It was a steady diet of a hit NBC show and old Sylvester Stallone films that first gave Domenick Michael the hunger for entrepreneurship. “Sproutbrite was an idea born from watching Shark Tank,” says the New Rochelle resident. “I was inspired by everyday people taking risks and striving to create their own American Dream. It’s a strong character trait of mine to root for the underdog, which I picked it up at a young age watching the Rocky series religiously.”
Michael was already a successful wedding photographer before founding his innovative seed company, operating both Studio 1 Photography and his flagship brand, Domenick Michael. For Michael, the 2016 birth of Spoutbrite was a major change.
“Sproutbrite is a solopreneur startup at the moment,” says Michael of the burgeoning company, which sells a variety of seed packet kits yielding a range of wildflowers, herb, or vegetables in sleek, white packaging. “I chose the garden category because it was a symbolic representation of my perspective on life which is ‘always be growing.’ What makes it different is that I put heavy emphasis on forward thinking design and sharing that message in the product design.”
Last year, Michael designed and produced his first kit, set up a website, and began selling on Amazon. He soon secured his first two wholesale accounts.
“I sold 5800 units in 6 months,” he says. “I garnered major media coverage including entries on Buzzfeed and Heavy.com gift guides.” One reason being that Sproutbrite also aids several charities, providing a different one with funding depending on which seed kit is purchased, with a price of $22.97 each.
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For Michael, keeping his company within the county was a no-brainer. “Westchester and the Bronx are my home,” he explains. “I’ve lived in the area all my life and it only made sense to keep building on my roots.” And, so far, Westchester and the world at large has been kind to Michael.
“Right now I am selling on Amazon, Uncommon Goods, and most recently launching on the Grommet,” he says. “I am particularly excited about working with the Grommet because they have an amazing audience of shoppers that appreciate well thought out products.” Sproutbrite launches on the Grommet on March 29 and Michael hopes to have the product featured on the show that started it all: Shark Tank.
To date, Michael has fulfilled more than 6,000 orders of Sproutbrite products. Michael himself currently fulfills all operations, with aid from three students at New Rochelle High School. “Even though they are part-time at the moment, I’ve made a strong effort to include them in the story of the company,” he says.
And as for his very own appearance on Shark Tank, Michaels says he has not heard any word back yet. “The interview and application process is long,” he explains. ”But I’ve had the chance to speak with two other entrepreneurs who have been on the show and both waited one to two years before getting on.”