By Heidi Hafner
The Made in America Movement has gained momentum since the economic recession in 2008. Consumers have become increasingly aware of both where they spend their money and the value of the products they are purchasing. Trade associations like the Craft Retailers & Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT), have been around for more than a decade promoting and celebrating artisans and small business owners who offer handmade and Made in America gifts. In recent years these associations, coupled with the business owners and consumers themselves, have propelled the Made in America Movement to the top.
Companies on the retail side of the gift and souvenir industries understand the importance of providing and delivering what the consumers want. Made in America products are ranking higher as consumers want more locally made gifts and souvenirs, in which they are willing to pay higher prices for durable, safe products. Additionally, the economy experiences a strong boost when consumers purchase Made in America items as well. It is a win-win scenario.
The International Gift Exposition in the Smokies® unveiled a Made in America section in the Sevierville Convention Center for the 2014 show to help meet this growing demand from both retailers and wholesalers. All booths in the Made in America section were designated with special drape and carpet color as well as large signage overhead. Buyers met the new show category with such enthusiasm and success, it will be growing by over 25% for the 2015 IGES show edition.