As the major buying season of the year approaches there are movements afoot to encourage you to spend your money at businesses that most directly benefit your community. Each year there are attempts to encourage you to purchase the work of artisans rather than something impersonal; mass-produced at some foreign plant.
As with so much of life, it is not always so black & white. Mega-retailers purchase goods from overseas but do create local economic activity; from payroll to property taxes. Retail has a history of under-paying workers; often with part-time positions devoid of medical insurance & other benefits. Even a local artist is most likely using materials and equipment produced overseas; whether purchased from a local store or on-line. The amount of time and energy that would be required to properly disclose what percentage of any purchase actually qualifies as “domestic content” (much less “local content“)would probably double the purchase price.
Although I am small, independent and local (at least in central Ohio) the bulk of my business is on-line; my photography and graphic design is available from pod-sites; “print on demand” web-sites. Only one of those sites is local; Skreened produces t-shirts and other apparel right here in Columbus. Other pod-sites and on-line galleries are located out of state; and include a variety of sizes of business.
The following list of authorized Production Partners includes only two others (FAA and Spoonflower) that would be considered “small business” by most people. Others include subsidiaries of the behemoth Amazon corporation as well as various non-public corporations whose size is difficult to establish with any certainty. At the same time, the actual production location for any one order often varies. Sometimes it will be the location closest to the customer, but at other times workloads or product specifications may mean another location is used. In my own experience a full-colour interior and/or hard cover specs for a print on demand book has determined a different production location.
While the purchase of any item through these companies will send some amount out of central Ohio, without doubt some portion will stay. Skreened, with facilities here and a strong ethical stance on business practices, has perhaps the best case for your support. All the other production partners will fulfill your order from one or another US location. And of course any purchase of my writing, photography or design work will support an independent artist.
Books & Calendars
CreateSpace; an Amazon company; production across the country;
Kindle Direct Publishing; an Amazon company; production on-line;
Blurb; HQ in California; production across the country;
Lulu; HQ in North Carolina; production across the country;
Fine Art Prints
Magcloud; now part of HP; HQ in California; production facilities across the country;
Zenfolio; now part of Art.com; HQ in California; uses a network of pro photo labs.