We Shop American Interview: Dana Young

USA Made

 

 

On October 25th, in Frederick, MD, Citizen Frederick is presenting the Blue Ridge Market. This gathering of American makers not only offers a marketplace for people to buy USA Made goods, but to also meet the makers that bring these products to life.  In hopes to know more about the companies before the show, we were able to ask them a set of questions. In this spotlight, Dana Young offered their answers – here’s what they had to say:

 

1. Briefly tell me what your company does and why you chose to focus on making your product(s) in America.

I design and create animal and nature inspired jewelry and accessories for women and men. I spent ten years working in the costume jewelry industry, designing jewelry for popular retail and department stores and all of that product is made in China and India. I want to support the United States economy along with fair worker conditions by sourcing my products and production locally as much as possible.

 

2. From raw materials to packaging & shipping, what problems have you faced by trying to produce a product that’s 100% USA Made?

In order to produce American made jewelry, I have to make a lot of my own components. I have original castings made in the U.S.A.  A lot of jewelry companies say that their product is made in the U.S. but then all of the metal parts and beads are from over seas. You walk into a small town store and you don’t realize that all of those parts are made elsewhere because they aren’t labelled. I work hard to use as many of my own parts as possible for this reason. It can be very challenging to find out where basic metal components are coming from.

 

3. What support have you seen (from the community to other businesses) that’s made your business successful?

I have been amazed to see what a supportive community exists of people who are also invested in making local products. When you have a a group of people working hard to create something with a set of values attached to it, it is no longer just about bringing in cash. Making products in the United States is not cheap and it is not easy. Nobody would be doing it if they didn’t value American made products. We are bonded by our belief in bringing high quality goods to our customers without sacrificing other people along the way.

 

4. What has been your biggest challenge so far in bringing your business to where it is today?

There is a challenge for all of who are invested in making our goods locally. Though it’s amazing that there is a movement towards American made products, any change like this takes time. You can’t just tell people that it will be better for them to buy a more expensive product even if, in the long-run, it will last longer and is better made, when they are struggling to put food on their tables.

 

5. What has been the best channels to promote your product(s)? (social, press, ads, giveaways, actual word of mouth, event shows, selling to boutiques)?

Word of mouth is always the best channel. Events is probably the second best. There is nothing better than meeting people, talking to them about what you do and why you do it.

 

6. Is there a void right now that could help better promote companies like yourself?

Sure there is a void right now in terms of promotion of small businesses producing locally based products. It will take time for more people to understand why it is a better option to buy locally made goods. I feel like Frederick is on a good path, though. There are a lot of shops here bringing production closer to home and stressing the relationship between creator and consumer. These ethical shop owners are ambassadors for locally made products.

 

7. Do you feel this show will be successful for you? How so?

I feel that it is a success to even have this show. It is great that people are starting to care about where their products are coming from. It’s also great to work alongside such talented people.

 

 

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