Why Buy Local?

Consumers have demonstrated a preference for buying American made products in their responses to survey questions on the subject, but unfortunately their actual spending has failed to match their enthusiasm. One notable exception is the success of buy local movements.

Guest Post by John Trayers of Fog + Foundry

The consumer who buys local is rewarded in several ways. For one, their money stays in the community, where it's more likely to create jobs and be reinvested. But it also allows the consumer to shape the character of her community, and it rewards diversity and innovation in the marketplace (we could all survive on the products available at the nearest big box retailer, but would we want to?).

How can we apply the success of the buy local model to more American made brands? After all, in the internet age communities aren't limited by geography any longer. The benefits of supporting local merchants can be realized on a larger scale when we choose to buy American made.

The dynamics at the heart of the relationship between the local consumer and the local merchant are identity and accountability. Consumers want to know who they're buying from, and once that relationship is established, merchants want to stand behind their products.  This is why the buy local movement works!

At Fog + Foundry we're cultivating that virtuous cycle in two ways. The first is an approach that we call “narrative retail.”

For us, the story behind a product isn't a marketing embellishment, it's central to the value of the product. We profile each craftsman in our Meet Your Maker series.  We visit their studios to understand their creative process. Second, we organize our site into geographic regions by finding craftsmen and designers with similar values and a design philosophy that reflects their sense of place.

We launched, this summer, with designers from the San Francisco Bay Area and Cascadia regions. This week, we expanded our footprint into Southern California. We've added two great designers – one each from Los Angeles and San Diego.  We have half a dozen more lined up for the coming weeks.

As we explore these regions and get to know our designers in greater depth, we encourage you do to the same when you shop for American made goods. Don't think about “buying American” in the abstract – consider the individuals who made the product and help nurture that virtuous cycle yourself. Buy Local!

John Trayers is the co-founder of FogandFoundry.com, an online boutique of American craftsmanship.