Our Bright Ideas series asks successful entrepreneurs how they came up with their great business idea, and what advice they'd offer other entrepreneurs. Today we hear from David Seliktar, owner of KeepAmerica.com — a three-year-old site providing made-in-America items from across the nation directly to American consumers.
Business News Daily: What does your business do?
David Seliktar: We are an e-commerce site that only features products that are made in the USA. We provide a platform for all manufacturers, no matter how big or small, to bring their products directly to the American consumer. We currently have over 300 vendors from all across the nation, 12 categories across the board and over 7,000 products to choose from.David Seliktar
Business News Daily: Where did you get the idea for your business?
D.S.: The initial inspiration was from reading about dangerous recalls [of products] from China, particularly in children’s products, in mid-2011. At the time I had three young daughters — now I have four — and I became extremely concerned after hearing about lead paint found in toys that were imported into our country. Coupled with the fact that the outsourcing of jobs has been destroying our economy and workforce, I decided that a destination that has now become KeepAmerica.com is a necessity. Our mission is to bring safe and high-quality goods to the market, help revive American manufacturing and act as a catalyst for job creation.
Business News Daily: How did you go about figuring out if your business idea was viable?
D.S.: Initially the plan was to create a site for American-made children’s products, since I could barely find any in stores or online. After further research, I realized that the demand was growing for “made in USA” in many different categories, yet finding such items was extremely challenging. The simple logic of supply and demand is really all I needed to decide to push forward with the concept. Thankfully, the gut feeling has proven to be correct, with our sales increasing by 50 percent each year since our inception in late 2011.
Business News Daily: Did you test your business idea? If so, how?
D.S.: We planned on testing, however, decided to seize the moment in December of 2011, after a gorilla marketing campaign we put together in NYC caught the attention of ABC World News, MSNBC and The Street.com. We were fortunate to get national exposure and get the ball rolling before our official launch in March of 2012. Check out the video.
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Business News Daily: What advice would you give to someone who thinks they have a great business idea?
D.S.: First, speak with as many people as possible in that industry or at least people who have a lot more experience in business/life than you do. Many may not like hearing the criticism or having people poke holes in the concept, however, your ego is much easier to get over than losing hard-earned money required to start a new business. People looking in from the outside who don’t have emotions involved will often shed light on something you have not seen or thought of. Lastly, roll with the punches because there are always going to be bumps along the way!
Business News Daily: Where do you look for inspiration when you are trying to find new ideas or ways to grow your business?
D.S.: Many times, current events in the news or issues that affect the masses spark ideas. Fortunately, we have a fantastic team and we try to brainstorm on current/future projects together at least once a week. My father, who has owned a business in New York for over 30 years, has always been a mentor for me, and my wife of over 10 years is someone who I always turn to when a new idea comes to mind.