Remember those cellphone hip holster things that were big back in the early 2000s? They allowed anyone to feel like a cowboy when they whipped out their modern-day, vibrating, ringing weapon. They were also pretty much the ugliest thing ever and screamed ANTI-FASHION so loudly my ears hurt.
Those days are gone, folks, kicked out the door right behind the brick-like cellphones they carried. But fear not! If you’re looking for a way to carry around your super sleek and stylish smartphone, Jamie James has got the answer for you. Her company, Jamie James Collection, makes fashionable cellphone cases that can also hold your credit cards, cash, ID, and car keys. No more looking like a super-dork and no more scrambling around the house making sure you have everything before you leave the house.
Keys? Phone? Wallet? That’s the check I do every morning and, more often than not, one of the three is not where it’s supposed to be. This product makes that age-old ritual as obsolete as that LC compact flip phone you still have pushed to the back of your desk drawer.
Jamie is a busy woman but she took some time to tell us about running a successful attorney’s office, why giving to charity is part of her business model, and how sometimes family is your best bet when you’re growing your company.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
I chose Jamie James Collection as the name for my company, as it is a collection of stylish Cellfolios that really reflect my personality. I chose the name “Cellfolio” as it is a cell phone case that combines a portfolio of all 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.
Who is your main target market?
My main target market is primarily business women, mothers, students, and even men. The Cellfolio is great for anyone who needs instant access to their essentials, cell phone, ID, credit cards, cash.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
The first thing I do at work every day is to check my e-mails. I love hearing from new and existing customers and get really excited when there is a new order to process.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I started the company by myself with a lot of help from my family. 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.
As I am a lawyer, my legal staff helps me with the new company as well.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
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.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
I handle frustration by taking a “step back” and trying to see the “big picture.” The “big picture” is that I am doing what I love and selling a product that I truly believe in. Balancing family life, personal life and the business can often be challenging. The most frustrating challenge 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.
What’s your office environment like? Is it the kind of place where everyone is bumpin’ away to house music or is it more traditional?
My office environment is pretty hectic, as it’s a family law office and new startup company combined.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
Five years from now, I would really like to be the next Kate Spade!
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food? Give us the deets, dude!
I am truly inspired by Kate Spade and Tory Birch. I hope to have a line as successful as theirs one day!
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
The business was primarily financed by utilizing my retirement savings.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Really, I could write a book, but the three biggest lessons in starting and running a business are (1) the necessity of a business plan, (2) preparing a marketing plan and (3) 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.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your current startup / projects)
My two daughters have spent a lot of time and energy with two different charities. I would donate half of the money to a group that my eldest daughter is involved in called Circle of Woman, which aims to raise money and awareness for schools for girls in developing countries. The other half would go to my younger daughter’s charity, Smile Train, which currently 5% of all profits from Jamie James Collection go to. Smile Train is an international charity that provides cleft palate surgery to those in need and 100% of all donations go directly to the surgery for the young children.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
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! Everyone can always do better and learn more. I need to learn more about social media and the importance of social media and advertising today.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
My online banking website. It’s so convenient!
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
I love the Square App, which allows me to accept credit card payments through a mobile device, which comes in quite handy when selling Cellfolios on the go!
Dogs or cats?
I love dogs! I have two golden retrievers named Lily and Bailey.
iOS or Android?
I have a Blackberry and my husband has an iPhone, love them both!
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet?
I would love to visit Morocco for its nightlife and fashion.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
The greatest thing about my idea is that it is different from other products in the market, as it is 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 your cell phone or case to the Cellfolio without ever having to remove your cell phone to text, talk, email or charge your phone.
Where can our readers get ahold of you?
Courtesy of the startup founder and the Jamie James website.