This Week On Making It In America.
The topic of American manufacturing gets bodacious with Arianna Russel of Bodacious Cases!
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a 26 year old who was born into the entrepreneurial life. My mother, Cheri Russell, went into labor during the Ozark Craft Fair (1987) on Friday, delivered me in the hallway at Cox South Saturday, then returned to the show on Sunday to work & to show her baby (me) off. I started my first business, Superior Auto Detailing out of the trunk of my Cavalier in 2005 while playing basketball full time, as a Junior in High School. By 2007 I had eight full-time workers.
I am the CEO, owner and inventor of Bodacious Cases, LLC. We are a cell phone case company that produces our products 100% made in America. We currently offer cases for the iPhone 4/4s, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Plus we recently launched our camouflage line cases called "camBo." I believe it takes hard work, dedication, passion & sacrifice in order to succeed.
Can you tell us how Bodacious Cases was founded?
On the 4th of July I was at a family get together at my sister’s house and I was in the hot tub. It didn’t matter it was a Holiday or not, being a business owner I always have my phone on me. I didn’t carry my iPhone in a case at that time, so when I was by water I would put it in a ziploc baggie. This was before Apple or anyone offered the warranties that they do now, or the iCloud to back your phone up. I thought I lost my phone, so I was panicking because my phone has everything on it. It has my contacts, calendar, phone numbers, pictures, emails, everything! It’s like having my life in my pocket. My iPhone was exactly where I left it, but the next day I started researching for a case that was water-resistant, protective, durable, something that was sleek and thin, had a credit card slot on the back, something I could slide in and out of my pocket easily and something I could customize to match my outfit daily and a case that was made in America, so I made one. It took three years to the day to get it from idea to market of actually holding an American made iPhone case in my hand.
Why is American Manufacturing important to you?
American made is important to me for many reasons, one being that my father, Mike is a double Purple Heart Vietnam War Veteran & I feel I owe it to him, to all those who serve, protect & risk so much for our country. Being 100% made in America is a way to thank them for what they do. It is also important to me because I have nieces and nephews and if we keep manufacturing jobs overseas then when they get older they won’t have jobs. I feel manufacturing overseas is a great idea if as the owner I want to make a few extra bucks, but to me it’s about more than just money. Those few extra dollars kill jobs, which is the next generation and I do not want to see that happen. I would rather make less money and and create more American jobs.
Where did your passion for USA manufacturing begin?
My mother has always loved American flags. Growing up we always had flag t-shirts, flags hanging around the house and she’s just a wonderful American woman, so I guess I’ve always had it. As some people say “I get it from my momma.”
I have a picture of me, as a 4 year old, holding an american flag in my hair, clapping and saluting the soldiers as they came back from the Persian Gulf War on April 10, 1991. I’ve always been patriotic and loved soldiers. Anytime I see a soldier or a Veteran wearing a hat I have to shake their hand and tell them thank you for their service.
How have you expressed that passion away from Bodacious Cases?
Well that`s a hard question to answer because Bodacious cases is like 99.9% of my life, but that point .01% when I’m not working I try to spread the bodacious word about why its important to buy American made and how it affects our country when we send our products overseas. Anytime I can I try to explain to my nieces and nephews why I manufacturer “Bo”, who is our logo here in America. I love teaching them and telling them why I am doing what I’m doing, and why it is important to me and how it could affect them in the future.