R.I. ranks No. 9 in Amazon’s top 10 states with fastest-growing digital entrepreneurs

UNIQUE PL8Z in Warwick, which recycles old license plates into art and gift items, reports success selling online. Rhode Island is No. 9 among the top 10 states with the fastest growth, year-to-year, for small and medium-sized businesses selling online, according to Amazon. / COURTESY UNIQUE PL8Z

WARWICK – Rhode Island is No. 9 in the top 10 states with the fastest-growing small and medium-sized businesses selling online, with 40% year-over-year growth selling in Amazon’s stores, according to Amazon.

No. 1 was Iowa, with 57% growth year-over-year; with Washington at No. 2 at 56%; then Alabama; Virginia; Louisiana; Georgia; West Virginia; South Dakota; Rhode Island and Alaska, Amazon announced in a press release.

Nicole O’Brien told PBN that her company is one of those selling its wares on Amazon and finding success in doing so. She is the owner of Unique PL8Z in Warwick, which recycles old license plates into art.

“We grossed over six figures and shipped out over 1,000 handmade items direct to consumers,” last year, she said. “We do sell mostly online through various channels including social media, our website, Amazon, Etsy and others. I do have a gift shop here in Warwick in the front of our manufacturing facility. We have sold to consumers all over the globe … Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and many countries throughout Europe.”

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O’Brien’s business began in Japan, in 2012. A military spouse at the time, she was struggling to find employment, so began selling the items online.

According to Amazon, Iowa has the most digital entrepreneurs per capita, with nearly 10,000 SMB sellers, followed by Delaware, California, Wyoming, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, Utah, New Hampshire and Florida.

Amazon – which invested $15 billion last year in tools, services, programs and staff to help SMBs in its online stores – reports that SMB sales make up more than half of all items sold in its stores worldwide.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.

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