MADE in the USA Gifts by Women Friendly Businesses. Our Story.


Mary Beth Trama
Creator, MadeInUSA.LA
Los Angeles, CA

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“Whenever anybody younger asks me what they should pursue as a career, I ask them, what are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Then that's what you should pursue in college!”

Tell us about yourself
My name is Mary Beth Trama. I am the creator of MadeInUSA.LA. MadeInUSA.LA is a website that promotes products that are Made in the USA.

I grew up in Southern New Jersey near Philadelphia. I attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and graduated with a BS in Hospitality Management, although I always had a passion for photography and writing and regret not pursuing my passions as a career. Given my career mishap, whenever anybody younger asks me what they should pursue as a career, I ask them, what are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Then that’s what you should pursue in college!

Now that I am older and wiser I have been studying both photography and writing in my spare time. Along the way I realized that I was pretty good with computer software. I could teach myself how to use software programs quickly, I was also good at figuring out computer issues when things went wrong. Given my natural abilities towards computers I landed a job in an Information Technology department at a college in Southern California. I’ve lived in Southern California since 1995.

What inspires you?
I look towards many people and places for inspiration, from some of my favorite photographers to my favorite business leaders. I always loved the photography of Diane Arbus. She photographed the people on the outside of society, the people that did not fit in with the norm. I love this about her. She was not afraid to approach these people when many others could not even look at them, let alone talk to them.

I am a big fan of Oprah. I know, I know it is almost cliche, but Oprah really did beat the odds and she is always striving to bring out the best in herself and others, I admire that.

I am also a huge fan of Marie Forleo. If you never heard of her you must check her out at She is a Jersey Girl too and has a take no prisoners attitude, she is awesome!

I recently went to Hawaii and was blown away by the natural beauty and how peaceful it was. Talk about inspiring! It gave me a lot of time to think about my future and my life as I looked out over the ocean and tropical landscapes.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I have several:

Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs

Everything is figureoutable ~ Marie Forleo

Shit or get off the pot ~ My mother used to say this to me all the time when I couldn’t make up my mind. It always worked!

What are the most pressing issues facing women today?
In the United States I believe women have it really good. We can essentially achieve anything we want if we have the drive and motivation to do so. Education and mentoring is a big factor, too. With a good education and people to support and lift you up, you have a greater chance at success, but you’ve got to really want it.

My worries are mostly for the women of countries such as India and numerous countries in the Middle East, where woman are not treated equally, but treated like possessions. They are beaten, raped, and tortured for things beyond their control. I am happy to see the women of India protesting in the streets against such treatment. I think Western women need to find a way to help these less fortunate women, although I am not sure how much we can do. It is something I am interested in doing more research on.

What are the biggest keys to your success?
Over the years I have reached out to a lot of people for help in areas that I had no experience. I also took classes at a community college and online. I am not afraid to ask the “dumb” question. A lot of times people are afraid to ask, and afterwards they say to me “I am so happy you asked that question, because I was wondering the same thing!”

If I need to gain knowledge in a specific area whether it is at my job at the college or my website, I reach out to the experts and I learn as much as I can. I try not to let my ego get in the way.

What are the biggest keys to the advancement or success of women?
The biggest keys to success I stated above. First of all you have to be focused and motivated towards your goal. You can’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to the experts in your field for advice and help. With the Internet it is so much easier to contact the experts.

Another thing is having the support of your friends and family. Most people look to their parents, family and friends for approval, therefore, it is very helpful when they support your decisions. I don’t always agree with listening to their advice, but sometimes it can be good advice.

Where did the inspiration for your business come from?
It came from a trip to Philadelphia I took with my boyfriend, who grew up in California, to Philadelphia for the fist time. We were at the National Constitution Center’s gift shop. It was 2008, an election year and Mike, my boyfriend, wanted to buy an American flag lapel pin. Well, he almost blew a gasket when he saw they were made in China.

When I got home to California, I started poking around the Internet to see what I could find that was made in the USA. Surprisingly, I found quite a few products. I decided to keep a list for myself and put it on a blog. To my surprise I gained a bit of a following on that blog. At that time the blog name was When the .LA extension became available I decided to buy it since I blog and live near LA, that’s when MadeInUSA.LA was born, (that was October 2012).

What advice do you have for a woman who is considering starting a business?
Go to, and watch all of her videos. Take business classes if you are in college, if you are not, educate yourself about starting a business before you lift a finger. Once you are ready, DO IT, just don’t talk about it! I see so many people fall into that trap of talking about doing this and that and spend so much time taking there is no energy left for doing, don’t be one of those people. Seek out help from friends and experts in your field. Stay focused on your goal. If you can’t figure it out, JUST GOOGLE IT!

What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome these?
Getting a decent amount of traffic to my site and audience interaction in the form of comments and social media sharing. I have not overcome these just yet. I am a one woman show so it’s a bit tough to work on my website while I am working a full-time job. It’s okay, I love working on my website and do the best I can with the time I have.

Are there any additional thoughts or questions that you have?
Yes, if you love to buy quality products that are made in the USA, and you want to support American jobs and American workers stop by my site!


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