The Notable Startup series highlights entrepreneurs who’ve started-up with help from an UP Global program.
OHSAY USA provides Americans a central source to buy quality US made goods from inventors, designers, and even companies who’ve been around since the 1800’s.
Sherry Holdridge started OHSAY USA after spending 17 years helping startups to medium size businesses acquire customers and integrate marketing into their business strategy.
“I’ve always loved making money, not to buy things, but to use as a benchmark for success,” Holdrige says. “When I realized I could mow lawns, sell seeds door-to-door and fill other needs in the neighborhood as an 8 year old I was hooked on entrepreneurship.”
OHSAY USA grew from a need to find quality and affordable American-made goods. Although the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has experienced substantial job losses over the past several years. The U.S still produces around 18% of the worlds manufacturing output. In January 2004, the number of such jobs stood at 14.3 million.
There are 14.3 million people still producing American-made goods such as clothing, kids toys, furniture, lotions, makeup, and more. With 195 million consumers shopping online, OHSAY USA is offering American manufacturers, inventors and craftsmen a digital place to access this market.
OHSAY USA received orders the day they launched on June 11th 2012. The Austin American-Statesman featured the startup the following weekend which helped their local visibility.
According to Holdridge what sets her company apart is their ability to find unique and engaging products and their excellent customer service.
“We almost always turn orders around the same day,” Holdridge says. “We have a generous return policy for a business of our size and we offer free shipping for orders over $70 dollars. The free shipping takes a big bite out of the bottom-line but I believe it’s what online shoppers expect.”
Holdridge says her proudest achievement was when OHSAY USA broke even in their 10th month. Her words of advice to other entrepreneurs suggest patience and perseverance:
“All business owners dream of hitting it big but it does not happen overnight. You have to diligently track every move you make and evaluate your progress from a bird’s eye view, even if it is slow.”
After the success of OHSAY USA, Holdridge launched a sister company on October 12th called American Mystery Box where customers can get surprises for themselves or give as gifts on a monthly basis.
She has a third company planned as well, in which part of the sales will benefit people with PTSD, depression and mental illness.
Employees: 10 freelancers in Austin
Customers served: 500
Products shipped: ohsayusa.com & americanmysterybox.com
Funding secured: N/A
Industry: (Vertical) Retail
City: Austin, TX