Making a Difference to Reinvigorate the American Dream

In this Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, photo, job applicants are interviewed by Florida Marlins staff at Marlins Park in Miami. We
In this Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, photo, job applicants are interviewed by Florida Marlins staff at Marlins Park in Miami. Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, a level consistent with modest hiring. The Labor Department said Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, that unemployment benefit applications dropped by 23,000, from a revised 392,000 the previous week. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

In the aftermath of Sandy and with the election behind us, it's time to get to work.

It is now more important than ever to focus on job creation in America. The first step is to recommit ourselves to producing quality products using American labor.

While there are a handful of large companies who produce their products in America, the bulk of them tend to be smaller businesses like mine.

Our commitment to American production is big, but our small business budgets make it challenging for us to broadly market and advertise our American made products.

Recently, it occurred to me that, by combining all of our voices, small business owners of American made goods could unite and act together as single organization capable of making an impact.

It was this idea that prompted me to co-found the "Make It In Manhattan" business initiative, which includes film, blog and events. The mission of this initiative was created to celebrate and support New York- and American-made design and the importance of domestic manufacturing.

Initially, we focused purely on fashion producing the upcoming documentary, Make It In Manhattan, the follow-up to James Belzer's The Tents, a film that explores the impact of New York Fashion Week's transition from the Bryant Park Tents to the Lincoln Center. While interviewing many designers and fashion icons, I became aware of a wide variety of American-made brands. In fact, there are so many, we were not able to cover them all in a single film. And so, I created a blog to serve as an extension of the film and to bring further attention to these great brands.

I have now expanded the blog to include other great American made items including music, food, and culture. My goal is to create a one-stop resource to promote exceptional domestic producers while raising awareness of the importance of domestic production to our country's economic well being.

While the correlation between domestic production and local job creation is an obvious and well covered one... perhaps a less obvious benefit is the impact on carbon footprint reduction. Purchasing items that are produced closer to home means less time traveling on pollution contributing ships, trucks and planes. Even in production a product may be shipped back multiple times due to a defect or production flaw. Additionally, by producing here in New York City, we are able to easily access our production facilities to ensure quality and avoid unnecessary waste when an item is reproduced. Also, if we consume higher quality products that last, like many American-made products, we can reduce our overall consumption. For example, purchasing a single pair of superior quality jeans that last can help avoid buying two or three pairs of poorly made cheap jeans that fall apart quickly and end up filling the landfill.

The concept of domestic production, which used to be much more prevalent than it is today, is making a comeback. It is a message we heard loud and clear throughout the recent election... we must start manufacturing more, here in America! By doing this we will bring many needed jobs back. But politicians and slogans can only bring us so far. In the end, it is consumers who will have the biggest impact. Walking into stores and asking for American made products is a powerful way to heighten awareness. This can motivate store buyers to stock their shelves with more American made brands.

Better quality products in our homes, more jobs across our country, and perhaps a positive environmental impact as well, can all happen when we become more cognizant of what we purchase.

So start now!

Learn about the many brands producing here in America by visiting

You can help too. For the next few weeks we will be running a contest where consumers can share their favorite New York and American made products and be automatically be entered to win a Michelle Vale, Made in New YorkTote, your desired color preference. Click here to learn more, and help spread the word and support the American made initiative.