Made in the USA
Art Business

Made in the USA

UI helps Georgian immigrant learn to create art, start a business to sell it Vako, a recent UI graduate who grew up in the economic collapse of the Soviet Union developed his love of art at Iowa and has started a business selling his work with the help of the university’s entrepreneurial resources. Photo by Tim Schoon. For Vako, “Made in the U.S.A.” means more than just something was made in the U.S.A. Growing up in the economic devastation of post-Soviet Georgia, most consumer products he got his hands on were cheap junk made in the antiquated factories of the communist era. But there was always a way to tell when something was of higher quality. “In Georgia, if something said ‘Made in the USA’ on it, that meant it was something that had value,” says Vako, who grew up in the capital of Tbilisi. Now living in the U.S. and going by “Vako” (because Vakhtangi seemed like it might require too much tongue twisting for most Americans), he owns his own business, Vako Designs, and designs furniture and home accessories that he sells on his website and at a handful of local stores. He’s a member of the […]

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