I’m not a big shopper, but when I do shop, I am a freak about buying local. My friends are amused as I frantically search the label to find the “Made in…” info. If it reads ‘Made in China’, I sigh and put the item back. At UNIQUE, an event featuring all Made in USA products, I can finally buy everything my heart desires knowing it’s all made by U.S. artisans and craftsman.
You see, it’s not that I am boycotting China, Vietnam, etc. I’d like to travel there someday. The ‘Made in USA’ quest I’m on stems from my zealous belief we, as a country, must return to making stuff again if we’re going to get out of this economic quagmire. It’s also about celebrating American companies that choose to manufacture here rather than save money on the short-term by shipping production off-shore.
UNIQUE has a similar belief, and that’s where you’ll find me, checking off my Christmas gift list with guilt-free, feel-good purchases. UNIQUE LA was created by designer Sonja Rasula (interior designer for HGTV’s Home to Go and TLC’s Trading Spaces) as a way to bring local-made design and art to the masses while helping to grow and support the U.S. economy and small businesses. Check out a peek at an UNIQUE LA event:
Hailed the fresh face of a rapidly growing “Made in the USA” movement, Sonja explains her mission behind the UNIQUE events, “I want to bring modern Made-in-America design to the masses. My goals are to help designers and small businesses grow and become sustainable, to support the local economy, and to teach shoppers the value of conscious consumerism.”
On average shoppers spend over $1.5 million at each UNIQUE shopping event – because the curated events feature only made-in-America products, the money spent is injected right back into the community.
And no community needs an injection of cash more than New York City post-Hurricane Sandy. “The storm threw us a curveball. The area that the event is in (Chelsea’s art gallery district) was ruined. But we are working around-the-clock to make this event happen despite the setbacks,” says Sonja.
The 1st Annual UNIQUE NYC Holiday Show is still set for November 17 & 18. Calling all New Yorkers this weekend to get a jump start on your holiday shopping by attending UNIQUE NYC. You’ll be not only contributing to the local economy that sorely needs it, but also giving some incredibly special, hand-crafted presents at the same time.
UNIQUE NYC HOLIDAY SHOW
When: November 17 & 18 (Saturday & Sunday) // 11am – 6pm both days
Where: Center 548 (548 West 22nd Street) in the Art Gallery District in Chelsea
Cost: $10 at the door or buy online (which guarantees you’ll get our free cotton tote bag)! Kids 12 and under are free. 10% of all ticket sales go to the local non-profit organization World-Up.
The 5th Annual UNIQUE LA Holiday Show
When: December 1 + 2 (Saturday & Sunday) // 11am – 6pm both days
Where: The California Market Center’s Penthouse
The largest independent design show in the country, you’ll actually get to rare opportunity to meet and shop directly from over 350 hand-selected designers and artists. UNIQUE LA makes it easy to buy local and support LA’s economy, discover great design and deals, and join in community.
Some are featured designers/artists/craftspeople featured at UNIQUE LA 2012 that I will definitely be shopping at:
UNIQUE Made-in-America events may just see me, for the first time ever, shop ’till I drop.
For another crafty Made in USA gift idea, check out ‘A Piece of Paris’ jewelry.
Lanee Lee is a Los Angeles based writer inflicted with irreversible wanderlust and an unquenchable thirst for craft cocktails, cuisine, culture and high-octane thrills. She also co-founder of the award-winning VoyageVixens.com travel blog. You can follow her next adventure on Twitter @laneelee1 and Instagram @laneelee.