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A woman from Ozark was featured on a recent ABC News segment, “Made in America.” The segment highlights American made goods, and argues that purchasing them will help increase jobs in the United States. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser has more.
Arianna Russell is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Her parents are both entrepreneurs, and Russell started her first business when she was a junior in high school. Her latest business venture, Bodacious Cases, has now gained her national attention. Russell says she came up with the idea three years ago.
“I was actually in a hot tub with some of my family members on the fourth of July, and even though it was a holiday I still operated my business, which my previous business I owned an auto detailing business and I used to keep my phone in a Ziploc baggie next to the hot tub, and I thought I lost it.”
Russell says this was before Apple offered insurance plans, and she would have paid close to $700 to replace her phone. She started researching, and eventually came up with the idea to make an iPhone case that can withstand almost anything. She calls it the “Band-It Case.” But there’s something else that makes Russell’s company stand apart from the pack- her products are all manufactured in the United States.
“I’ve always wanted that with any of my products, and whenever I first started, I didn’t know where to go. What I would do, is I would stay up during the day talking to companies here in the USA, and then I would stay up at night and talk to companies over in China. I didn’t want to go over to China.”
Not everyone was in favor of Russell’s American made plan, however, and she found that it was extremely difficult to get U.S. manufacturers to listen to her.
“Even my engineer and designer who I currently have work for me; they will tell you that they tried anything and everything in their power to get me to stop. Luckily I didn’t, but I had hundreds of people tell me [no] and shut the door in my face.”
Russell never gave up, and celebrated the launch of the first Band-It cases in July of this year. Earlier this month, she was approached by ABC News. They had seen a YouTube video she made promoting her cases, and wanted to feature her in the “Made in America” segment. The segment, which aired December 5th, has created a new problem for Russell, but one that she’s grateful for.
“Before last night, it [the company] was growing basically just off of word of mouth. Now it’s to the point that, I just woke up actually about 20 minutes ago from a very, very short nap because after the airing last night, within less than one minute our site had crashed because so many people had been trying to visit it.”
And the best part about manufacturing in the U.S.?
“Besides giving people jobs, I would say…and helping “Made in America” people understand that if we help each other it will grow more jobs, is I would say that…being able to drive four hours to my manufacturer and work…and be hands on like I am with my manufacturer.”
Russell hopes to finish a book in the near future about how to make ideas reality. But for now, she has one piece of advice for anyone who wants to start their own business.
“Don’t take no for an answer because I’ve been told and told and told that I couldn’t do it, and I’ve done it.”
For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.