As, this time around, the originator of the question, let me add a
bit more, having read some of the commentaries.
First, we are an International Forum, and some comments can easily
step on a few toes. I believe, each of us have national pride, and
recognize that within our own borders, we have people amongst us of
the highest ethics, some middle grounders, and unfortunately some
who think those with scruples are fools.
I am going to speak first primarily to those in the USA. For many
reasons we can be insensitive to others without thinking of what we
are saying. Emotional, more often than factual. Many items are not
now, nor ever have they been “Made in America.” I have long
respected the handwork of peoples around the world, Burma Jade,
Chinese Carvings, Bali Silver, Australian Opals, Sri Lankan
Sapphires, Siamese Niello, Japanese Damascene, Italian Cameos, the
list goes on. Yet, we disparagingly speak of competing with
Complaints are basically about commercial shows where the promoter
accepts anyone with booth money. The blame falls on the merchant who
like everyone else is trying to make a living. Many ridicule
WalMart, I live near a very large Marine Base and often see very
happy young persons at the Jewelry counter there either with or
buying for a significant other. They are joyous because they can buy
something with the money they have. Are they really your customers?
Is WalMart taking away your business?
Hand-crafted, fabricated, assembled, there is a market for all, it
is your responsibility to identify and sell to it. There really are
folks out there who want the story of just how it all came together,
they are the customers for you. I wonder if you would really find
them amongst bargain hunters.
Wendy Rosen, who is well known to some, “The Rosen Group,” recently
has become very active in promoting “Buy American,” in Gift Shops
open in areas where many tourists come and spend money. She actually
presented to Congress, that in the Smithsonian Gift shops, the
majority of tourist type items for purchase, were not “Made in
America.” She has made an excellent point, and there is a lot more
to be done. Visit your local Museum gift shop, see where items come
from, look to see what is offered and then see how you can effect a
change. Find your local craftspersons, determine that they are able
and willing to have stock and back-up of locally hand crafted items.
Cover all bases, jewelry, glass, ceramics, weavings, toys, etc. with
commitments in hand, present it to the Museum, tourist attraction,
any place within your community that attracts visitors and buyers.
It is so easy to blame and complain, and so difficult to change. We
spend far too much time finding someone else causing our loss of
business, we need to focus on how to make it all work. Integrity
will never go out of style, charlatanism will always be present, now
find your market.