Hi, I’m Gareth Struivig de Groot, and I would like to introduce you to www.BuyLocalized.com. We are building a Chrome extension that overlays Amazon, and allows you to buy locally made goods more easily. We display information about where a product is from right on the page, allowing you to shop like normal while seeing where the products you are buying come from. I’m Canadian, and we’ve been engaged in some disputes with China recently. We arrested, on an American warrant, an executive of Huawei on legitimate charges. China is furious about it and arrested a couple Canadian businessmen, and has imposed sanctions on a number of Canadian products. As well as political spats like these, there are a lot of other reasons to try and purchase locally made stuff first. Certainly a lot of the time goods are cheaper because they have reduced environmental standards, or the workers are in locations with vastly reduced safety regulations. It was really ticking me off, and I decided that I didn’t want to buy anything made in China for the moment.
I went and tried to buy only North American products, and it was very cumbersome. A lot of brands don’t say where they are made on their website, or they say on their website but their Amazon listings have conflicting information. In our research so far we have found hundreds of websites that state “made in the US”, and what they truly mean is that a fraction of their products are made in the US and the rest are made in Asia. We have also found companies that say “exclusively made in the US”, and what they mean is that their main product line is made in the US but all their accessories are actually made in Asia. We have been very surprised at how duplicitous a lot of the companies we research are. We have been emailing these companies and looking for them to say that every single product they manufacture is in the US, on top of that we will examine their packaging for “made in…”, and question people who have purchased their products, or get a product information manifest if it’s available.
China has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from Xinjiang to factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known brands, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen. https://t.co/IH8JHWKniR @ASPI_org pic.twitter.com/y6zzcLLxJp
— Nathan Attrill 周雷森 (@nathanattrill) March 1, 2020
To solve the problem I was encountering I looked into making it easier to purchase locally made goods. There are currently a bunch of websites that specialize in showing off locally made goods, either through active blogs or with a catalog, but I don’t think any of them are as good as what we are building. When using them a lot of the content is outdated, and you have to remember to do it whenever you are looking to purchase a product you haven’t bought before. We think our solution is vastly more effective, because you just shop on Amazon like you always do, and get additional information shown right on the page. It enables people to buy locally made goods without needing to research and contact the companies themselves, and it currently looks like this:
We take brands from our database (which is growing fast) and show them to you through that box which is generated by our extension. You can browse Amazon like usual, and if you search something or navigate to a category we will show you the products made in the local(s) you have chosen. Currently it’s US specific, but we will work on more countries after we have a huge list of American made options.
We currently have 2 full time researchers. We are calling/emailing around a hundred companies a day, getting information from them and other sources on where their products are made, and if they are made in the US we add them to our database and list them in our extension. We are hoping to be able to find US made alternatives for anything you could possibly want to buy.
If you want to get involved, we currently need more testers! The extension is functionable and you can go to the chrome store with the link at the end of this post. We would love some more users who can help us point out things we should change, or other information that they would like.