No one knows local markets better than local small business owners—the professionals who sleep, eat and breathe within those markets every day. But sometimes, experiences far from home can help entrepreneurs to recognize new opportunities in those markets.
That was the case for Jillian Craig (’04), a Hastings, Neb., native who had moved to the Czech Republic to work as an English teacher. In 2008, she noticed how Europeans eschewed plastic water bottles (ubiquitous in the U.S.), preferring instead to drink from glass.
“Craig… recognized the concern over chemicals leaching from some plastic bottles and the drawbacks of taste-changing aluminum bottles,” Leia Mendoza wrote for the Omaha World-Herald. “She wanted to offer an alternative that was eco-friendly and ‘much more fashionable.’”
That realization abroad was the impetus behind Rivé, Craig’s company producing and selling designer glass water bottles to an American market. It took time for Craig, an English and communication studies double major, to make that initial vision a reality. “You have to find someone in the industry or in the area that you can talk to,” she told the World-Herald. “You have to reach out to as many professional contacts as possible to get advice and network.”
You can see (and almost taste) the results of that work at riveusa.com.