Michael Milam noticed a problem. He would constantly spend money on tree-shaped air fresheners made out of paper, only to throw them away a few days later when the once overpowering scent faded away. “Not only did I feel this was a waste of money, but also paper and packaging,” Michael says. That’s when he founded Arotags, which sells longer lasting, better looking, and less wasteful air freshener systems.
Michael founded Arotags in the MakerSpace of the Cleveland Public Library when he was 18 years old – just a senior in high school. He continued running Arotags as a side business throughout his time at Ohio State University.
From day one, Michael has kept his promise to always keep manufacturing and sourcing local in the United States. For years, he’s sourced from local suppliers in Wilmington, Ohio (for fragrance oils) and Middlefield, Ohio (for hardwoods).
“Arotags is as lean as can be,” Michael says. Despite running a solo operation, Michael sells his wooden scent diffusers through a variety of online sales channels – Amazon’s online marketplace, a web store powered by Shopify, wholesale platforms (e.g., Faire, Tundra, and Abound), and click-to-buy social on Facebook.
Michael has found success on Amazon’s online marketplace, which generates ~70-80% of Arotags’ sales revenue. Interestingly, direct B2B email sales generates the second highest amount of the company’s sales revenue, followed by its web store, wholesale, and click-to-buy social selling.
Founded in a public library and now operating out of a suburban garage, “Arotags is a perfect example of the American Dream,” Michael beams.