What Does “Made in the USA” Really Mean?

Impact Photographics has been in the business of providing the highest quality, competitively-priced souvenirs to the North American destination tourist market for over 35 years. We are proud to provide top paying jobs and benefits to all of our great employees. We are grateful to provide part-time work to many high school and college-aged workers who are pursuing their ongoing education. We believe in giving back to the community that supports and sustains our business effort.

During periods of economic hardship we hear more concerns expressed as to why more souvenir products are not “Made in the USA.” It is also common for one to think that if a product is not “Made in the USA” the greater portion of the retail purchase dollar is being exported directly out of the country, which in the case of souvenirs is simply not true.

For Impact Photographics products and nearly all souvenir items in general, less than $.15 or 15% of every retail dollar leaves the country to foreign suppliers. In other words $.85 or 85% of the retail dollar remains within our domestic economy providing for quality jobs and visitor services right here in the USA. It is also interesting to note that most souvenir importers and retailers are really net exporters. This is due to the fact that on average 50% or more of most souvenir items are purchased by foreign visitors who take the products home with them when they leave the country.

Due to global specialization in manufacturing there are very few high quality, competitively priced souvenir items that are actually manufactured in the USA; the supply sources simply do not exist in this country. Typically, a “Made in the USA” label means an increase in cost and retail that makes the product far less attractive to retail customers, thus the lack of domestic supply. People say they want “Made in the USA” souvenirs but are generally not willing to pay for them.

Legislating an absolute “Made in the USA” standard for merchandise retailing would be a disaster. Most of the popular products in the stores would disappear and what was left would see either a downgrade in quality and/or an increase in retail price. This would result in a weaker product offering, fewer sales, lost jobs in both the supply and retail trades, and a reduction in visitor services. In other words, an effort to have only “Made in the USA” labeled product in order to try and capture the remaining $.15 or 15% of the souvenir retail dollar would have a damaging effect on jobs and services much greater than any potential benefit to our domestic economy.