On January 1, 2011, I began a one-year project dedicated to the memory of my entrepreneurial, patriotic, Hollywood cinematographer Dad. I would seek, find and buy only products made in the USA for a year and blog about the journey. My husband, Don, enthusiastically agreed to follow the Buy USA rule. On New Year’s Eve, 2010, I launched the blog with my first post: Here’s to You, Dad.
To my surprise, within days people from all over the country (and beyond, including China) began reading and clocking in, sending encouraging comments, manufacturing related news items, and tips about American-made products they’d discovered and wanted to share. An ABC World News interview with me (see it here) further spread the word about China Ate My Jeans. This little project, begun as a way to mourn my father’s passing, had morphed into a larger, shared journey.
We all had so many questions: Do we still manufacture here in the USA? Why is 99 percent of all apparel now made anywhere but here? If we (as a country) are what we make, what does our country stand for? If we care so much about the environment, why do we purchase products that have to be trekked to our seaports via city-block-length container ships? If we care so much about working conditions, why do we purchase products made in foreign countries by underpaid, underaged workers? Lots of questions. This project couldn’t end after a year. There was still so much to discuss.
So beginning January 1, 2012, I returned to the project in a different way. I would allow myself (and my spouse, who by year’s end couldn’t wait to shop once again at German-owned Trader Joe’s) to purchase imports as needed–a new iPhone, new laptop battery, new clothes, and how could I get by for another minute without an iPad?–but would limit imports to half (or less) of my total household purchases. I would continue to seek, find and write about products Made in the USA, and to interview company owners, research manufacturing, and discuss related news of interest.
If you’re new to China Ate My Jeans, welcome! Hope you’ll read, comment, and send product suggestions as well as news items. Comments will be posted for all to enjoy. If you’d prefer to contact me directly, my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org