David Zamarin grew up in Philadelphia as a child of hard working immigrant parents. He always had a passion for business and quickly set out to turn his first profits through selling his grandmother’s homemade popsicles to his friends, albeit just for $0.25 each. Later, when he was just 11 years old, with a $100 loan from his father, David was able to make his first $10,000 through buying and selling popular items on social media.
This ambition led to him getting accepted into one of the top high schools in the United States, Masterman, where his passion for entrepreneurship continued to flourish. By the time David was 15, he had created a shoe cleaning business that became wildly successful among local university sport teams and he was able to sell this business after only four months for six figures.
With this money, David took his entrepreneurial passion even further, and invested heavily into research and development to create his own product that could repel liquid based stains from fabric.
Fast forward a few short years and David’s high school dreams have become reality with his company DetraPel, a nanotechnology-based protective coatings company that prides itself in being powerful, yet non-toxic. Based in Massachusetts, DetraPel does the majority of manufacturing in-house with a growing team of over 20 employees. When the Coronavirus hit hard, DetraPel shifted to producing disinfectants and sanitizers and were able to keep growing during this time of uncertainty. With DetraPel, David’s aim is to change the outdated, harmful thinking in chemical companies and to show consumers that safe chemicals are the future.
HOW HE DID IT
At Masterman, David joined an entrepreneurship club that helped shape his future and he found himself inspired by the mentors brought in to speak to the class. He was able to get connected to a wide variety of people that helped him on his journey. David attributes a lot of his success to the fact that he is constantly learning and exploring anything and everything – as long as he feels that it is helping him progress. He points out that while yes, he started a chemical company without a chemistry degree, he believes the real skill to master is to be a genius with people: you need to be able to work with others and build a good team.
David started small selling popsicles as a kid, then at 11 made his first substantial profit by selling popular items online with a $100 loan from his father. All this experience gave him the determination to see his first business come to reality with Lick Your Sole, a shoe cleaning company that blew up with local university sports teams and began bringing in up to $25,000 a month. At just 15 years old, David sold Lick Your Sole and was able to use that money to go even further with his ambitions. From there he dedicated most of his time to research and development to make his dream product that is powerful, but safe to use for anyone.
David is a guy that believes in action. He believes that putting the work in is more important than just formulating the best possible path. David takes inspiration for his work ethic from the idea that most people fail because they wait too long to make a decision, by waiting until they have almost all the information they need to make it, and by then it’s too late. Make the decision sooner, ask for forgiveness later and have more time to change it or get it right and keep moving forward.
David’s idea to create a completely PFAS Free product was born out of wanting to solve a universal problem: harmful chemicals are used in our everyday products that are extremely harmful to people, pets and the planet. By developing a product that had traditionally been thought of as impossible, David solved that problem and catapulted to success. During almost five years of research and development, he was constantly told by the largest labs and most brilliant minds in the industry that what he was asking is just not the way it’s done, but he never let that stop his pursuit to solve an issue important to him, and making a big enough impact on the industry that could change the world.
FOR FUTRE ENTREPRENEURS…
There are many things you can do to be the best version of yourself and David is constantly searching for ways to learn something new or progress in some way. One of the things he really relies on is breathwork that he learned from practicing meditation. If he has a problem to solve and can’t get on track, he takes a minute and does some breathwork and revisits the problem/decision.
When it comes to being young and starting a business, David highly recommends reading Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why” or watching Sinek’s TED talk as their first step into entrepreneurship. Sinek talks about how important it is for companies to say WHY what they do matters, more than what they do or how they do it. With this idea, it doesn’t matter what your product is, people will buy it because they believe in the Why.
As a young person starting a business, David struggled with people in the industry – sometimes his own peers, not taking him seriously. Fortunately, he didn’t let that stop him, but he believes it did contribute to his grit, determination and attitude of not stopping until you get what you need. At the end of the day, you learn from those experiences and try not to see them as setbacks.