Local and Ethical Gifts and Guides


American Made Back to School Supplies

American Made Back to School Supplies


If you are looking to send your child off to school this September with some made local supplies, look no further for a short list of fantastic options leaving you and your child feeling proud to walk into the classroom! 

Topo Backback, Made in America

Company: Granola
Based: Chattanooga, TN
Description: In 2011, brothers Kelsey and Conner Scott took a Home Economics class in High School and began sewing their own chalk bags and backpacks from upcycled fabric and scrap material.  Initially their bags fell apart and they became passionate about developing best practices that would hold up to their outdoor adventures and meet their environmental conservatism too. 
Sources: Everything is made in NC or TN, USA out of upcycled or recycled materials.  We'd like to see Granola specify from where the material on each item is sourced as an opportunity for improvement.
Social Responsibility: They have a 'Consume Consciously Guarantee,' which states that if through wear and tear, Granola product becomes abraded, torn or broken in any way-they will repair it free of charge.  If Granola product has been used to the point of NO repair, they will replace it free of charge, allowing your purchase to stay with you forever and not in a landfill. 
Shop: Granola


Cotton Canvas School Bag

Company: American Apparel
Based: Los Angeles, CA
Description: Maybe something a little more basic is up your alley, in which case, we'll steer you to the American Apparel Backpack collection, which come in an array of fun colors.  Yes, there has been a lot of controversy over the years regarding American Apparel, but they did oust Dov Charney once and for all.  We have made a very intentional decision to support American Apparel because they have the largest made-in-America sewing factory in the USA.  If they are gone, it will be a loss not just for American Apparel, but for American made business.
Sources: Everything is made in their 1.5 million square foot manufacturing facility in Los Angeles, CA which provides 4,400 fairly paid jobs.
Social Responsibility: Between 2005-2012 American Apparel donated over 490,000 t-shirts to humanitarian and charity groups.  American Apparel has a strong commitment to the environment and as of 2014 has been virtually landfill free.  They use solar panels for 20% of electrical usage. 


Topo Backpack, Made in America

Company: Topo Designs 
Based: Colorado
Description: If your student is older and carries a computer, a laptop carrier with lots of storage may be more of what he or she needs.  In addition to 'regular' backpacks, Topo Designs manufactures a laptop case that is great for students because of its durability and look...it does not appear to be a professional men's case, rather doubles as a backpack.  
Sources: Everything is made in Colorado, USA. We'd like to see Topo specify from where the material on each item is sourced as an opportunity for improvement.
Social Responsibility: Passionate about making local
Shop: Topo Designs


Once you've finalized the bag, let's discuss what goes inside!  


Company: Bentology
Based: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Description: One of our favorite lunch containers is made by Bentology: separated little containers good for children as well as adults.  Tammy Pelstring created this system to ultimately reduce lunchtime waste, but also took into consideration portion control, safety, health and design.
Sources: The actual bento boxes are made in America, but there are other product on the Bentology website that are imported like the soft insulated case.  We'd like to see Bentology specify from where they source their materials on each item.
Shop: Bentology

Liberty Bottle, 100% American Made
Company: Liberty Bottles
Based: Union Gap, WA
Description: Liberty Bottles is committed to their community, the environment and continuous improvement. Their bottles are 100% made of US sourced product, their machines are American made and they give preference to hiring people that have served the US military.  
Sources: Everything is made in America out of recycled materials: the bottles are made from only US sourced recycled aluminum from post consumer and industrial scrap and the caps are made from recycled milk containers.  
Social Responsibility: Liberty Bottles pledges 1% of sales and 1% of their working hours to helping large, local and grass roots efforts. See everything Liberty is doing to reduce their impact on the environment.

Field Notes Lunacy Moon Notebook Made in America

Company: Field Notes
Based: Chicago
Description: Field Notes Co-Founder, Aaron Draplin, had long been collecting the promotional memo books that were distributed to American farmers over the last hundred years by seed, tractor, and other agricultural companies as promotional materials and now served as the company's inspiration.    
Sources: Everything is printed in Chicago, USA. We'd like to see Field Notes specify from where they source their materials as an opportunity for improvement.
Shop: Field Notes



Company: Topo
Based: Colorado
Description: To keep electronics organized, Topo has you and your student covered.
Sources: Everything is made in Colorado, USA. We'd like to see Topo specify from where the material on each item is sourced as an opportunity for improvement.
Social Responsibility: Passionate about making local
Shop: Topo


 General's Made in America Pencils


Company: Pencils.com
Based: California, USA
Description: And for those who need, or prefer, to write the old fashioned way, you actually still can buy pencils.  Pencils.com has made it their business to educate the consumer everything there is to know about pencils so finding a made in America, FSC certified, in the color of your choice, may indeed be possible.
Sources: Pencils.com has a made in America section 
Socially Responsible: Pencils.com donates 5% of every order as gifts in kind to support and bolster education programs in Northern California and around the world
Shop: Pencils.com




Company: Made in America Store
Based: Elma, NY
Description: Mark Andol became an entrepreneur at the age of 19 when he started a business in his Dad's garage.  Many year's later with 60 employees and a newly expanded facility, the 2008 crash happened, which led to his next business endeavor.  The Made in America store has everything your child might need for their back-to-school supply checklist...in addition to hundreds of other categories. 
Sources: We'd like to see the MIA Store specify from where the material on each item is sourced as an opportunity for improvement.
Social Responsibility: Passionate about buying, and selling, USA


 Happy shopping!  And for the short time that is left, enjoy yourselves!!!

header image: STATE Bags*

*You may have noticed we deleted a LOT of items from this original blog post.  Sadly, we were the victims of our own excitement of the backstory of a certain brand's story...no one was trying to mislead us, we just got caught up in the excitement, that we FORGOT that we hadn't done the complete backchecking process necessary before we published yesterday.  APOLOGIES for the revision, deletion and misinformation.  Thank you for your patience.  


Have you seen our Summer Essentials post?
What about our Vacation Shortlist?
Our journey for a Made in America Water Bottle?
Take me HOME!




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