Made in America: How to Claim Made in USA Without Breaking the Law

made in America marketing

We’ve heard a lot about offshoring, trade agreements, and America-first economic policies recently.

These are common topics during a political campaign, but they seemed to get more attention in the most recent election and its aftermath than ever in recent memory.

If you’re a scrappy entrepreneur like me, you may have asked yourself how your small business could ride that America-first wave.

After all, your products are made in America, right?

(The answer is maybe. We’ll get to definitions in a moment.)

Your intuition is right. Made in America matters in the minds of consumers.

A few years ago, Consumer Reports surveyed American consumers and found the following:

  • 80% would choose an American product over an equivalent foreign product.
  • 60% would pay an extra 10% for a product that was made in America.
  • 25% would pay an extra 20% for a product that was made in America.

And this was before Donald Trump had entered politics! So, it’s clear that a Made in USA tag matters in marketing.

Let’s take a look at how you can cash in.

But, First, Are You Sure Your Products Are Made in America?

made in america marketing meme

Don’t break the law! There are guidelines for claiming ‘made in America’ that business owners must follow

Did you know that there are actual rules around who can make a Made in USA claim?

The Federal Trade Commission governs this stuff and it’s not exactly laissez-faire.

Here are three key points:

  1. Legally, you must disclose where your product is made if you’re selling textile, wool, or fur products. (Automobiles too, but that’s not terribly relevant here.)
  2. Everyone else is welcome to, but not required to, disclose origin. To make a Made in USA claim, “all or virtually all” of your product must be made in America. That includes both parts and labor.
  3. If you’re using a lot of foreign materials (like imported fabric), you have to qualify your claim. That means saying something like “Made in USA of imported materials.”

Got it? Good.

Full disclosure: I’m not a lawyer so this is just my interpretation of the rules. Get it all from the horse’s mouth by visiting the FTC website.

How to Promote That Your Products Are Made In America

So, you’re pretty sure you meet FTC requirements and are ready to declare that your products are proudly made in America?

Here are three ideas for flying your flag:

1. Add a Made in USA icon to your product tags and ecommerce pages.

A Made in USA icon on your product tags is the most common way to promote that your products are made in America.

Don’t forget to include the icon or Made in USA copy on your ecommerce product pages. After all, online shoppers won’t see the tag!

2. Introduce us to your American workers and suppliers.

Nothing says made in America like an American making something. Behind-the-scenes videos and employee-of-the-month profiles are great ways to introduce customers to your workers on social media.

Meanwhile, video interviews shine the spotlight on your suppliers – and give them something to share with their own social media audiences.

3. Ride the patriotic momentum of major US holidays.

It’s not uncommon to thank our veterans on Veterans Day. What’s less common is thanking our workers on Labor Day or Thanksgiving.

If you’re grateful to honor your workers in Fresno and suppliers in Tucson by giving them Labor Day off, then say so.

One of my clients even produced a video about its workforce and distributed it on Labor Day to its email list and social media audiences.

They’re proud to sell products that are made in America… and you should be too!

Are your products proudly made in America?

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


  1. says


    I am an American in spirit and for free trade! Most stuff that are made in the United States of America, are imported in one way or another. The raw materials, ingredients, parts, are produced outside the North American market. That is all good, as you trade with private organizations in a voluntarily fashion.

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