As a child growing up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Dave Bolotsky wanted nothing more than to be an entrepreneur.
But when Bolotsky graduated from college with the weight of student debt on his shoulders, he didn't know what to do. He took a job on Wall Street, before deciding to combine two aspects of his childhood and create a business: the entrepreneurial spirit of his grandfather, who operated a small candy shop in New York City, and a love of the world's art and handmade crafts that came from trips with his father, an art photographer and collector and employee of the United Nations.
"I went to work on Wall Street and eventually decided to leave and start my own business," says Bolotsky. "I saw a real market opportunity where buyers and sellers weren't connecting efficiently at craft shows but could do so much more efficiently via the Web."
Bolotsky founded UncommonGoods in 1999, an online retailer selling high-quality, creative design, with an emphasis on sustainability.
"Half of the product we sell is handmade, and about half is made in the U.S.," he says.
"My view is that you have to look at the whole picture and that starts with people"
[Correction: in the video above, Thomas Epting is misidentified as COO for UncommonGoods. Epting serves as Co-founder and COO.]