducing, than sharing what you've made with the ones you love. That direct relationship between people and their products has never been more relevant. Beyond being a good story, this invokes a sense of pride in ownership.
So we issue this challenge to Americans: When you make a decision about what you're buying, try to tie your dollars to the people you picture making it. Imagine your money going directly into their pockets. Suddenly, keeping those dollars local, or regional, means a lot more. It's a soulful exchange.
It's something you can feel proud about. Patriotic, even.
For more information on "Made Right Here," follow this link and check out the following video: