The $704 ‘Made in America’ Challenge

Dec 14, 2011 5:03pm

If you were given $704 and told to spend it on all made-in-America gifts, would you be able to? That was the challenge that shoppers in New York City were given by David Seliktar, founder and CEO of Keep America, a new website that sells only American-made products.

As a promotion for his company, Seliktar hit the streets of the Big Apple with a man dressed as Santa Claus and asked people to donate a few dollars to charity. What the unsuspecting shoppers did not know was that they would be repaid for their generosity.

Seliktar gave three families who made donations $704 to spend on made-in-America holiday gifts.

It took a few hours and a change of location from the stores of Fifth Avenue to the boutiques of SoHo but, eventually, the lucky recipients were able to find enough American-made products to spend their money.

“There was a little frustration, a little shock. … They would walk into stores they were certain would be ‘made in the USA’ and they weren’t,” Seliktar told ABC News. ”We wanted to show how difficult it is to find American-made products even when you have free money to spend.”

Seliktar selected the $704 figure after learning on “World News” that the National Retail Federation estimates the average American will spend $700 on holiday shopping and that if every American spent $64 on made-in-America gifts, 200,000 new jobs would be created.

He multiplied $64 by 11 gifts for a total $704. Inspired by the power of $64, Seliktar has a section of his site that sells only $64 gifts.

“People are looking for a voice and for a platform for the American worker, the American company, and we’re here to spread the message and give them a place to highlight their goods,” Seliktar said. ”Our website gives consumers a platform where they can shop in confidence that it’s all made in the USA.”

Seliktar, who comes from a family of jewelry manufacturers, was inspired to create the company after having difficulty finding American-made toys for his three young daughters. The company, which makes a small commission on every sale, has more than 100 manufacturers on the site, and no manufacturer is too big or too small to be added, Seliktar said.

“We want to give everybody a voice,” he said. ”It comes down to creating jobs and keeping manufacturing and jobs here in this country. … Our ultimate goal is to, hopefully, be catalysts in turning the country around by creating more manufacturing, which would, in turn, create more jobs and more opportunities.”

David Seliktar has joined “World News’” Made in America Christmas. Are you in? Click here and let us know.

If you are looking to be inspired, check out our constantly growing list of Made in America Christmas gift ideas!

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