The cell phone has rapidly become an ubiquitous accessory used by people not only to call. It has become a must-bring-anywhere tool, alongside their wallets, keys, credit cards and other essentials.
And therein lies the challenge: carrying all the must-bring items can be cumbersome. To make it easy to carry all these essential everyday items, Jamie James http://www.jamiejamescollection.com/ created Cellfolio, a cell phone case that also serves as a wallet designed to make carrying cash, cell phone, and credit cards easier and more convenient. Instead of carrying several items in different ways, a person can have all their essentials in one case.
We interviewed Jamie to share with us her journey in starting her business and creating her Cellfolio product.
What is Cellfolio? What makes it different from other products in the market?
A Cellfolio is an Italian leather cell phone case that combines all of the necessities of your wallet, such as ID, credit cards, room for some cash and even a place to attach your keys along with your cell phone. What makes it different from other products in the market is that it’s compatible with almost all cell phones (iPhone 3, 4 and 4/s, Blackberry, Droid, etc.). Therefore, it is not product specific. It also has unique Velcro technology which adheres to your cell phone or case to the Cellfolio without ever having to remove your cell phone to text, talk, email or charge your phone.
How did you come up with the idea for the product?
I found myself juggling several accessories, including my wallet, purse and cell phone. Then, I watched my eldest daughter, Kaitlyn, carry her ID and credit cards inside a regular jelly case secured for her smartphone and I recognized a need – a need for the Cellfolio.
Who is your main target market?
Business women, mothers, students and anyone who needs instant access to their essentials, cell phone, ID, credit cards, cash, even men.
What was the process in turning your product idea to an actual product? What was the biggest challenge you faced during product development?
Invention is the mother of necessity. Because there was nothing else like the Cellfolio on the market, I wanted to create a product that would take into consideration all of my needs and allow instant access to all of my necessities. I wanted it to be something that women and now men would want to carry and something that would allow them to stand out in a crowd.
Simultaneously with designing the prototype, I wanted to create an image with my logo. It was important to me to have the product manufactured in the United States and only use the finest quality of leather. I solicited several focus groups and constantly asked the questions,
- “What do you need to carry simultaneously with your cell phone?” and
- “Why do women have a need to carry a purse?”
The biggest challenge during product development was how to keep the product at an affordable price for the consumer while having it manufactured in the United States and using fine quality Italian leather.
How are you marketing your business?
Marketing is primarily via the internet, including social media and I also participate as a vendor at trade shows throughout the United States.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting the business?
The biggest challenge when starting the business was financing.
How did you finance the business?
The business was primarily financed by utilizing my retirement savings.
How do you envision your business 5 years from now?
Five years from now, I would really like to be the next Kate Spade!
Where can buyers purchase your product?
Buyers can purchase the Cellfolio online through my website, www.jamiejamescollection.com.
How are you balancing your family life, personal life and the business?
As a wife, mother of four and divorce attorney with a very active practice, I probably wasn’t thinking when I added “entrepreneur” to the resume! Because my family has always been my priority, I involved my family in the endeavor. My oldest daughter, Kaitlyn (age 23), who was a senior at Princeton during the time I was creating the product, helped me with the design and my original website. My daughter, Caroline (age 11) picked a charity to donate a percentage of sales proceeds to. My husband, Jay and my sons, Nick (age 28) and Tim (age 26) helped to create the male version of the Cellfolio, known as the Manhattan.
What are your biggest challenges when selling on the web?
The biggest challenges when selling on the web was learning the various social media outlets and the necessities for them. Also, realizing how important social optimization is for your product and trying to be better than your competition, which is especially challenging with all the choices and accessibility that the consumer has at their fingertips.
Based on your experience, what are the 3 biggest lessons in starting and running a business that you want to share to other women entrepreneurs?
Really, I could write a book, but the three biggest lessons in starting and running a business are
- the necessity of a business plan,
- preparing a marketing plan and
- finding the right channel of distribution.
All three are just as important as creating the actual product. In my mind, creating the product is like having a baby. Without the business plan, marketing plan and channel of distributions, it’s like coming home from the hospital with your newborn and no diapers, bottle or a crib.